To answer any of these sort of questions it is helpful to understand exactly what your site visitors are doing when they visit your website. Having a good analytics plan in place provides valuable insight into this visitor interaction and behaviour. From identifying sources of traffic and measuring engagement to identifying both high and low performing pages, the more information you can get on visitor actions while on your site the better.
Part of creating an analytics plan is deciding exactly what you would like to measure and the best way to go about it, which leads us to conversion goals. A conversion goal is the expected outcome from the webpage you are optimising. The easiest example of this would be a completed purchase, however, many websites aren’t simply about making online sales, so you need to consider other visitor actions.
When deciding what goals conversions to measure, consider all the different actions site visitors can perform and the path they would normally take to complete these actions. Conversion goals will vary according the type of business and purpose of the website, some examples are:
• Purchase Completions
• Subscription / Enquiry Form / Account Sign Ups
• Phone Number Clicks
• Email Link Clicks
• Reviews / Comments Made
• Social Media Shares
• Downloads Requested
• Surveys Completed
• Page Views
• Content Submissions
• Live Chats
• Contact Form Submissions
• Videos Played
• PDF Downloads
Google Analytics is the usual platform in New Zealand used to collect website data, process it and report back - to help discover if your website is actually helping your website. Choosing from one of four goal types, Destination, Duration, Pages/Screens per session and Events, within Google Analytics you can set up to 20 goals per profile (4 sets – 5 goals per set).
Destination Goals measure the generation of certain destination pages as a result of a specified action. For example a purchase confirmation page or “Thank you” page. This option allows you to use the Goal Funnel feature to determine how many people are moving through your intended website pathways - whether they are dropping out early or skipping pages before making it to the anticipated destination page.
This one is all about tracking how long people spend on a specified webpage. This goal can be used to measure visits both over a certain period of time and under. For example, an online support feature would be looking for shorter periods of time with the intention that people found answers to their questions quickly and efficiently allowing them to move on faster.
This Goal is a measurement of a certain number of pages visited by each visitor. Selecting from greater than, equal to or less than, a simple page count is entered. In practice ‘Greater Than’ would generally be used for measuring engagement levels and ‘Less Than’ potentially for support effectiveness.
Measuring user interaction, an Event Goal is one of the easiest to track and perhaps offers the most useful information in today’s market place. Examples here might be to provide an accurate measurement of the number of times a video is watched, link is clicked or item downloaded. This one does require that you have already set up the appropriate Events, see here for more information on creating an Event.
Along with Google Analytics there are ways of embedding conversion tracking into the code using tools like analytics.js, however this does require the skills of an experienced web developer. The good news is there are tools that enable in depth event tracking without the need for developer skills like Google Tag Manager.
Tag Manager allows users to create, edit, remove and disable event tags, and set triggers based on user defined or predefined variables built within the application without having to touch the source code. When used in conjunction with Google Analytics the two provide a more comprehensive ability to collect valuable visitor interaction data.
Google Tag Manager is not limited to working with just Google services, it can be used to manage third-party tags, including platforms such as Hotjar, Piano, Adobe Analytics, Twitter and Crazy Egg. When working with Google Tag Manager the phrase “container” is used to describe or hold all of the tags for your website. Before being able to work with tags in Google Tag Manager, when creating a new container, you will be given some “container code” that needs to be added to the source code of your website. Each tag needs to be assigned “triggers” (events). These are the items (like a form submission, link click etc) that activate the tag.
While the concepts of website analytics can get a little confusing, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are extremely insightful when setup correctly for goal conversion tracking. There’s a myriad of information and step-by-step tutorials available, just search on Google or Youtube for any topic you need help with. Google also has a useful get started page. If you need direct human assistance, then your website design or website hoster will very likely be able to help further.
By Mark Rocket, Avatar Ltd
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