My last post was on how to update your Google Docs settings so you can track published documents in Google Analytics.
Currently, you can only documents track documents in your Analytics reports. Views of published spreadsheets and presentations are not tracked. I’d really like Google to add support for tracking published spreadsheets, in particular. Here’s why.
In the day job, I’m advocating making statistics available online in multiple open formats and not, such as providing statistics in a single Excel file hosted on the corporate site for users to download. I’m using Google Spreadsheets as the repository to store the data (
here’s an example page linking to data).
I’m trying to follow good practice examples set by The Guardian Data Store and national discussions on Twitter around open data. By posting the data on Google Spreadsheets, users can get the data as an html page, csv, txt or Excel file. Users can view the data with free tools; no proprietary software required. MS Office users can still use Excel files in the usual way. Everyone’s catered for.
Being a content analytics nut, I’m always on the lookout for ways to collect as much evidence as possible on how users interact with content. Having the statistical evidence to back up ideas on where to direct web content efforts is vital for convincing other people you know what you’re talking about. It also gives you, as a content manager, confidence in your decisions on what’s working and what isn’t.
To web standardistas, developers, open source veterans and knowledge management types, the choice to share data in open formats such as csv, txt, xml or html is a logical one. The argument doesn’t need to be made to this audience.
However, outside of these circles the argument still needs to be made.
So, Google, please give me some ammunition.
I’d love to use Google Spreadsheets as a more extensive repository for online datasets but will ultimately need to evidence that it actually can work for users. Adding support for tracking published spreadsheets in Analytics will help in making the case.