Google API: How to access Analytics data?

Google API: How to access Analytics data?

Google analytics textBefore we dig  into Google Analytics API it is always useful to understand few of the Google Analytics jargon and their relationship .  

Google Account: To access Google Analytics the user will need a Google Account which enables users to login to multiple Google products e.g. Gmail, Blogger, Analytics, Adsense etc. [[email protected]].

Google Analytics Account:When the user wants to access the features of the web analytics they will need to register for this service. This is a unique ID representing the analytics account. The user can still use their Google account email address to authenticate and login to the Analytics account services.  [e.g. 65421]

Google Analytics Sample Account
Google Analytics Sample Account

Web properties: A web property can be referred to as one website which can be tracked independently. If the account is called AbcCompany then a web property can be which refers to the user’s personal website, another web property can be which refers to user’s business website and other one can be which is specifically targeted to his mobile customers. The web properties under the account will have the same Account number but with different suffix. E.g. If the Account Id for AbcCompany is 65421 so the web property for can be UA-65421-1, for it can be UA-65421-2.

Google Analytics sample property
Google Analytics sample property

Create a New Property using the Property tab:

Create a New Property
Create a New Property

Google Analytics Profile:  Each web property account will have at least one analytics profile. The profile has access to all the analytics data and reports. Each profile will have a unique profile Id. The profiles can have multiple Goals, Users, Filters and Assets.


The Profile settings tab gives the details of the Profile Id and Website URL.The profile can have one or multiple users.

Edit Profile Settings
Edit Profile Settings

The details of the relationship is highlighted in the below diagram.

Google Analytics User Profile Account relationship
GA User Profile Account relationship

What is OAuth 2.0?
OAuth is an open standard for authorisation. It allows users to share their resources from one location to another location without the necessity to share credentials.  OAuth 2.0 is based on the OAuth protocol however it helps with new authentication features for web applications, desktop applications, mobile applications etc. They use tokens instead of the actual username and password for speaking to each other and provide authorisation.

How is Google API related to OAuth2.0?
Google API provides access to their application using OAuth 2.0 standard. Google uses this protocol as their authentication and authorization especially when the third party clients want to have an access to the Google application data securely. The Google authorisation works in few high level steps:

a) Register application with Google
b) Redirect a browser to the URL
c) Parse a token from the response
d) Send the token to the Google Authorisation server.
e) Get the Google Analytics data by using the access token to the request.

The following diagram describes the steps which are followed to get authenticated and authorized to the Google Server (in this case Analytics server).

Google Analytics Architecture
Google Analytics Architecture

Well all the introduction is now over. We will be back to action. Till now we have learnt about the various features of Google Analytics data and also about the authorisation and authentication mechanism. Now we will go into the implementation details. Oops…There is still one item missing. It’s all about what data we will be accessing from Google Analytics and how are they related.

Dimension vs Metrics

Dimension vs Metrics
Dimension vs Metrics

In simple terms the Dimension in Google analytics represents the rows in the report and metrics represents the columns. E.g. the Dimension refers to Country, Browsers, Traffic sources and metrics refers the visits, new visitors, transactions etc.

So what are we trying to do with all these details?
Problem Statement: We are trying to create a standalone application which will try to use the OAuth 2.0 protocol and fetch the data from the Google Analytics.

Step 1: Download and Import Jar files
To start with we will need to download and import the following jar files:
Download Location : Google client API

  • google-api-client-1.8.0-beta.jar – Contains the Core API code for the Google Analytics
  • google-oauth-client-1.8.0-beta.jar – Contains the OAuth client code
  • gson-2.1.jar – Java library to convert JSON to Java object and vice versa
  • guava-11.0.1.jar – This jar contains several Google’s core libraries e.g. collections, caching, primitive support, common annotations, string processing
  • jackson-core-asl-1.9.4.jar – This is high performance JSON processor

Step 2: Register client application with Google
Every application has to be registered with the Google API so that we can use the OAuth 2.0 token during the authentication and authorisation process. To register an application the user has to login to the Google account and go to Google API console.

In the Google API console Create a New Project using the left hand menu.

Create a New project
Create a New project

Using the Services tab enable the Analytics API so that it can be accessed.

Enable Analytics API
Enable Analytics API

From the API Access tab create an OAuth 2.0 client ID.

Create OAuth client ID
Create OAuth client ID

Create Branding information for Client ID.

Create Branding information
Create Branding information

Select application type. In our example we select “Installed application” usually running on the local system.

Select Application Type
Select Application Type

API console  summary providing the details of the Client ID and Client secret.

Google API Console Summary
Google API Console Summary

Step 3: Authorising Requests
The registration gives the clientId and clientSecret value for your application so that it can work with the Google API. This is keys will avoid the client application to share the username or password and instead make use of these keys.
When the client application is executed it prompts the users to allow access and redirects the users to the Google URL which in turns provides an authorisation code. The authorisation code is fed back to the client application which then uses the code to get the access token.

