Jul 07, 2017

posted by Mark Milankovich

Website Analytics: How Onsite Analytics and Event Tracking Works

how onsite tracking and analytics works

Why you need to set up website analytics tools

Online businesses, especially eCommerce sites have a massive need to know what visitors are doing on their websites.

One thing for sure: most of them miss a lot of data which would be beneficial, even essential to survive!

The reasons can be derived from mainly two things:

1. Lack of proficiency in using website analytics tools.

2. Trust in only one analytics tool. For example in Google Analytics – which is a great tool, but not the one analytics tool to rule them all.

Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, author of multiple books about successful web analytics said:

“The quest for a single tool/source to answer all your questions will ensure that your business will end up in a ditch, and additionally ensure that your career (from the Analyst to the web CMO) will be short-lived.”

What does this mean?

Focus on stability and diversity in your web analytical toolset. If you use multiple tools to collect data, you will have:

* wider view of your site’s activities. One software can bring great data from one aspect, the other can show you way different context about the data you have and data is the key for you, online marketer.

* more precise data which will be validated by the other elements of your system.


How to set up website analytics tools

The basic setup of various web analytical tools is pretty similar.

1. Sign up for the tool you want to use. Be aware of that many of the reliable tools aren’t free, such as [7 top tools for taming big data | InfoWorld]

2. Get your tracking code after signing up for the tool

3. Place your tracking code in the <head> tag of the pages you want to track. (A frequently used tool as an exception is Google’s Tag Manager where you have to put a code into the <head>, but you have to place another into the <body> tag.)

That’s all, the tool is ready to go!
Just a few online web analytics site that worth to have a look:

* MOZ.com

* SemRush.com

* Google Analytics

* Hotjar.com

* Crazyegg.com

* Google Optimize

* Optimizely.com

* Tableau

…and much much more, but from this list, you will find interesting stuff for sure!


What cookies are

Before everything else, we have to understand how cookies work. Cookies are small pieces of data that contain identifiers, that are connected to a user. Based on this information  the scripts running on each website individually identify users which enable service providers to keep users logged in, remember the products they put in their cart and also to recommend personalized offers and content.

Also, cookies are designed to carry data from the visited site to another, which allows cross-domain tracking.
However, life with cookies is getting harder. For example, Apple’s latest announcement on the WWDC had its echo on the market.


What kind of tracking events are worth to analyze

Once you’ve set up your chosen tracking tool you can define various goals, events to track and analyze your conversion / sales funnel.

To start, we suggest tracking the following events. Some of them are basics and some of them are good for deeper analysis. These metrics can be found in most of the common website analytics tools like Google Analytics.

* click event: that event is triggered when the user clicks on a link or button you’ve specified, for instance on a CTA (Call To Action). This is one of the most important metric when it comes to optimizing your website. It shows that the page you show to your visitors is good enough to convince them to continue to another piece of content or your offer is good enough to incite a purchase.

* view event: the step before click event happens. Does the visitor view the exact content you planned to show them or they’ve bounced before it? Maybe the product or offer is good, but they simply do not get there.

* play, pause, watch to end event: The useful aspect of watch event is if you have video content on your site. With these event set up, you can see how much of your visitors play and watch your content and how long they watch it. All of these events can be followed by triggered activities for your marketing machine like after visiting a specific page of your site you will show a special offer for the visitor or after watching your video fully you can show the second part of that video series.

* scroll tracking: It’s another useful feature that can provide you with valuable data about the structure of a page. If the user does not click on your CTA at the bottom of your page (click event) then you can have an overview to see the why. That’s the moment when scroll tracking comes into the picture. If your CTA is below the fold, you can track how many of your visitors saw that CTA. If just a few of them, then you’ll have to work on your above the fold content. If they scroll down and see the CTA then the issue is probably with the CTA itself, the content around it or maybe the offer you provided. So scroll tracking is vital when it comes to conversion optimization.

* add to cart: Almost the final step to make your life happier. Users choose a product that they want to buy so the product lands in their shopping cart. That’s a really important moment because you’ve broken through the mental barrier of distrust. Tracking this event also brings you the opportunity to test your checkout process. The product is in the cart, but nothing happens? That’s a sign of something funky going on in your checkout flow.

* abandoned cart: Maybe there is a bug in the form you show, or it’s hard to understand, or you want to get too much data and that will discourage the user. Also, you have the opportunity to re-advertise the products they have in their cart and incite them to finish the purchase – and that works.

* buy event: This is the soul of your online business. If you can track your conversions, you can devise 1) best practice user flows that will help you convert better, 2) you will have data about your clients so you can find a similar audience to reach out or you can cross or upsell your other products to your existing customers. Taking care of your existing customers is a key to longterm success.

With these events tracked, you will have a really precise view of your site and you will have the ability to research, optimize your website, and valuable input for your marketing funnel development.


Don’t let them escape with event-based tools

When it comes to the moment your visitors wants to leave your site, you still have a last chance to pull them back to into the flow.

A simple script based solution can bring you the ability to show a pop-up message when the user’s cursor is getting closer to the top of the browser window – where the exit point is. That small script can track the cursor’s movement so you can come up with your very last offer. A 10% discount for signing up to your e-mails, or a free eBook, video, or the links to your social channels where they can find you later.
Basically, this solution can give you another, last chance. But don’t use this feature too much because these type of pop-up messages are usually a bit disturbing for most users and it can hurt the user experience of your whole site.


Connect the dots: how can a simple website analytics tracking system be the fundamental of your big data analytics

1. It provides you behavioural and performance data about your online store. This will point out the best practices and pain points.

2. It will feed your marketing activities with quality user info that you can use to improve your paid and owned marketing solutions.

3. The enormous amount of data you collect can fuel advanced, big data based marketing solutions personalized offerings for your visitors, user intent driven content distribution and much more.

One thing that you must have to improve your online presence is data. So if you haven’t started yet, get prepared to track your site properly.


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