Blogging does not pay the bills. That two-and-a-half-year hiatus from a real job to become a professional blogger was less than lucrative, and apparently there’s no student loan deferment for “finding yourself” or something out of that lame ass Jason Mraz song.
At my real money-paying job, I am an search engine optimizer and basically am addicted to web analytics like liquid-web-analytics crack. Google Analytics has become the de facto standard for web analytics and is, I’d argue, accessible enough for most people to understand. On a side note, never ever refer to visitors to a website as “hits” because you sound like a douche.
For these reasons and more, I was super excited about an official Google Analytics app for Android and utterly crestfallen when I saw how unbelievably useless it was.
Google Analytics looks great and has a similar feel to the other official Google apps. It’s even in line with some of the changes made with Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. The app will pull any websites attached to your Gmail account (you’ll have to add new accounts under your settings to access multiple accounts) and has full support for both web properties and profiles. The support for viewing your Profiles is especially important for making this app somewhat useful (as I’ll mention later).
The real problem with Google Analytics is that it can only give you limited views of your web analytics, and the views that it does give are pretty much useless. Within each website the app gives you four panels. Real-time can show you the visitors on your site in, uh, real time — a self-admittedly cool but kind of useless feature. Automatic Alerts and Custom Alerts are supported, but you’ll have to have these already set up in your Analytics account for them to work.
The only real feature-ish feature you get is the Dashboard, which is just like the dashboard you get in regular Analytics but for your phone. I added on a few graphs and charts that give you the basics for things likes Unique Visitors, Average Visit Duration, etc. Now, those things are important — I’m not saying they aren’t. But most of that information is kind of useless unless you can use two tiny features, which aren’t supported: Advanced Segments and Custom Reports.
The problem is that nothing significant can be gleaned from an app that doesn’t support advanced segments and custom reporting, which makes the app itself kind of useless. It’s best used, if at all, like a bean counter app for seeing how many visitors you’ve had in a given day. A better choice for that though is using something like Simple Analytics Widget.
One simple work around to make this app work like God intended is to create a series of custom profiles that already filter out for certain segments. So, if you wanted to look at just Organic Traffic from Bing or Google, you could set up a profile that does this and access it with the app. You still won’t get any option for custom reports, but it is good for slicing up your data in a way that makes sense.
Free: Google Analytics