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Beware of this Publish Online Analytics Limitation

I’m a big fan of InDesign’s Publish Online feature. But if you create multiple Publish Online documents, particularly for multiple clients, there is one big limitation to the analytics feature that you should be aware of.

When you choose File > Publish Online Dashboard, you are brought to a Web page that looks like this:

The Publish Online “Publications” screen

If you click on Analytics in the upper-left corner, you will be brought to either an Overview or Document Trends screen, depending on which you visited last.

The Document Trends screen shows you simple analytics, with separate data for each document, which is great. (Views and Readers can be different, because Views is the number of times the document has been viewed, but readers is how many unique readers have viewed the document. So, for example, a document may be viewed 100 times, but by only 4 unique readers.)

The Publish Online "Document Trends" screen

The Publish Online “Document Trends” screen

But when you visit the Overview screen, things are different. This screen provides additional, useful data, such as what types of devices visitors are using, average read time, etc. But this is aggregate data for all the documents currently published. There is no way to separate this data out per document. So, if you’ve published documents for multiple clients, there is no way to provide each client with their own analytics data beyond what displays on the Document Trends screen.


The Publish Online “Overview” screen. Hover over a tile to read a description of the data.

This is unfortunate. I hope that Adobe sees fit to beef up these basic analytics capabilities in the future.

Keith Gilbert

Keith Gilbert

Keith Gilbert is a digital publishing consultant and educator, Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Community Professional, conference speaker, author, and contributing writer for various publications. His work has taken him throughout North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. During his 30 years as a consultant, his clients have included Adobe, Apple, Target, the United Nations, Best Buy, General Mills, Lands' End, and Medtronic. Follow him on Twitter @gilbertconsult and at
Keith Gilbert

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2 Comments on “Beware of this Publish Online Analytics Limitation

  1. I couldn’t agree more. InDesign’s online publishing feature has a lot of potential. But in a digital industry where customers want analytics this feature falls short.

    Have you heard any rumblings of an Adobe update to the analytics?

  2. Agreed, we know they (Adobe) have very strong analytics tools so hopefully they will break the data apart for each individually published document as you mentioned in Overview. Until that happens this publish online analytics piece will be a hurdle for professionals that need this more granular data breakdown which is very necessary for analyzing readers behaviors. FYI, I’ve voiced my opinion with Adobe on this matter and would advise others to do the same.

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