Posted on 27th October 2015 by Harriet Checkley in Analytics

All of you, I presume, will be familiar with Garfield: newspaper comic strip about an orange cat called Garfield who likes lasagne and lives in a state of conflict with his owner Jon. Some of you will be familiar with Garfield Minus Garfield, a webcomic that takes Garfield strips and removes the titular orange, lasagna-loving cat, creating a weirdly bleak comic about Jon talking to himself. In many ways, despite having what seems like the key element removed, I like it better than the strip from which it originated.

I feel like Google Analytics can be a bit like that sometimes (sort of). It’s a great tool, but sometimes to get the most out of it, to get a bit deeper, you have to remove the thing itself – free yourself from the constraints of the interface. It’s fine for simple queries, but after a while you bump up against a sampling limit or get into the weeds of complex multidimensional queries and realise you need something a bit more powerful, more direct access to the data. That’s when the Application Program Interface (API) comes in. If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated by the lack of options for data visualisation or the lack of flexibility preventing you from manipulating the raw data, the API is what you’ve been looking for. It lets you get your data out of GA  – and it can be incredibly simple to use.

There are a number of ways you can do so, whether via the query explorer, the Google Sheets addon, R or if you’re a bit more au fait with code, building something to interact with the API itself, and those methods are what I’ll be taking a look at in my talk at Measurefest on the 25th of November, 2015. There’s not much existential angst to it, though – I just liked the title, and thought it’d make a good opening joke for the talk. Now I’m going to have to think of something else. Bother. Regardless, I hope to see you there! If you want to get ahead of the game, there’s a series of blog posts on using R to access the API on the Measurelab blog – start here 😉


Adam will be speaking at the next MeasureFest on the 25th of November in Brighton.

This article by was posted on 27th October 2015

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