Use Google Analytics To Track Your Sharepoint Intranet

I assumed that you could not use Google Analytics for your intranet. Apparently I was wrong.

Sadalit Van Buren takes you through the steps on her A Matter of Degree blog: How to Use Google Analytics with Sharepoint (MOSS 2007).

Google Analytics is not the most robust tools for measuring traffic. But these are tight economic times and it is good to have a free tool.

I use Google Analytics to view trends on this blog and some other sites I control. It does a great job of showing trends and the most viewed pages.

9 thoughts on “Use Google Analytics To Track Your Sharepoint Intranet”

  1. Hi Doug,

    Great little find. By comparison to webtrends (which is mucho expensive) I much prefer Google Analytics.

    The proof is in the pudding though and the way Sharepoint works doesn't always lend itself to helpful reporting. For example, when you're editing a page, it is possible for that to register as a hit (and look like a regular page view). In fact, editing a page could falsely report tens of extra hits to a page (i.e. click edit >> Hit, add a web part >> hit, save >> hit).

    It's pretty avoidable, but is something to keep in mind and make sure your IT guys address when implementing it.

    Of course, you would have exactly the same problem with a package like Webtrends.

    1. Why not create a page that all contnent managers have to start from whenever they go to the site. The page sets a cookie on their machine and all their activities are ignored by Google. I recommend a start page because many systems require the deletion of cookies when you close your browser. The article to create this is found at goolge Analytics.

  2. @ Neil – Thank you for pointing out the distortions that you could see in the data.

    This may be a benefit for Sharepoint wikis. All that editing should create lots of page views. So a heavily edited wiki will rise up the rankings. That seems good.

  3. @Brent –

    Security is obviously an issue to consider. I do not think Google Analytics captured anything other than the page name and URL. That seems to minimize the information that would be sent to Google. I do not think that limited amount of information would be confidential client information.

    I suppose you could have a page called “XYZ’s Purchase of FGH co.” and the existence of the purchase transaction would be material non-public information. (Of course I think there are few firms that are that far along in the use of their intranet.) A page like that would have security on it. I do not know if a page with security would be excluded from Google Analytics.

    Certainly, you should review the Analytics terms of service:

    http://www.google.com/analytics/tos.html

    and

    Google’s privacy policy:
    http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacy.html

    You will need to get comfortable with those.

  4. Brent –

    The network cops say “no f’ing way” to everything. I do not every remember hearing ayes from my old firm unless I went over their heads.

    But like you, I am not an expert on security or code on the web.

  5. Doug, thanks very much for the link. Neil Richards makes a great point about the multiple page hits – I haven’t worked with it enough to know the effect either way, but it would be a very good thing to test.

  6. Thanks for sharing this information … I’ve been considering GA as a analytics tool to complement our current metrics analysis methods…

    SP / MOSS is indeed unique in that it uses a plethora of URL parameters (and certainly not individual aspx or html pages) to provide pages, items and the like. As such, I think there would be a fair bit of tweaking in the GA URL parameter, event and goal tracking configuration areas to get meaningful Sharepoint visitor behaviour analysis from GA.

    That said, I think that @Brent raises a really valid point; not just about client-confidentiality (and yes, I think a URL and the title tag can contain privileged information) but also about your company’s internal privacy policy.

    In most corporate & government environments, only security-cleared IT staff can access server logs which include information (internal IPs, machine names, etc) that could be used to track the behavior of a specific individual.

    Using 3rd party hosted analytics services (including GA and many others) always opens up that can of worms.

    Interesting to see that the technical boundaries are not the greatest challenge.

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