Step 4: Accessing the Google Analytics user data
The client application uses the access token to get the Google analytics user’s data.

<<GA Example Download Code>>

Sample Code Explanation:
The Client ID and Client Secret value received from the Google API console needs to copied here in the program.

private static final String CLIENT_ID = "XXXXXXXXXX";
private static final String CLIENT_SECRET = "XXXXXXXXX";

Generate the URL which will be used to get the authorisation code.

String authorizationUrl = new GoogleAuthorizationRequestUrl(CLIENT_ID,
				REDIRECT_URL, SCOPE).build();

Here REDIRECT_URL refers to the absolute URI path which the authorisation server will redirect the user agent to the end user authorisation step is complete and SCOPE refers to the scope of the access request expressed. Once the application is executed the URL is generated.  This URL will ask if the Analytics account user can allow the access to get the authorisation code. Once the authorisation code is generated it will be used in the client application to get an access to the Google API token.

Read the authorisation code from console:

BufferedReader in = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(;

Get an access to the OAuth 2.0 token using the authorisation code:

AccessTokenResponse response = new GoogleAccessTokenRequest.GoogleAuthorizationCodeGrant(
					netHttpTransport, jacksonFactory, CLIENT_ID, CLIENT_SECRET,
					authorizationCode, REDIRECT_URL).execute();

Initialize the Analytics service object:

Analytics analytics = Analytics.builder(netHttpTransport, jacksonFactory)

Get Profile details:

Profiles profiles =
				.list("~all", "~all").execute();

Get Analytics data using API query:

Get apiQuery =
	.get("ga:" + profile.getId(), // Table ID ="ga"+ProfileID
	"2012-03-21", // Start date
	"2012-05-04", // End date
	"ga:visits"); // Metrics

Set filters:


Execute query:

GaData gaData = apiQuery.execute();

The data can then be retrieved from the GaData object using the retrieveData() method.

public static void retrieveData(GaData gaData) {
// Get Row Data
if (gaData.getTotalResults() > 0) {
// Get the column headers
for (ColumnHeaders header : gaData.getColumnHeaders()) {
header.getName() + '(' + header.getDataType() + ')');
// Print the rows of data.
for (List<String> rowValues : gaData.getRows()) {
for (String value : rowValues) {
System.out.format("%-20s", value);
} else {
System.out.println("No data available");

In case you want to know more about Google Analytics then you can refer to our article “All about Google Analytics“.

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17 Responses to "Google API: How to access Analytics data?"

  1. This is a nice article, I like how you also explain a bit about OAuth as I often think it seems to be a bit confusing at first! I’d only recommend to make the screenshots a bit bigger, there’s still room and if they were twice as big, we could actually see what’s in them without clicking on every one!

    1. Thanks Remo. I agree with you. Indeed I took long time to understand this as the documentation provided on Google are bit confusing and not structured. Please keep visiting this space.

  2. Hi, thanks for your great post. The sample code ist not working for me though since many of the classes are deprecated. I tried to get your sample running with the latest version of the Google client API LIB but I’m afraid I was not very successful.
    Any chance that you have an updated sample-code that works with the latest version of the google api? Would be awesome! 🙂

      1. Hi, Thanks for such a nice, well structured and very helpful post. But the code is not working as the classes are deprecated, it will be very helpful if you could manage to update the post and code with the latest version of Google analytics API and Oauth 2.0.
        Thanks! 🙂

  3. Hi, Thanks for such a nice, well structured and very helpful post. But the code is not working as the classes are deprecated, it will be very helpful if you could manage to update the post and code with the latest version of Google analytics API and Oauth 2.0.
    Thanks! 🙂

  4. Hi,

    Thank you for your article. Well, I’m currently looking for the information about application to have access to Google Analytics API. As I know, the application for Adwords API is very complicated. I am wondering if it is the same for an access to API analytics.

    In your article, you mentioned the steps to follow, I’m wondering if the first step
    a) Register application with Google => Could you please tell me where can I start le registration of application?

    Thank you for your feedback.

  5. Thanks for the clear explanation.

    However, I am wondering if there is still a way to access GA data with just a user name and password — that is, with using OAuth as you describe here.

    There are old examples which do this but I can’t seem to get them to work.

    So the simple question I have is, has Google Analytics changed so that OAuth is currently the only way to access data? If not, can you point me to a working example that requires only user name and password?

    I realize that in substituting the details of the actual application I want to access that I may be making a mistake, but I have tried many permutations and while the authentication seems to work, I get 401 status back (unauthorized) when I try to access the URL.

    1. Thanks Jeff for visiting this website. I will try to see the latest situation on this front. Since the article was written sometime back I will try to check on the latest standards for Google API and get back to you.

  6. if you want to control and modify analytics programatically you can do it in 2 steps
    1.Forget Google Analytics
    2.Try Piwik Analytics – use it for min 6months to believe


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