The tool that had just come out when I blogged a year ago, the first version of Excellent Analytics, at the time was buggy and not quite ready for prime-time. Yes it filled a major need -- the ability to automatically export GA data into Excel -- but frequently the benefit was outweighed by the lack of flexibility and bugs.
Fast forward a year later to present day and the Google Analytics Excel integration picture changes. Today we have a two horse race between (an improved) Excellent Analytics product and the Tatvic Google Analytics Plug-in (TGAP). There are several other tools out there (i.e. Shufflepoint), but I won't consider any other significant, direct competitors.
The main thing Excellent's tool has going for it is that it's free. The main thing TGAP has going for it is that it's flat out the best available. The Tatvic tool has a crisp, simple interface and allows for flexible reporting.
Some of my favorite features include:
- Applying custom segments to data blocks
- Advanced sort and filtering options
- The ability to reference date range, report profile, custom segments and filtering options within Excel cells
The end result is a tool that is easy to get up to speed with and that allows you to quickly update reports once they are built. The ability to reference key data block criteria allow reports to be altered and changed.
While TGAP excels in extracting data, it certainly doesn't spit out the most beautiful reports. You'll want to follow some of the basics of building Excel based web analytics reports, namely building forward facing report elements that reference the cells containing data, since the data blocks are unformattable.
TGAP certainly isn't bug free, but neither is any web analytics vendor Excel integration tool. In my very unscientific study I've found Tatvic to have fewer bugs than the Excellent tool for GA and slightly more bugs than ExcelClient for Omniture SiteCatalyst. Although the bugs are a nuisance they are infrequent enough to only cut into a small fraction of the time savings you can expect when generating regular reporting.
Google Analytics clients with limited budgets and even more limited reporting are probably fine with the free Excellent tool (or no Excel integration at all), but anyone who spends 10% or more of their day with GA and has a four figure budget should heavily consider TGAP. It $199 for an individual license and $499 for an agency, which is considerably more than free, but only has to save you a few hours (which it will) to justify the investment.In my eyes, the Tatvic tool elevates Google Analytics itself to having a feature set relatively comparably to that of Omniture SiteCatalyst. Previously having good Excel integration with their web analytics tool might be reason enough to push people toward a low end SiteCatalys contract, which start around 10K. Now people who are generally pleased with the GA feature set but want good Excel integration can save $9,800 and go with the free GA tool coupled with the $200 TGAP license.
For those who want more information on TGAP, Semphonic has written a more comprehensive product review.
Semphonic is also remarketing the Tatvic Google Analytics Plug-in on our website. You'll have to trust me that our (small) connection to Tatvic has in no way clouded this blog. I wrote the blog because I genuinely like the tool. Semphonic is remarketing the tool because we genuinely like the tool.