Programs such as Excel offer a much simpler-yet-exhaustive alternative to using the Google Analytics interface to pull out the required data. If you too are confused by geeky terms thrown at you by the Analytics API then you could try using these tips to get the data without losing your mind.The Google Analytics API can confuse you with several similar and opposing terms such as Entrance Bounce Rate, Visit Bounce Rate, Campaigns and Traffic Sources under the Dimensions section, Transaction Revenues, multiple Paths, etc. Rather than engage in trial and error methods to figure out the subtle difference between these terms, an easier option would be to download Excellent Analytics, a completely free tool to access your API.
Upon successful download, you will be able to view a new tab displaying Excellent Analytics. You can begin using this tool by logging into your Google Analytics account and clicking on the New Query button. Once the window opens then you can specify the Start and End date by using the Time Span option. You can then select your required Dimensions such as those related to time, landing pages, etc.
You should remember that you will need to convert the Date format to a standard Excel one since Google has changed its format after Version 5 of Google Analytics. Next, you can select your desired metrics such as Visits along with Visit Bounce Rate, Transaction Revenue, etc., based on your specific requirements and business model.
You can then apply your filters if you want. You can use filters such as Operating System, Country, etc., again based on your needs. Once you have set all required filters then you should not forget to click on the Add button to save them. There are also other optional features such as applying Advanced Segments and setting Sorts to help organize your data in a better way.
Next, you will have to select the profile or profiles for which you require the reports. This feature is an excellent one for managing multiple sites. Excellent Analytics will display all your different profiles next to each other on your spreadsheet by separating them with a blank column between those profiles. You will need to hit the Execute button to run any query. You can also update a query at a later date by merely choosing the header created by the plugin and then clicking on the Update Query button.
Here are a few more tricks to make it easier for you to pull out specific data using Excellent Analytics. If you need monthly reports then you merely need to click on the report header, select the Update Query options, and hit Execute. In case you are using charts or have created pivot tables then you need to click on Data and then Connections before clicking on Refresh to update all charts as well as tables to the new month.
You can additionally hide the Raw Data tab in your tables and charts by selecting the Hide option after a right-click on the bottom tab of your worksheet. A better way to master the API is to use a plugin rather than using Google Docs. Opting for the latter is difficult due to lack of help screens and menus for new developers.
There are still a few bugs in Excellent Analytics that need to be ironed out. A few of them include vanished new profiles after you set them up in Excellent Analytics, non-working Up-Arrows in Dimensions and Metrics, quirky Dimension Box that does not collapse when required, moody filters that fail to filter, etc. You need to monitor the output carefully to make sure that all data displayed conforms to your specified parameters.
The above tips in using Excel-based Excellent Analytics to pull out and manage data from Google Analytics should help you in making the most out of this excellent tool.