Is Event Tracking One of Your New Year's Resolutions?
It's a new year and a fresh start. For some, that means resolutions and goals for 2010. Okay. I realize that dropping a few pounds and not smoking are ideal resolutions but what about goals for your website? To me, setting up a goal would be just as easy as not touching that piece of chocolate cake.
The process of establishing website goals begins with identifying and then tracking specific events on your website. Alas, most analytics programs, Google specifically, give us the ability to track a wide variety of events visitors take on websites and then act on those results to improve upon your website's performance.
The first of the two-step process begins with you, the site owner, asking questions in order to determine what event it is you would like to track. For example, if you have an e-commerce site then you would probably want to know how many sales were generated last week or last month. That seems obvious. But, have you ever wondered how many people are clicking on Product A on the products page? For non-e-commerce related sites, you might ask yourself whether people are opting-in your recurring e-newsletter or downloading the latest e-newsletter in PDF format.
Event tracking really depends on the specific goals and needs of your site, and what you want to track. Nonetheless, you should be tracking some type of event because when a visitor interacts with a video player or game on your website, no pageview is generated, thus making it difficult to measure.
Here are some common events that are tracked that do not generate pageviews:
Clicks on links that take the visitor to another site
Clicks on an image or button (ex. Facebook icon or shop now button)
Banner Ad clicks
File downloads (ex. PDF)
E-commerce activity/shopping cart purchases
Member functions (ex. tracking new member sign-ups, log-ins, etc.)
Tracking specific events, the second part of the process, is relatively easy. If you are using Google Analytics, then all you need to do is call the _trackEvent() method each time you want to register an event such as how many clicks to an external link or video downloads. For example, if you want to track how many people clicked on the "follow us" Twitter icon/link on your web page then the code would look something like this:
The "Home", "Follow" and "Twitter" identifiers represent the category, action and label so you can view the specific results for this event right in your Analytics account. It's really that simple. For more information on setting up event tracking in Google Analytics visit: http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/tracking/eventTrackerGuide.html
Remember, event tracking is there to help improve your overall online sales and marketing goals and allow you to have a better understanding of your visitors' actions. Now, isn't this a resolution worth sticking with?