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Tracking User Behavior with Google Analytics

Tracking User Behavior with Google Analytics

Most websites in the Web 2.0 world are getting pretty dynamic, incorporating blogs, shopping carts, feedback forms, surveys etc… The basic idea is that we are wanting more interaction with the website we are on and usually are getting it, but what about all that valuable data? Are you tracking user behavior on your blog separately from your shopping cart?

 

Tracking User Behavior

If your statistics are all lumped together like a good number of profiles sure you can see the sheer number of people coming to your website but are these users getting the most from your site. More importantly, are they converting on your goals? A user who’s coming to a shopping cart to purchase a widget is in a different mental place than a user who is reading blog articles and generally not interested in buying. By setting up a custom variables you can not only identify these two separate groups of people but are now armed to speak with them directly and adjust content and flow to provide them what they want and ideally to convert them, like signing up to a newsletter or purchasing a item from the cart.

In the following example we are going to create a custom segmentation on a fictitious outdoors website with 3 major segments: Hiking, Biking, Climbing.

<!--- Standard GA Call to load Async tracker module --->
_gaq.push(
['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXX-X'], // This needs to be replaced with your account number
['_setDomainName', 'example.com'],
['_setCustomVar', INDEX , 'TITLE', 'VALUE', OPTIONAL_LEVEL],
['_trackPageview']
);

Our code may look like this:
<!--- Standard GA Call to load Async tracker module --->
_gaq.push(
['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXX-X'], // This needs to be replaced with your account number
['_setDomainName', 'example.com'],
['_setCustomVar', 1, 'ShoppingSegment', 'Biking', 1], // This person is being set to the Biking segment
['_trackPageview']
);

Okay so now inside Google Analytics we can analyse the trend on each of our segments to identify where our marketing dollars should go, what types of information they are looking for how they are interacting with your site. For example Bikers may use the internal search engine to navigate the site 50% more then the rest so maybe you want to make sure the search box is located in a notable area inside the bike section. What if hikers have a very low page/visit ratio compared to the rest, this could mean that you may want to add reviews or a forum section of stories to keep them interested.

 

Conclusion

Every site will be different, and should be based on the goal actions of the site. If you are a e-commerce website, your goals are going to differ from a blog. Always clearly outline your goals before any analysis is performed.

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