Taking your website analytics into your own hands

At the heart of Google Analytics is a thorough analysis of views of pages on your website, and for most people, that’s plenty of information. But what if you want to know about more than just page views and who made them? What if you want to know about actions on your website, such as clicking buttons or “downloading” (i.e. viewing) PDF documents? That might be very useful, for example, in tracking where the visitors came from who actually bought something, made an enquiry or just showed real interest.

These actions can be recorded already, by attaching code to the things you want to track, but it’s an IT-intensive job which is too much trouble (and expensive) for many companies whose website is contracted out to a web design agency. Now, however, Google has announced a development which could change all that: “Auto-Event Tracking for Tag Manager”.

To take advantage of this, you need to have moved over to Google’s Tag Manager system, which (in my experience) very few companies have done. But it’s not a major upheaval; if you have an in-house IT person, or use a web design agency, ask them to have a look at implementing it.

Tag Manager acknowledges that most websites now have code in place on their web pages for more than one service, for example Google Analytics, AdWords Conversion Tracking, or Google AdWords Display Network Remarketing. You may have all this without even knowing it. With Tag Manager, you replace all of those sets of code with a single piece of code which calls them up when required. Crucially, however, this then takes their specification off the page and into an external interface which you control, rather than relying on the IT department or web designer to maintain things.

With the new “Auto-Event Tracking” addition to Tag Manager, you can now also specify recording of events (such as the previously mentioned clicking buttons or viewing PDF documents) without modifying the page. The first step is to implement Google Tag Manager, so if the idea is of interest, have a word with whoever’s responsible for your website maintenance right away.

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