Web Analytics

Skill Level: 
Beginner

The most crucial part of your analytics strategy takes place before looking at a single report. In order to find your answers, you need to know what question—or questions—to ask. In order to determine what metrics to track, you must decide what is important. Your site was created for a reason, what was that reason? Write it down, clearly define it and remember it.

In order to find your answers, you need to know what question—or questions—to ask. In order to determine what metrics to track, you must decide what is important.

The Framework comes prepacked with analytics tracking libraries from Google Analytics. These libraries allow you to get more insight into how users are actually using your site. These deeper insights can help you shape your content and information architecture. By default we track all pages on a centrally maintained anaytics property, so we can have a larger picture of how the university site is used as a whole. You are generally encouraged to set up your own anaytlics account and property to get a tracking code you can use for your individual site.

You do not need to add the chunk of tracking code from Google that load the tracking libraries. Both the ga.js (this library should not be used anymore) and analytics.js libraries will already be loaded. It likely doesn't hurt to add it again, but it does add additional load to the page. The important parts of the tracking code are the ga() function calls. The Framework does not automatically track a pageview for your anaytics property, so be sure that's a part of your code.

ga('create', 'UA-XXXX-Y', 'auto');
ga('send', 'pageview');

If you are still using the old (legacy) tracking codes, you are strongly encouraged to upgrade it. There will likely be a future date when these codes will no longer work and we plan on removing the ga.js library from the Framework. You should be looking to update any code that looks like the following.

var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXX-Y']);
_gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

Automatically tracked interactions

In addition to the baseline dimensions that are collected through pageviews, the Framework will automatically track events and/or virtual pageviews for specific types of links and media. As long as the Framework is able to find an unnamed analytics property (the default tracking code), it will send these interactions to that property. Please note that these interactions are slightly different than what is tracked by the Google Analytics module provided with the UNLcms and you are likely to see different counts of events and pageviews when using that module.

Outgoing Link

This is tracked as an event and virtual pageview. It is triggered when a user clicks an absolute link (contains the http:// prefix) in your content that is on a different domain. Example: clicking a link on wdn.unl.edu that goes to www.unl.edu. The action of the event will be the link href. The label will be the current page href (google will automatically track this, so future versions may exclude this).

The governance board is currently discussing the implications of tracking this as a virtual pageview. As it is now, the analytics libraries have trouble showing these pageviews in a meaningful manner in the standard reports.

Email

This is tracked as an event. It is triggered when a user click an email link (has the mailto: prefix). The action of the event will be the href (the mailto and email address). The label will be the current page href (google will automatically track this, so future versions may exclude this).

File Download

This is tracked as an event and virtual pageview. It is triggered when a user clicks on a link that ends with a file extension like zip, exe, pdf, docx, xlsx, pptx, mp3, or mp4. The action of the event will be the link href. The label will be the current page href (google will automatically track this, so future versions may exclude this).

This is tracked as a pageview to allow for goal flows that end in with a file download. These files would not normally allow you to track the view when loaded.

Media

This is tracked as events. This event category represents the play, pause, and ended actions while a user is interacting with a video or audio element using the Framework's built-in player. The label will be the media's title or URL. Please note that events from media embedded in iframes for other services are not automatically tracked. Mediahub offers a way to opt-in to these events. Other services like YouTube will require writing your own tracking code.

Contributed By: 
IIM