Auto-generate PowerPoint slides from Google Analytics | LunaMetrics

Auto-generate PowerPoint slides from Google Analytics

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Post and software updated: November 24, 2006

Chris Harrington, who lives here in Pittsburgh, wrote a post on the Web Analytics Forum on Friday, directing everyone to his GA-to-PPT tool. He directed everyone to his site where all the details are, but if you just want to use the tool, here’s how you do it. (And, I know all the details because Chris user tested it with me on Friday afternoon.)

Before I start, understand what the tool does. It merely takes the information you already have in Google Analytics and formats it nicely into a PowerPoint slide. You could definitely do the same thing yourself with a cut and paste job, but if you are generating a lot of these, it’s pretty handy. Plus, it formats the information to fit on the slide perfectly.

The URL is http://www.activeinterface.com/pptatk/ga2ppt.hta . But before you click, you should know that it only works in IE. If your computer is set to a different browser default, you need to cut and paste the URL into IE. You always have to choose Run (not save) because your computer will want to open it in your non-IE browser. (Anyone is welcome to tell me what the workaround for this is, as long is it doesn’t involve changing browser preferences…) Also, you should know that it only works if you have MSXML 4.0 SP2 Parser and SDK.

Once you get past the IE and MSXML thing, you can Run the tool and you’ll get a window like this:

I’ve already filled in the first three fields but they’ll be blank, and you won’t yet have the report choices at the bottom of the screen. When I first looked at this, I didn’t really understand what he was looking for, but the date fields are just like the Google Analytics interface — you start by filling in the dates of the report you are interested in.

Next, you have to fill in the Site ID so that the tool knows which company you are tracking. Chris and I figured out that you don’t have to do any of that XML stuff to get the info — it merely wants the RID number that’s nestled inside each and every URL of your reports (and comes right after the question mark, like this: ?rid=123456&scid=something-else). Be sure to pick up just the six digit number and not the rid= or the scid information. Finally, choose a report area, marketing or content (Chris pointed out to me that he broke it down this way so that the user isn’t overwhelmed.) At that point, you’ll be able to select individual reports (which are identical to the ones you get in GA – remember, this is presentation, not analysis) and watch his magic.

Note: Chris and I worked together to update this software on November 24, 2006. As usual, Chris get the big applause and I was mostly nagging and testing. The updated version includes all the new reports that GA has rolled out in the past few months, like AdWords Analysis. In the newer version, the .ppt usually goes to your “My Documents” if you are a PC user (Mac users, please comment and tell us where it goes to.) The Excel version stays right on your desktop until you save it. Also, be patient when you see that black DOS screen come up — sometimes it takes as long as 60 seconds. If you’ve used this recently and not had success, be sure to clear your cache before trying again.

Every time I work with this, it is a great lesson not only in how to auto-generate GA slides but in the power of user testing.

Robbin Steif
LunaMetrics

Our owner and CEO, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics twelve years ago. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a recent Diamond Award for business leadership. You should read her letter before you decide to work with us.

  • Antonio Coelho

    Hi Robbin,
    I tried to use, but it returns the following error. Any idea what is wrong?

    name: TypeError
    message: Object required
    number: -2146827864
    description: Object required

  • http://www.lunametrics.com/blog LunaMetrics Blog

    Antonio, did you do this in IE and get the MSXML Parser? Those were the first problems I dealt with when I started user testing this.

    Robbin

  • Cristiano Famà

    Hi Robbin,

    I tried to use it and it gave me just one time a result. Then it returns the same error it gives to Antonio:

    My apologies. An error was encountered.
    If you would, please send me an email with the details.
    name: TypeError
    message: Necessario oggetto number: -2146827864
    description: Necessario oggetto

    I use IE and MSXML…. Do you know why??

    Cristiano

  • http://www.lunametrics.com/blog LunaMetrics Blog

    Cristiano, I don’t know the answer but I will get it for you. Unfortunately, I don’t know you email so the best I can do is post it here…

  • Anonymous

    Robbin,

    You are the man… Thank you for saving me lots of time and headaches. Your blogs are a pleasure to read.

    Cheers,
    Marcus

  • Anonymous

    It seems that the date range filter is not working. I put in from July through October and the results came in for the last week. Any ideas?

  • http://www.lunametrics.com/blog LunaMetrics Blog

    I will push Chris Harrington to work on this. He is the developer, I am really the tester. Robbinomsau

  • Anonymous

    That’s great. Thank you so much. If you can let us know when that is corrected that would be great.

