Google has recently opened up its API for Google Analytics, which promises to usher in lots of useful applications and widgets for those of us who rely on it for monitoring site traffic metrics. One of the first of these, Polaris, is an easy to use widget that you can keep right on your Windows, Mac or Linux desktop for slicing and dicing Google Analytics data. I installed it in less than five minutes and although it doesn’t add new statistics to the metrics Google supplies, it’s very easy to flip in and out of, and handy to have.
Polaris is free for the single-account version, while a multi-user account will cost $15 per year. It’s based on Adobe AIR, so you’ll have to download that first if you don’t already have it. Once you have Polaris installed, you just use your sign-in for Google Analytics to start tracking site metrics from within the Polaris widget. It automatically creates an icon on your desktop that you can use to pop it up at any time.
RefreshingApps has posted a good video showing how Polaris works. You can view both graphs and numerical data in Polaris, and you can view several types of metrics concurrently, such as site visits, page views, pages viewed per visit and more.
If you’re interested in going beyond what both Polaris and the Google Analytics site do in terms of customization, there is an open-source site analytics application called Piwik that is worth trying (I wrote about it here). The great thing about Piwik is that an open community of users creates plug-ins for it, so you can get access to all kinds of widgets for analyzing site traffic data. It’s essentially like customizing your own dashboard for looking at site metrics, and is worth trying in addition to Polaris.
What do you use for analyzing site traffic metrics?