Recap of the recent Google Analytics Webinar

Monday, December 21, 2009 | 11:44 AM

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Last month we conducted a webinar on the new Google Analytics features. If you missed the webinar, you can watch a recording of it here, and get a copy of the slides here. During the webinar we also took questions from the audience. Unfortunately we did not get a chance to answer all the questions. As promised, however, we answer them below.

"When can we expect to see these features in our accounts?"

These new features should now be available in your accounts.

"The url that GA provides when sharing segments and reports are horribly long, do Google have plans to use a url shortener to make them easier to share? Additionally do the links expire?"

The links do not expire. The current workaround for creating friendlier URLs is to pass these links through a URL-shortening service.

"I'm new to GA. We want to track number of downloads of swf, xls, pdf, etc. files from our website. We have hundreds of these documents. How do we track downloads? Do we have to set goals for each document?"

You can track downloads with either Event Tracking or using _trackPageView(). If you want to track these downloads as goals, then you should use the _trackPageView() method and use those virtual URLs for your goal URLs.

"Can you share with us the statistical methodology behind the 'intelligence' feature? Curious to understand the limits placed within this (for example a one day spike is not necessarily a data point worth deep diving into)."

Google Analytics uses a mixture statistical model taking into consideration short-term and long-term trends as well as weekly periodic patterns. The methodology is currently under multiple patent considerations. When the patents are approved, the methodology can be referenced from the patent disclosure.

"Alert that email when the site has dip in traffic is a good feature but is the alert triggered based on real time data since GA is not real time?"

While there is a delay in reporting, that delay is becoming shorter and shorter. Alerts are processed several times a day. You will receive an e-mail as soon as that alert is triggered during that process. While the alert may not be real-time at the moment, it will at least be within 24 hours of the event occurring.

"_setVar is deprecated, and to what should it be transported? I tested _setCustomVar(1, name, value, 1) but it didn't appeared on the visitor report."

_setVar() will be deprecated over time in preference for custom variables. We will give ample warning when _setVar is moving towards deprecation. You may not have seen the information in your reports because (a) the implementation may have been incorrect or (b) custom variables were not yet visible in your account. If you suspect an incorrect implementation you can seek the solution in the documentation or Analytics help forum.

"I'm making a software using Google Data Export API, and trying to retrieve data by XPath. But it doesn't work because of a namespace problem. The namespace url "" isn't acessible."

It is difficult to answer this question without first taking a look at the source code, requests sent, and the resulting responses. Please post details of your problem in the Google Analytics API group for assistance.

"any changes to improve quality of data passed from Google Local results to reporting?"

We don't comment on product plans, but we are aware that information from Google Local results can be improved. If you have more specific feedback, please send it to (no support questions please).

Thank you for participating in the webinar. Stay tuned for announcements of future webinars in 2010.