  • http://www.lunametrics.com/blog LunaMetrics Blog

    Anonymous – I wish I knew your email address so that I could write you and tell you that it is all updated. Antonio, Cristiano: try again (clear your cache) – you shouldn’t have trouble now, it has been all updated.

    Robbin

  • Anonymous

    thanks so much!

  • Anonymous

    I’m now getting this error:
    Loading template: ppt/landscape_dark_c.ppt

    Querying Google…

    Retrieving: ‘Absolute Unique Visitors’

    https://www.google.com/analytics/home/report?user=&rid=52647&bd=20061127&ed=20061204&vid=1204&bd=&ed=&ns=10&ss=0&fd=&ft=2&sf=2&sb=1&dow=0&dt=3&dtc=2&dcomp=0&xd=1&x=7

    Error: On char #0 of line #0, MSXML gave the following error: XML document must have a top level element.

    Reporting Error Encountered.User does not permission to report.

    Report generation errors occurred. If you would, please send me an email with the details.

    It had brought up a powerpoint once before this error but after loading all the data, the powerpoint would just shut down. My name is Kevin. I was the anonymous above. I am checking this site periodically for your answers. Thank you for your time.

  • Shaun3180

    Hi there…

    This is such a great concept, thanks for taking the time to develop this!

    Unfortunately, I can’t generate a PowerPoint, although I’m accessing the tool from IE7 with the MSXML parser installed. I get the following error:

    Error: On char #0 of line #0, MSXML gave the following error: XML document must have a top level element.

    Do you know what’s amiss?

    Thanks,
    Shaun

  • Shaun3180

    Regarding my above post, I fixed the problem by first logging into my analytics account in IE7, then running the tool. Previously, I ran it from IE7 but was logged into Analytics from Firefox (I’m constantly jumping between the two) This got rid of this error:

    Error: On char #0 of line #0, MSXML gave the following error: XML document must have a top level element.

    And now it works like a charm. Thanks for this excellent tool.

    Shaun

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  • ballroom casino

    Just dropping in to let you know you have an interesting site. I hope you’ll continue to work on it. Wishing you all the best.

  • julien

    Hi Robbin,

    I am having trouble using it today (worked fine several times last month). here is the error I am getting (internet explorer 7.0.5730.

    any ideas?

    Loading template: ppt/landscape_dark_c.ppt

    Querying Google…

    Retrieving: ‘Daily Visitors’

    https://www.google.com/analytics/home/report?user=&rid=3976423&bd=20070701&ed=20070731&vid=1201&bd=&ed=&ns=10&ss=0&fd=&ft=2&sf=2&sb=1&dow=0&dt=3&dtc=2&dcomp=0&xd=1&x=7

    HTTP error:404 Not Found

    Report generation errors occurred. If you would, please send me an email with the details.

  • http://www.lunametrics.com Robbin

    Google in general is very weird today. Gmail got hacked, I read (I am not saying that for sure, just that I read it.) I’ve had the strangest errors all day, with Google Checkout and Google Webmaster Central and Google AdWords (and not with GA!!) I even had a security certificate out of date from Google AdWords.

    But now that GA has .pdf export — isn’t that almost as good as this? Easier too?

  • julien

    well no as the excel output is very useful

    I still get the bug 🙁

  • Shaun Geisert

    Hi, I received a similar error as Julien:
    Loading template: ppt/landscape_dark_c.ppt

    Querying Google…

    Retrieving: ‘Top Content’

    https://www.google.com/analytics/home/report?user=&rid=2668484&bd=20071001&ed=20071010&vid=1304&bd=&ed=&ns=10&ss=0&fd=&ft=2&sf=2&sb=1&dow=0&dt=3&dtc=2&dcomp=0&xd=1&x=7

    HTTP error:404 Not Found

    The reason the error is occuring is because Google changed the URL from ?rid=2668484&scid=1493505 to
    ?id=2668484&scid=1493505. (They took out the “r”). Anyways, can you please modify the program to accommodate this change? Thank you – your tool is wonderful, I’ve used it multiple times in the past!

  • Shaun Geisert

    Btw, your tool is much better than Google’s Export to PDF feature – at least for those of us who have to create multi-page powerpoints on a site’s metrics. 🙂

  • Faruk

    Hi, it looks like a great product, but the demo does not work. I’m getting the error below. I guess it is beacuse of RID?

    Any idea?
    Thanks

    Loading template: ppt/landscape_dark_c.ppt

    Querying Google…

    Retrieving: ‘Daily Visitors’

    https://www.google.com/analytics/home/report?user=&rid= xxxx
    HTTP error:404 Not Found

    Report generation errors occurred. If you would, please send me an email with the details.

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