ISVs interested in online marketing can use goals and events with Google Analytics to identify problems with web site content. Google Analytics is a free tool with a lot of features and capability, including goals and events. It isn’t easy to successfully set up Google Analytics goals and events, but we think it is worth the effort. The information collected by these tools can shed light on where, and why web site visitors drop off.
Conceptually, Google Analytics goals and events are two versions of the same tool. By building goals or events, online marketers create a method of tracking visitor activity through a web site. Different visitors drop off of web sites at different times, and for different reasons. Therefore, it is useful to collect information about visitor activity within a web site.
Goals are usually mentioned in the context of conversions. A conversion in Google Analytics is a measurable action taken by a website visitor. What makes the action measurable, is that the online marketer has exposed the action as an option for site visitors. Examples of actions include an opportunity to fill out a registration form on a web site, or to place an order for an item with an online shopping cart, or even to download what we refer to as “level two” content, meaning a white paper, case study, success story, or even a product brochure.
Events are very similar to goals. The same measurable activities can be set up in Google Analytics as events. Online marketers should set up events for visitor actions that take place on complex web pages. To understand what constitutes a complex web page, think about a web page where a “thank you” message appears once a visitor fills out a registration form and sends it for processing. In comparison, on a simple web page, the visitor would be served a “thank you” web page after completing the registration form.
Online marketers should offer web site visitors activities, strategically, meaning at points in a web site where historical information indicates that visitors have dropped off. By collecting data about the rate at which site visitors either choose to perform an action, or not, it should become clear, over time, whether web site content is working as planned.
Simply making changes without data doesn’t make sense when a measurement tool like Google Analytics is available at no charge.
In the next post to this blog we will look closer at events and goals in Google Analytics.
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