GA Setup: Advanced Use
Committing to an advanced setup provides important metrics for all three phases of data analysis in Google Analytics:
- Visitor capture
- Interactions with website content
- Conversions and Transactions
Additionally, the depth of data in each of those phases can be increased quite a bit. Visitor capture reporting can be more complete with cross-domain tracking. Interactions with website content can be grouped by visitor segments with the use of custom dimensions. Conversion reporting could include offline transactions, giving a more complete ROI of online marketing channels.
We have come across many clients who present a user experience that spans two or more domains. Some are higher education websites, and some others are businesses focused on lead generation or eCommerce. The most important aspect of capturing the user experience with your Google Analytics tracking is ensuring that each visitor session is complete. Cross-domain tracking requires specific customizations to the tracking code on each domain.
This is a great solution for businesses that need to build reporting for multiple departments or offices, while keeping data access separate for each department. Along with these instances of reporting would be a set of roll-up reporting. To properly capture roll-up reporting at the same time as the reporting for each department, dual tracking is a method that we configure for our clients. It requires two instances of Google Analytics tracking, side-by-side, that do not interfere with each other.
Dynamic Event Tracking
We mentioned event tracking as a necessity of Basic Google Analytics setup. In most cases, that would involve hard-coding event snippets to specific page elements, and resulting in hard-coded values. Dynamic event tracking is a way to expand your non-pageview tracking footprint in a scalable way.
While you may want to track click activity on your home page slider, it would be tedious to have to update event tracking code each time that slider content and links are updated. Configuring the event tracking in the page template, while also mapping dynamic values, makes the event tracking more efficient.
Is everyone who visits your website really a prospect? Probably not. What actions can you capture with Google Analytics that would give a high level of confidence that the user is a prospect? We help clients take those answers and apply custom dimension tracking to create audience segments. Segmenting your overall website users opens the door to more granular data analysis. This leads to true prospect totals, more accurate conversion rates, and more.
User-ID / Cross-Device
For websites that rely on user sign-in, this feature is a must-have. Configuring user-ID tracking in Google Analytics creates cross-device reporting. By default, Google Analytics presents data based on website sessions. We help clients leverage user-ID tracking to build user-based reports. In today’s world of multiple devices being used to access websites, user-ID and cross-device reporting opens the door to a better understanding of visitor trends, as they move from first visit toward a purchase or conversion.
Google’s Universal Analytics syntax has paved the way for more advanced eCommerce reporting. While GA does a great job of capturing transactions, there is so much more data to be gathered before the point of sale (and after, too). Google’s Enhanced eCommerce configuration creates the ability to report on shopping and purchase behavior, represented visually by new eCommerce funnels. Track activity from product impressions all the way to the purchase, and analyze the drop-off points. You can also take advantage of Data Import, to add refund info to Google Analytics, better aligning GA’s eCommerce metrics with true revenue totals.
Offline Data Integration
The biggest blind spot we have come across over the years is the lack of connectivity between website activity and offline transactions. For some clients, those offline transactions are in-store of call center sales. For others, it is in the form of revenue generated by sales staff after receiving an inquiry online. In any case, connecting that offline revenue back to website activity helps build a more complete ROI picture for each digital marketing channel.