Feds release public analytics dashboard for .gov websites

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Anyone in the world can now see how many people are visiting U.S. government websites.

Hosted at analytics.usa.gov, the Digital Analytics Dashboard will show how many people are using federal government websites, what websites are getting the most traffic over a select period of time and the ability to download data sets for deeper examination.

The analytics suite was built in collaboration by two different offices in the General Services Administration — 18F and the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies’ DigitalGov — with help from the U.S. Digital Service and the White House’s Office of Science Technology and Policy. According to an 18F blog post, the entire site was built in three weeks.

The site, which runs on Google Analytics and Amazon Web Services’ Simple Storage Service (S3), refreshes real-time data every 15 seconds and caches the rest of the data every day, available for download once the page loads.

A variety of different data sets are available for download in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), ranging from top 20 pages, top 20 domains and a host of visitor data, including browser type, operating system and mobile users.

top20websites
The new analytics suite will have a real-time display of the top 20 most-visited government websites. (via analytics.usa.gov)

The dashboard also has some privacy measures included. Because it uses Google Analytics, individual visitors are not tracked across websites and
visitors’ IP addresses are anonymized before they are ever stored.

The White House has already pulled some interesting information from the dashboard: mobile traffic on government sites is steadily increasing, while older browser use is on the decline. Also, seasonal events cause traffic spikes. As of this writing, the Internal Revenue Service’s “Where’s My Refund?” page had nearly twice as many concurrent users as the next most popular government website.

Only a little more than 20 percent of the federal government’s 1,350 domains are participating in the launch, including domains from every cabinet level department and nearly 300 executive branch domains.

The entire project is open source, with both the dashboard and the data reporting system posted on GitHub.

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18F, Agencies, data analytics, DigitalGov, General Services Administration (GSA), Government IT News, open data, Tech, U.S. Digital Service, White House
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