7 Advanced Google Analytics TricksMay 10th, 2007
In a previous post on the best Web analytics solutions I mentioned that in my view Omniture is the clear leader in enterprise Web analytics and that Google Analytics is the best free solution. Omniture has spoilt me and I often wish I could get a little more out of GA (which I use on Da Vinci Planet). After some digging around I found a few hacks that enable valuable reports in Google Analytics, including full referrer URLs, file downloads, and custom segmentation.
1. How to track file downloads, clicks on outbound links or Flash
Google Analytics provides an easy way to track clicks on links that lead to file downloads like PDFs or MP3s, outbound links and Flash. Simply include an onClick event in the hyperlink that calls the
2. Integrate Google Website Optimizer with Google Analytics
3. Identify additional search engines in the Referral reports
By default, GA tracks referrals from 20 search engines, however, you can add additional search engines by adding
_uOkw variables to your tracking code. When you look closely at your Referring Source report you may notice some sources where the Medium is “referral” and that are search results on Web sites that should come through as “organic”. Link.
4. Tracking full referrer URLs
A common complaint about Google Analytics is that it truncates URLs at the end of the pagename and cuts off the querystring. So on sites that use query parameters as page identifiers, some reports will show aggregate numbers for those pages. There are two ways one can address this issue:
1. Use the
urchinTracker to record the whole URL. Link
2. Create a User-defined report by using Custom Filters. With Custom Filters you can manipulate data before GA simplifies it and therefore one can do lots of interesting things like extracting segments into extra profiles. Link.
5. Track AdSense clicks
There is a lot of debate on the legality of using GA to track AdSense clicks, but if you are interested this is how you can do it. Link.
6. Custom Segmentation
utmSetVar variable can be used to assign users to a certain segment. E.g. you could use the variable to track users that viewed a particular page. The variable populates the User-Defined report (Marketing Optimization > Visitor Segment Performance > User-Defined) report. Note that only the first value of this variable is recorded. Link.
7. Use link tagging to track campaigns
You can use GA to track all your campaigns including email campaigns. AdWords campaigns are tracked by default if the account is linked to your GA account, however you need to tag your links in order to use campaign tracking for other campaigns. Link tagging simply requires you to add certain parameters to your URL and Google has a nifty URL Builder for the purpose. Link.
UPDATE: The new version of Google Analytics is out and while the reports have changed the configuration and advanced tricks mentioned above have not. Phew!