Since its introduction, Urchin has been a great tool for analyzing usage patterns on your web sites. With Google’s acquiring of the Urchin tool, it has gained a lot in terms of functionality and more importantly – usability. Now that Google Analytics (free) has rolled out its shiny new interface, it makes things even more interesting.
I must confess, at first I found the new interface just as confusing as the first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to it and fall in love with data analysis! One thing that has been showing its ugly head a lot lately is the need for Flash event measurements.
As many of you know, Flash has always presented some challenges when it comes to SEO and overall data metrics – since it’s not native to HTML. There are a number of ways to circumvent these issues – which I will not get into at the moment – but almost all of them are pretty complicated, buggy, time intensive, etc. In essence, they make life in Flash even more difficult than it already is.
Well, just recently a client has requested to track simple events in Flash – something that is pretty much a “given” were the site to be in HTML. So I went on a Google-hunt to see what I could find and not 1 minute later I came across an awesome solution! Granted, I’m sure this solution has been around for quite some time, but I didn’t know about it! So it got me to thinking that if I didn’t know about it, there might someone out there who’s in my same position.
So spit it out already you may say! Well, I’ll let you check it out on your own: Track Flash events using Google Analytics.
This is a breath of fresh air and I am grateful that the good folks at Google have provided this solution! Again, I’m not sure how long it’s been out, but I found it at Google so I’m attributing it to them – someone please correct me if I’m wrong.But that’s besides the point! Point is, there is finally a simple solution to tracking metrics in Flash. I went into my client’s site (which is a bit of a beast if I may say so) and easily implemented the simple code to start tracking events! Came back this morning and lo-and-behold data was magically appearing in my analytics account!
This got me to thinking: it’s amazing what a little bit of information can do! Up until now (the site has been live for about 6 months now), the only information I got was how many hits the site was getting. I wasn’t able to accurately measure the site’s success – because I didn’t know what people were looking for – or how long they were there. All I got was a super-huge bounce-rate number – which is not good news under any other circumstance. Now, for the first time, I will be able to understand how the site is working – or better yet – IF it’s working. With this information we can now go back to our client and give them a report on their site – which in turn will give us the leverage we need to make improvements to the site.
Bottom line: information is power. Thank you Google.