How to use Google Analytics Real-Time Reporting API

Table of content for how to use Google Analytics Real Time Reporting API

  1. Introduction to Google Analytics Real Time Reporting API
  2. Prerequisites to use GA Real Time Reporting API
  3. Steps to create a project in Google API console
  4. Steps to provide access to service account in Google Analytics
  5. Steps to run the a query in the Real Time Reporting API
  6. Examples and results of querying Real Time Reporting API
  7. Error responses and their explanation in the API

In this article, I will discuss how to use the Google Analytics reporting API and its  limitations.

Introduction to Google Analytics Real Time Reporting API

The Google Analytics Real Time Reporting API enables you to view the active users on your website. It also lets you display the top 10 active pages, and the events performed by the active users on your website.

To access data using the real time data, you should create a query that will contain a view ID and at least one metric. You can also use additional data like dimensions and filters to refine your query. The results are returned in the form of a table.

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Prerequisites to use GA Real Time Reporting API

First things first, to use GA Real Time Reporting API you need to make sure that the following prerequisites are met:

  • Enable the Google Analytics API
  • Ensure you have the credentials to access the API
  • Update the credentials in your application

Steps to create project in Google API console

Step-1: To get started, first you need to register your application in the Google API console.

Step-2: You need to log in with your Gmail credentials, or create a new Google account.

log in with your Gmail credentials

Step-3: Next step is to create a project in your developer’s console. Click on the ‘My first project’ drop-down, as shown below:

create a project in your developers console

Step-4: Click on ‘New project’.

Click on ‘New project

Step-5:  Give your project a name, select the organization, and then click on ‘Create’.

Give your project a name

Step-6: Click on ‘Service accounts’ from the left-hand menu.

Click on ‘Service accounts

Step-7: Now you have to create a service account. Click on ‘Create service account’ in the console.

Click on ‘Create service account in the console

Step-8: Enter the service account name of your choice and click on ‘Create’. The next two steps are optional so we can skip them and click on ‘Done’.

Enter the service account name of your choice

Step-9: The service account is now generated. To create a key, click on ‘Actions’ and select ‘Manage keys’, as shown below:

select ‘Manage keys

Step-10: Click on ‘Add key’ and select ‘Create new key’ from the drop-down.

select ‘Create new key from the drop down

Step-11: Select the ‘Key type’ as ‘JSON’ and click on ‘Create’.

Select the ‘Key type as ‘JSON

Step-12: A private key is now created and saved to your local machine/computer. This JSON file has an API key and can be used if you are using any third-party tool for querying real time data.

Steps to provide access to service account in Google Analytics

Step-1: Log in to your Google Analytics account.

Step-2: Click on ‘Admin’ in the left-hand menu.

Click on ‘Admin in the left hand menu

Step-3: Under ‘View’, click on ‘View user management’.

click on ‘View user management

Step-4: Add the service account created in the developers console with read and analyse access.

Add the service account created in the developers console

Steps to run a query in Google Analytics Real Time Reporting API

Step-1: Log in to developers console Real Time Reporting API using your Google credentials.

Step-2: In the API console, enter the view ID and metrics to query the real time users on the view.

Note: The view should be entered in ga:view ID format. Ex: ga:123456 and to query real time users rt:activeUsers.

request parameters

Step-3: Now, click on ‘Execute’ to run the query.

click on ‘Execute to run the query

Step-4: Once the query is executed, you will see the response code 200 if there are no errors and at the end of the code you would see the real time active users as shown below:

you will see the response code 200

Examples and results of querying Real Time Reporting API

Example 1: Pageviews

To query pageviews in the Real Time Reporting API, use rt:Pageviews.

query pageviews in the Real Time Reporting API

Response:

Response

Example 2: Medium

To view the medium in the Real Time Reporting API

view the medium in the Real Time Reporting API

Response:

view the medium in the Real Time Reporting API response

Note that out of four pageviews, one is from medium ‘none’ and the remaining three results are from ‘Organic’.

Example 3: Validate active goals

To validate the active goals using the Real Time Reporting API.

validate the active goals using the Real Time Reporting API

Results:

Validate active goals results

You can refer to this Google Real Time Reporting API documentation for the dimensions and metrics reference.

Error responses and their explanations in the API

200 status code: This means the Real Time Reporting API request was successful and returns the results for the query executed.

400 status code invalid parameter: Indicates an invalid parameter and the request queries has invalid value like location type and location field. Fix the values and query the API again.

400 status code bad request: Indicates that the query was invalid and it could be due to the combination of metrics and dimensions not being valid.

401 invalid credentials: Indicates that the auth token values are incorrect.

 403 insufficient permissions: Indicates that the user does not have sufficient permissions for the view ID used in the API.

For more error codes, refer to this error responses guide which explains the reasons and recommended actions to be taken to run the query successfully.

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