By Nick Mihailovski
 
Created
22 December 2008
 

Requirements

 
User level

Intermediate
 

 
Required products

Working at Google over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to help many of our top clients implement Google Analytics on their web properties. This free website statistics service from Google helps website owners identify and analyze customer traffic and user trends on their sites.
 
One of the most common implementation challenges, however, has been tracking rich content inside SWF files on their pages. In the past, such tracking was not provided out of the box; every implementation had to be customized. Moreover, there was a lack of standards—and new developers who tracked Flash Player usage had to create their own processes to get it working.
 
With Google Analytics Tracking for Adobe Flash, tracking rich content on websites has never been simpler.
 

 
What it's all about

Google Analytics Tracking for Flash is a translation of the current Google Analytics tracking code into the ActionScript 3.0 programming language that dramatically simplifies the ability to track content authored in the Flash or Flex authoring environments, or in ActionScript 3.0. This new Flash tracking code provides all the rich features of the current JavaScript-based version, including campaign, page view, and event tracking, and can be used to track rich content, including embedded videos, branded microsites, and distributed widgets, such as online games.
 
Developers of rich Internet applications (RIAs) can now answer the following questions:
 
  • How many people have watched my video?
  • Am I developing the right creative that attracts new users?
  • How effective is my content at getting people to take action?
In the following video, Brett Crosby, Group Manager of Google Analytics, talks with Matthew McNeely, VP of engineering at Sprout—a company that helps advertisers design rich media content—about how Sprout has used Google Analytics Tracking for Flash to track distributed content on MySpace and iGoogle.
 

 
Supported platforms

We know there are many levels of experience in the Flash and 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 Google Analytics Tracking for Flash. We've provided tracking libraries for both Flash Professional and Flex, which you can download:
 
The libraries include the following:
 
  • Flash visual component (see Figure 1)
  • Flash ActionScript 3.0 library
  • Flex MXML component
  • Flex ActionScript 3.0 library
You can learn more about how to use them through the developer documentation on Google Code.
 
Google Analytics component in Flash Professional
Figure 1. Google Analytics component in Flash Professional

 
Open development

We know that things change quickly online, and developers might want to review and improve the code. So we are providing our entire ActionScript 3.0 code base under the Apache License 2.0 code license.
 
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. If you are a company that is running a content platform, such as Sprout mentioned in the video, you can seamlessly integrate the Google Analytics Tracking for Flash codebase into your existing architecture.
 
So while many features get launched only at the end of their development cycle, we see this as just the beginning.
 

 
Where to go from here

Please visit the project page to see an implementation overview, join a developer discussion group, and find reference documentation.
 
Sign up for a free Google Analytics account.
 
Tell us your success stories about how you've implemented Google Analytics Tracking for Adobe Flash.
 
Note: Google Analytics Tracking for Flash was 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 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 overcome the obstacles of migrating to an all-ActionScript 3.0 environment.