PBS saves time with automated reports

Thursday, January 26, 2012 | 10:01 AM

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For most companies using Google Analytics, reporting on website traffic and performance for a few web properties is a straightforward task. However, if your company manages hundreds of web properties, delivering useful and timely reports can become a significant challenge. For many, the only apparent solution is to manually export analytics data for each web property, then combine and compare that data to answer relevant business questions. It’s a slow and costly process and you spend most of your time creating reports instead of carrying out meaningful analysis.

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) faced precisely this challenge when it made the decision to use GA Data Grabber by AutomateAnalytics.com. GA Data Grabber works within Excel and uses the Google Analytics API. Users create or choose reports and GA Data Grabber automatically retrieves the Google Analytics data from any number of websites. And with multi-login capabilities, users can seamlessly combine data between Google Analytics profiles that reside under different Google Accounts.

Designed for non-technical users, GA Data Grabber generates great-looking visualizations and can automatically highlight important changes in key metrics over a date range. It’s also possible to use Excel’s visualization and data processing features. For example, formulas can be added to calculate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on any set of metrics.




Amy Sample, Director, Web Analytics, Public Broadcasting Service explains the challenges that PBS faced and how GA Data Grabber was able to help. “The PBS.org and PBSKIDS.org web sites are made up of hundreds of individual companion sites to broadcast programs.  From a business perspective, there is a need to evaluate performance of individual program sites relative to each other.” As is common for many large organizations, PBS has separate Google Analytics accounts for each program site. “While multiple accounts works well to evaluate the site content and performance, it makes it difficult to look at all of the sites side-by-side without a lot of manual effort.  Our previous attempts to create this type of report were time-consuming and often subject to data input errors.”

“Using Google Analytics, combined with GA Data Grabber, we were able to create a benchmark report for our program sites. The monthly report pulls a standard set of KPIs from each of the program accounts and ranks the programs by traffic. The report is used as a management tool by both the PBS.org and PBSKIDS.org teams to monitor monthly performance of programs. The teams have also used it to identify opportunities for programs that are no longer being broadcast but still getting significant online traffic.  Our program producers use the report to benchmark their performance against other sites of similar content or size and determine ways to improve audience engagement. As a result of using GA Data Grabber to pull the data, we can produce this report quickly and accurately on monthly basis.”

GA Data Grabber
Mikael Thuneberg, Founder & CEO of AutomateAnalytics.com has been using the Google Analytics API since its launch. “I’ve been very happy with the API. Having developed for several other APIs, I can say that the Google Analytics API is by far the easiest to develop for. It’s logically structured and flexible, the documentation is excellent, and it’s easy to get help through the forum. I’ll certainly continue developing for the Google Analytics API. I’ve expanded to other APIs as well, but Google Analytics is still by far the most important one for my business.”

GA Data Grabber can be found through the Google Analytics App Gallery and can be downloaded from the GA Data Grabber website.

If you’re interested in developing solutions for the Google Analytics platform, visit Google Analytics Developer Program.

Posted by Pete Frisella, Google Analytics API Team