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Bandwidth Reports in Google Analytics

Article Summary

Google Analytics doesn't track bandwidth, but there are 2 options for showing bandwidth data in your reports.

The Problem

An average web page references 40 separate items: images, scripts, stylesheets, fonts, videos, sound clips, and others. When a visitor loads a page, each referenced item is transfered to the visitor's browser. The total bandwidth for the page is the sum of the file size for each transfered item.

Google Analytics tracking code is installed at the page level and doesn't track each referenced item, which means Google Analytics is unable to create a bandwidth report. Google Analytics also isn't able to see the bandwidth used by visitors who block JavaScript or GA tracking code, robots, RSS feeds, or direct-linked files.

In order to see bandwidth reports in Google Analytics, you can do either of the following:

  1. Use a 3rd party application. (most accurate solution)
  2. Fire off an event for each pageview. (free solution)

These options are detailed below.

The Solutions

Option 1: Accurate

Did you know that you can keep a backup copy of the tracking data sent to Google, and you can process the data with on-premises web analytics software?

Once you process the data, you can upload Bandwidth information to your Google Analytics account. Angelfish Software does this automatically.

Angelfish has a feature called GA Upload which automatically uploads bandwidth data to Google Analytics. The data will appear in the Events report section - Angelfish uses the Measurement Protocol to upload two events with the following labels:

  • Total Bandwidth: the total bandwidth (in MB) for the current timeframe
  • Stolen Bandwidth: the stolen bandwidth total for the current timeframe

Angelfish also shows you things like Broken Links, Usernames, IP addresses, and you can use Angelfish to track any of your websites - internal or public.

Learn more at:
http://analytics.angelfishstats.com/solutions/google-analytics-web-log-software/

Option 2: Free

For each pageview, fire off an event that contains a bandwidth value. This option isn't very accurate, but it's free and easy to implement.

The value can be the average size of pages on your site. We suggest using a Label of "Bandwidth" for this solution.

Google Analytics is known to update their code periodically, so please refer to GA documentation for proper syntax:

Event Tracking Instructions (ga.js):
https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/gajs/eventTrackerGuide

Event Tracking Instructions (analytics.js):
https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/events

As a reminder, this option won't consider bandwidth for:

  • Pages that aren't tracked with Google Analytics code
  • Visitors who block JavaScript or GA tracking requests
  • Direct-linked files
  • Robots and RSS viewers