Web Analytics

Installing Web Tracking: How and Why?

The world wide web is an open playground full of users of all technical skill levels, which makes it hard to predict how a user is going to navigate and interact with a site. It is for this reason we find it very important to make the user experience as easy as possible.

In the digital marketing realm it is our job to create a web environment that establishes a flow of traffic that drives users to an endpoint or conversion. This endpoint could be a signup form, an app download, or a landing page (squeeze page), where the client offers valuable or interesting material (free download, ebook, white paper) to the user in exchange for an email address and other information. Regardless of the kind of endpoint, it is our job to get potential leads there.

The way a user navigates a website can be unpredictable. The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. We want to be able to track how users have navigated our site in the past so we can use that data to predict how future users will interact and then make the flow as easy as possible.

There are many tools available that can be used to track a user’s flow on a web page. The most popular, and our go-to here at Ingenex, is Google Analytics. Google Analytics allows us to track which avenues bring users to a client’s site and the path that users take while on the site. Google Analytics has recently received a makeover with the release of Universal Analytics. Universal Analytics comes packed with more features and better insight than its predecessor.

If your site already has Google Analytics installed you might want to take a few minutes and make sure you are using Universal Analytics as well. Google has made Universal Analytics the new operating standard and will soon require all sites running Google Analytics to be using it. For more information about converting to Universal Analytics you can visit the Google Developers’ Universal Analytics Upgrade Center.

A quick way to check which version of Google Analytics you have is to visit your site, right click on your mouse, and choose “View Page Source”. A new tab or window will open displaying all of the code the current page is comprised of. Once you are in this tab or window, Hold down the “Ctrl” key and hit “f” (⌘ f on a Mac) and search for google-analytics.com. If nothing shows up you do not have Google Analytics set up. If your cursor jumps to google-analytics.com you can now determine which version you are running. If google-analytics.com is followed by /analytics.js then you are running the most current version. If you find that the text that follows reads /ga.js then it is time to upgrade.

Don’t have Google Analytics set up? The process is easier than you think. First, head to the Google Analytics home page to sign up, where you will provide some basic information about your site. After submitting it, Google will give you a unique tracking ID. Your tracking ID is what you use in our code snippet to allow Google to recognize which account to associate the site data with.

The code to install looks like this:

<!-- Upgraded Universal Google Analytics -->
<script>
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');

ga('create', 'UA-XXXX-Y', 'auto');
ga('send', 'pageview');

</script>
<!-- End Google Analytics -->

Replace the UA-XXXX-Y with your Unique Google Analytics ID. Once you have the ID in place you will copy and paste this snippet in its entirety into every web page you want to track. Paste it immediately before the closing </head> tag at the top of the page.

As soon as this code is saved on to a web page it will begin sending data to your Google Analytics Dashboard. Now you’re ready to track user data like a pro.

photo credit cc

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