Friday, July 2, 2010

Google Blogger with real-time stats: why?

This morning I stumbled (literally - as well as mashable) on a post mentioning the availability of real-time analytics in Google Blogger, the platform I've been using since October 2002 to host my blog.

The good

Availability: Stats are showing up in Google Blogger in Draft under the Stats item and data is available since July 1st. Blog owners do not have to do implement any tags or change their configuration.

Metrics: Near real-time stats are available for a number of metrics: post pageviews, referring URLs, Referring Sites, Search Keywords, Countries, Browser and OS.

Dashboard: There is a single dashboard under Overview which uses the same UI as Google Analytics.

The bad

This is a very light weight and toned down reporting tool - I wouldn't even call it "analytics" as their is virtually no actionable data. Notice the absence of several simple metrics such as: Visits, Time on Site, New vs Repeat visitors, any of the Loyalty metrics.

More importantly, there are no campaigns or AdWords integration (or AdSense), no content categorization  (the reason why we use tags on blogs!) and of course, no Goals.

There is a single dashboard without any customization, no filtering, no custom report...

The ugly

In this day and age of social media, how could they miss integrating Feedburner stats? Google acquired Feedburner ages ago and it's pretty much still in the same state it was then. How could they miss integrating any type of engagement information such as number of comments per post or number of mentions on social media? What about creating a special traffic source category for social media: Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, YouTube, etc.???

My take: why?

My first impression is... well... how can I say: what the heck?! Don't even bother with this. If you are using Blogger out of the box  without any customization, maybe I can understand. But seriously, integrating Google Analytics to Blogger can be done in a snap.

In doing so, maybe Google is setting the stage for other stuff, here's two ideas:
  1. Real-time data in Google Analytics? I doubt it because the collection method are really different and the sub-set of metrics offered are much easier to offer in real time
  2. Pay for Google Analytics: Based on market data collected with the Web Analytics Solution Profiler (WASP), Google Analytics enjoys a huge market penetration. Although there are large sites using GA, the number of smaller blogs using it is astronomic. The owner of all those small blogs are probably not very important for AdWords revenues and must drag significant resources... Google could also come up with a paid version of GA but this is a stretch...

My recommendation: GA + PostRank

If you are serious about analytics on your blog, install Google Analytics and use PostRank Analytics. See my review of PostRank from September of last year - still using it, still loving it!

Their infographics are very useful and tailored for blog owners, they integrate useful data from multiple social media sources and provide useful "engagement" data. The per-post Conversion Feed provides details about every social media mention and the new Activity Stream offers a real-time view of our social presence.