Advanced Analytics Tagging

Advanced Analytics Tagging

Google Analytics provides you with an abundance of information on visitors to your site, but if you want more meaningful and comprehensive visitor interaction data, you should seriously consider advanced tagging.

Advanced tagging allows you to get specific by tracking individual visitor segments. This is achieved through advanced implementation options and the two advanced analytics tagging entities, custom variables and event tracking javascript snippets.

How To Choose Your Custom Segments

Choosing Your Custom Segments

Trying to find behavioral trends when looking at your entire customer base can be likened to trying to find Waldo in a busy crowd. To find what you’re looking for, you have to search for certain segments that stand out. With Waldo, you look for those brilliant red and white stripes, the blue pants, and the glasses. With your eCommerce site, figuring out those segments is more complicated.

Tracking specific segments doesn’t take long to set up, but you’ll need to carefully consider which visitors segments to track if you want insights that assist you in engineering a better user experience.

Your visitor subsets can be created from micro-KPIs throughout your site. For example, if your business offers product engraving, you can track all visitors that choose engraving in order to gather more specific information about their behavior. By doing this, you may discover this customer subset often searches for the warranties page before purchasing, and those that find it, convert at a higher rate. You could then increase overall conversions on your site by adding warranty information to all product pages with custom engraving.

Another rather common segment is visitors that log into their account while on your site. By comparing the behaviors of visitors that log in to those that don’t, you can measure how site personalizations affect behavior. You can also see why users are logging in and tailor the site to more readily address those needs. For example, you may find that most users log in to check how many loyalty points they’ve racked up. In response, you could place such information on the first page they see after logging into their account.

Choosing Between Custom Variables And Event Tracking

After deciding what to track, you’ll need to decide which advanced analytics tagging entity is best for your situation. Both custom variables and event tracking provide great functionality, but each has its limitations.

Custom Variables

Custom variables provide the option to track site users at the Visitor, Session or Page level. That feature allows you quite a bit of tracking freedom.

While Google generously provides five custom variable slots, it is important to remember one major drawback: only five variables can load per pageview. For example, if you have five page level custom variables on a specific page, plus an overarching site session level custom variable (a total of six custom variables trying to load on a page), only five of the six will load on a page. For this reason your resources might be better used by using event tracking for page level custom variables.

Event Tracking

Event tracking is usually thought of as tracking specific events on a site such as a user clicking Add to Cart or providing data in a form data field. The great thing about event tracking is the flexibility. You can basically track any visitor interaction on a site.

Getting The Most Out of Advanced Tagging

It might seem simpler to do so, but be careful not to fall into the habit of using just one of these entities to track user behavior. Understanding which tagging entity to use for different situations will take some trial and error, but by mixing the flexibility of event tracking with the broad range of custom variables, you can go beyond a typical actionable data set and better understand user interactions on your site.

by Conversion Consultant
Amanda is our resident scientist at Blue Acorn. You won’t find any contractions or oxford commas in her articles. She’s always quick to pick up on new techniques and even faster at teaching them to us. We count ourselves lucky to have her here. In her free time, she volunteers for the Analysis Exchange, a group that offers free web analytics consulting to nonprofits and NGOs around the world. She spends the rest of her spare time hanging out with Charley, her wicked-cool miniature schnauzer, who you can also follow on Twitter @charleydoggy.

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