14 November 2009

First integration between FeedBurner and Google Analytics

Yesterday, Friday the 13th, was not an unlucky day at all for fans of Google services, as two of them made the first steps towards a long-awaited integration. Like the official announcement states: It's about time these two neighbors got to talking to each other. – in this case FeedBurner and Google Analytics. More specifically, after enabling the feature, FeedBurner tags your links with parameters like “Source” and “Medium” so that any click is more clearly presented in Google Analytics, along with the application it originated from (e.g. Google Reader). The article also shows how to enable it and customize the available variables. Of course, the real benefit from such an integration would be to share information about feed views, not merely clicks, so that this can be compared and tracked through the powerful filters and goals from Analytics. We can still hope this will see the light of day, since Google promises this is only the first of a series of updates scheduled in the coming weeks.Customize FeedBurner-Analytics integration

Before this feature was launched, I used to employ my own work-around for adding Google Analytics tags to the feed of my blog. It involved an Yahoo! Pipe that generated a new feed with these parameters added to the article URLs. I replaced the original blog feed with this modified one in FeedBurner's settings. This way, any click from a subscriber would be redirected to the modified URL with Google Analytics tags and would show up distinctively in the reports. Yahoo Pipe to modify feed URL

Unfortunately, this method has some drawbacks: the "Comments count" FeedFlare for Blogger no longer works and the speed benefits from the PubSubHubbub integration are also largely negated. Not to mention relying on a third-party service is not always such a good idea: last week, Yahoo Pipes experienced some problems that paralyzed my custom feed. I'm glad Google finally released an official integration for these two services that doesn't have these problems.

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