Better Flash version reporting in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a really good web site statistics tool, but there are some things that haven’t worked so well for me. The Flash version names include revision numbers, which makes it hard to get the whole picture, and when having multiple subdomains in the same profile it’s not easy to see which domain an page belongs to. Both these can be fixed with filters, and in this post I show you how.

Flash versions

Does your Flash version list (Visitors > Browser Capabilities > Flash Version) look like the screenshot below? I want to know how many have Flash 9.0, 8.0, etc. but every time I have to sum up all the “9.0 rXX” and the “8.0 rXX” manually.

Analytics Flash versions list

Luckily you can add a filter that removes everything but the “9.0″, “8.0″ parts. Below you find a screenshot on how you should enter that filter (you find filters if you edit your settings, look for “+ Add Filter”).

Analytics Flash version filter This screenshot has been altered somewhat because it was to wide to fit in my blog layout, but nothing has been rearanged, just moved to the left.

Basically what it does is that it extracts the first part of the version number from the version string and then replaces the version number with that.

In Perl it would be something like this:

$flashVersion =~ s/^(\d+\.\d+)\s*r\d+$/$1/;

The filter only affects new data, so you will have to live with the old style reporting for a while. However, if you look again in a few days and set the date range to display everything after the day you added the filter, it should look something like this:

Analytics Flash versions list after

I’m not sure what the “(not set)” comes from, but it’s likely it was there before too, it just didn’t reach the top ten.

Subdomains

I have several subdomains on my site, each has a different purpose, but I still like to have them in the same profile in Google Analytics. However, before I could only guess which subdomain an URL belonged to, because all I saw was the path after the domain name. I.e. “blog.iconara.net/2007/02/06/flexunit/” was reported as “/2007/02/06/flexunit/” and both “www.iconara.net/index.html” and “developer.iconara.net/index.html” were reported as “/index.html”.

In the Analytics help there is a solution to this, unfortunately it is contains a typo. Instead of saying “(.)” it says “(._”.

Below you find a screenshot on how this filter is supposed to be setup.

Analytics subdomain filter This screenshot has been altered somewhat because it was to wide to fit in my blog layout, but nothing has been rearanged, just moved to the left.

What this filter does is that it adds the hostname to the request URI field.

After you have applied this filter URLs will be reported with the domain name, i.e “blog.iconara.net/2007/02/06/flexunit/” will be reported as “blog.iconara.net/2007/02/06/flexunit/”.

5 Responses to “Better Flash version reporting in Google Analytics”

  1. gregt Says:

    Google’s own knowledge base article on this, as you pointed out, is slighty incorrect on several settings for this filter: the (.*) part, their “Output To -> Constructor” field has a slash prepended which shows up in reports, and they don’t specify the setting of the radio buttons. thanks for this article!

  2. Eugene Says:

    Once the subdomain filter is setup in the profile – will all historic information be available in this format?

    I have done, but looking at the reports, I still do not see the host forming part of the URL.

    thanks eugene

  3. Theo Says:

    Filters only work on new data, historic data is not affected. There is unfortunately no way to change historic data in GA.

  4. venkat Says:

    i want information about the Flash versions And the what is the difference between versions

    thanks & regds venkat

  5. nick Says:

    Revision #s aren’t helping – we need versions of the software.

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