An update on Google and Ajax

Who remembers this story from February 2009? This is when Google began testing the use of Ajax in its search results to speed up page loads. It definitely makes things faster and Google said speed was the sole reason behind it. The problem is that the search query is now hidden behind the hash tag of the URL, and browsers don't send hash tags with referrer data. In other words, analytics services like Clicky can't get the search term that the visitor used to find your site.

We raised a small fit about it because we think knowing what your visitors are searching for to find your site is an extremely important aspect of running a web site. I claimed that they would have some way to keep the searches integrated with Google Analytics, but Google denied that was possible. I don't really believe that - they are able to integrate AdWords data into Google Analytics just fine - but whatever.

Anyways. Google stopped doing it for a while, or at least dramatically reduced the number of users who "get" this feature, because I didn't see any plain "google.com" referrers in our stats for quite a while. Recently though, I've been seeing more, and in particular, the last couple of weeks.

We get a lot of emails about this, people asking us how could the referrer possibly be just "google.com" and nothing else.

Well, this is the reason. And we're getting a bit tired of this question :) So, as of about an hour ago, when we see a referrer come in that is just "google.com" (or any other TLD) and there is no path and no query, we're simply going to pretend the referrer doesn't exist. The downside to this is that previously, at least you knew they came in from Google, even if you don't know what that search was. Now you won't know even that. But, you have to consider our perspective too. This is mainly about about support.

The other option would be to keep the same referrer in there and just make up a "fake" search, e.g. "Unknown", so you would see that for visitors who had an unknown search term from Google. But we're afraid there will be a lot of people who take this literally and think someone is actually searching for the term "unknown" and then they will think Clicky is broken.

From a support perspective, we think the best thing to do is just filter these out. But please let us know how you feel about this decision, or if you have any other ideas.

Update: We hear you. None of you like this. We'll be removing it later today and coming up with something else. We liked the idea one of you listed, of having it say "unknown" but then just linking that to a help page explaining what it means. We'll probably do something like that.
14 comments |   Aug 02 2010 12:20pm

Video analytics

Video analytics has arrived! Documentation is here. Once you have set this up on your web site, here is an example report you would see under the new Content:Video tab.




We've tried to make this as easy as possible for you to use, so we have two announcements to make.

Viddler

First, we have partnered with Viddler to make video analytics fully automatic. Any Viddler video you have on your web site, no additional programming is required, it will just simply work. However, Viddler's implementation of this isn't quite done, so this isn't available yet. But we expect it to be ready by the end of August, and we'll certainly let you know the second that it is.

Youtube

Youtube is the most popular video service in the world, so we have created our own Javascript library (with the help of Chris Nanney, the same person who created the awesome Google Chrome extension) to make tracking Youtube as easy as possible. Unfortunately, without a direct partnership, we can't make it fully automatic like we are with Viddler. But it's still very easy to implement, requiring just six lines of code for one video, and two additional lines for each additional video, on any one web page. See the docs here.

UPDATE: Vimeo!

A number of you requested a library for tracking Vimeo. We got this done today, it is available in the documentation. Unfortunately, it's a bit more cumbersome than tracking Youtube, because they require a lot more data to be declared when embedding a video. Also, their API doesn't have a method to get the video's ID or public URL, so you have to declare the ID for us so our code can build the URL automatically.


The example report above was created from the help of many Twitter users earlier today. We tweeted, asking people to go to this page and play around with the videos (we hope you enjoyed the moonwalking). You can see the actual up to date reports in our demo on the following pages:

- The main video report page
- Dashboard (we created a new module just for vidoes)
- Action log (we created a new filter to just view video actions)

Video interactions will also show up in Spy, although the specific type of action (play, pause, etc) does not - yet. We may add it, but that would require editing the Javascript, and if you haven't seen the Spy javascript - it's a doozy. We think just showing the fact that people are playing the videos at all is pretty neat to see in Spy.

Let us know what you think!

Oh, and if any of you developers out there want to create a library for other video services, let us know. We'll happily link to it or host it ourselves.
14 comments |   Jul 29 2010 4:31pm

New feature: Save yo' filters

Another new feature rolling out today: saved filters. We've had a lot of requests for this. Now whenever you have filters invoked, you will see an option to save them. As well, there is a menu you can click on to quickly access all of your saved filters. To delete any saved filters, there's a new section in your site prefs to manage them. Filters are global which means any saved filter will appear in the menu for all of your sites. Simple! Perfect!

This new feature is available to all users.


11 comments |   Jul 03 2010 10:35am

$5,000 for an Android desktop widget

JULY 6 UPDATE: We have a good pool of developers to choose from at this time, so we are no longer accepting applicants for this project. Thank you for all of the interest!

We're very much in love with Android and would like nothing more than to have a desktop widget to always have our stats available at a quick glance. If you're not familiar with Android widgets, they're basically apps that run on your desktop alongside your icons. For example, on the right hand side is a screenshot of the Pandora widget - you can control the entire app without actually being inside the app.

We really dig this functionality and are looking for something similar for Clicky so you can always have your stats right in front of you. I personally am interested in exploring Android development in the future because I believe very strongly in this operating system, but I don't know Java and it would probably take me several months of full time development to get something like this up and running - time I don't currently have.

