Want to track Adobe Flash? Now you can!

maandag, november 17, 2008 | 11:30

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Image of Analytics Flash Visual Component in Flash CS3

Today, at the Adobe MAX Conference in San Francisco, in a joint collaboration with our friends at Adobe and a few ace third party developers, we announced a simplified solution for tracking Flash content for everyone, called Google Analytics Tracking For Adobe Flash.

Working at Google over the past couple of years, I've had the opportunity to work with with many of our top clients to implement Google Analytics, who have found the power to identify and analyze trends on their web sites highly useful. But, one of the most common implementation challenges has been tracking Flash content on their pages. In the past, Flash tracking was not provided out of the box, and every implementation had to be customized. Moreover, there was a lack of standards, and new developers who tracked Flash had to create their own processes to get it working. With this launch, tracking your Flash content has never been simpler.

What It's All About
This feature is a translation of the current Google Analytics tracking code into the ActionScript 3 programming language that dramatically simplifies the ability to track Flash, Flex and AS3 content. This new Flash tracking code provides all the rich features of the current JavaScript-based version, including campaign, pageview and event tracking and can be used to track Flash content such as embedded videos, branded microsites and distributed widgets, such as online games.

Now it's simple for Flash content developers to answer questions like:
  • How many people have watched my video?
  • Are we developing the right creative that attracts new users?
  • How effective is my content at getting people to take action?
Recently, we talked with Matthew McNeely, VP of Engineering at Sprout, a company that helps advertisers design rich media content, about how Sprout has used the code to track distributed content across MySpace and iGoogle:





Supported Platforms

We know there are many levels of experience in the Flash/Flex community so we tried to make it easy for both non-technical designers as well as seasoned ActionScript programmers to take full advantage of this Google Analytics Tracking For Flash. We've provided tracking libraries for both Flash and Flex which can be downloaded as a ZIP file here. The libraries include:
  • Flash visual component
  • Flash AS3 library
  • Flex MXML component
  • Flex AS3 library
And you can learn more about how to use them through this developer documentation.

Open Development
At the same time, we know that things change quickly online, and developers might want to review and improve the code. So we're providing our entire AS3 code base under the Apache 2 License as Open Source, available here.

For me, this is one of the most exciting aspects of this project. If you are a developer and want to improve the code's functionality, you can contribute to the code base. Or, if you are a company that is running a content platform, such as Sprout mentioned above, you can seamlessly integrate the Flash tracking codebase into your existing architecture.

So while many features get launched at the end of their development cycle, we see this as just the beginning.

And A Special Thanks
This feature has been an open collaboration of a number of very talented people across the globe. We'd like to personally thank our amazing third party developers Zwetan Kjukov and Marc Alcaraz who've spent countless hours developing the code base. We'd also like to thank Matt Chotin, Puneet Goel, Rani Kumar and Ajit Gosavi from Adobe who helped us also overcome the obstacles of migrating to an all-AS3 environment.

So please visit the project page to learn more:
http://code.google.com/p/gaforflash/

We look forward to hearing success stories about how you've implemented Google Analytics Tracking For Adobe Flash!