What the widget should do

  • When user adds the widget to their desktop:
    • Four sizes to choose from in the widget menu - 2x1, 4x1, 2x2, and 4x2. We wish the widget size was definable at run time but it's not so we'll have to pollute the widget menu with four sizes :(
    • If they are adding this widget for the first time, you need to ask for their credentials, which you send to an API to grab their list of sites. You save these credentials locally on the phone so if the user adds more than one widget, they don't have to re-enter their credentials. (Note to users concerned with privacy - we're inventing a new version of OAuth called "Simple OAuth" that will protect your password and let you revoke access to services as needed, without having to change your password - more details on that later). Once the credentials have been verified, the next screen lets them select all of the following options on one screen:
    • The web site they want the widget to display stats for.
    • Refresh interval (5m, 15m, 30m, 1h, 2h, 3h, 4h) (Note: when device is sleeping, the data should not be refreshed. It should only be refreshed upon wake, or while the device is in use).
    • Widgets 1 panel high show site name at top, then visitors and actions below that for "today" (including trend percentages for each item). If it's 2 panels high, also show bounce rate and goals/revenue (if they have goals setup). Use icons rather than text to differentiate these data types, to save space (if you're not familiar with Clicky, see our demo to see the icons we use).
    • If the widget is 4 panels wide (4x1 or 4x2), they can one choose additional piece of data to display:
      • Additional dates for the default data (e.g. column 2 could show "yesterday" or "last 7 days" for visitors/actions/etc)
      • "Popular" data types (e.g. top searches, top goals, etc),
      • Graph of hourly data for visitors or actions for "today", or graph of visitors or actions for the last 30 days

  • Clicking the widget opens up a full screen window:
    • Shows same data but with more detail - e.g. for visitors/actions/bounce/goals, it could show a sparkline graph next to each of them showing data for the last 30 days (using a free charting API such as Google Charts).
    • Below this, show the top 30 items for their top content that day, or if their widget is 4 panels wide and they have selected a "popular" data type (e.g. searches) to display in the extra space, then show that type by default instead. And have a menu either way that lets them choose a different type to display (e.g. change from top content to top searches). Obviously, all 30 items won't fit on one screen, so the window should be scrollable, and have a "next page" button at the bottom, so they can view 31-60, etc.
    • Date range picker to view data for more than just today (only in this view though, not for the widget itself, which should always default to "today")

  • User can add multiple widgets to their desktop, one for each site.

  • This needs to be compatible with at least Android 2.0 through 2.2. And if it's not too difficult, 1.5 and 1.6 as well.

  • We need to be the "owner" of this software, and hence you will need to provide the source code to us so we can improve it ourselves in the future or have someone else do so for us if you are not available for future development. We will happily credit you as the original developer, but we need to own the product, which also means that in the Android Market, it will be listed as a product of our company, Roxr Software Ltd. (And of course, this widget will be totally free for all of our users). This doesn't mean we're going to "take" the code from you - you can keep it for yourself to base other projects on (except for a competing analytics service - we'd have a problem with that).

  • We have very high standards with regards to quality and aesthetics. This needs to be a very solid app, and it needs to look so good that our users will want to eat it. To give you an idea of what we like, we really dig the "finance" widgets that Google offers (see screenshot to the right). We like subtle transparency and shading of the background, and the shadow/transparency on the edges, which makes the widget feels like it's "in" the desktop. Having a shadow "underneath" the widget, to make it feel like it's "on" instead of "in" the desktop, would be fine too.

  • We of course have a very thorough stats API already, that you will be using to get all of the data that will be displayed in the widget.


Interested?

If you've got what it takes, email sean@getclicky.com with the subject line "Android widget". Or if you know someone who may be eligible, send them a link to this post.

In your email, tell us what Android applications and/or widgets you have developed. You must have Android development experience, and you'll get super bonus points if you have created a widget. And super mega bonus points if you are able to start immediately and can devote at least 20 hours a week to development - we'd like to have this released within 2 months.

We will pay you $1,000 up front, an additional $1,000 once a beta version is ready for us to play with, and the rest upon completion of the product. We prefer to pay with Paypal to keep things simple and fast, but we can pay by check if you prefer.

Lastly, we are open to negotiation on the price. We think this will be about 100 hours of work, so it's equivalent to $50/hour or a $100K/year job. But if you think otherwise, when you email us, tell us your price.
10 comments |   Jul 01 2010 2:27pm

New feature: Sub-user accounts!

On your user homepage, you may notice a new option to "Manage users". What is this? Oh, only about the most requested feature of all time.

Anyone with a Pro or higher account can now create additional user accounts that can be assigned read-only or administrative access to one or more of your existing sites. This is great way to let your clients login to our service and only be able to view the stats they should have access to, without having to share your entire account with them. Sub-user admins have full control over a site, including changing preferences and setting up goals, campaigns, etc. The only thing a sub-user admin can't do is delete the site itself.

There are limits though, because we don't want to cannibalize our white label service. The white label service has always had this feature, but with the white label, there are no limits with how many users you can create (not to mention, you can fully rebrand the service as your own!). So we had to create some limits here.

Pro accounts can create up to 3 additional users. Super Pro and Custom accounts can create up to 7 users. Most of our users are Pro, so if you need more than 3 users, please upgrade to Super Pro, and if you need more than 7, please consider our white label service.

We've gotten countless requests for this over the years and finally decided it was about time we added it to the standard offering. Enjoy!
17 comments |   Jun 24 2010 5:56pm

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