How To Track User Website Activity In More Detail

You have a website. It gets traffic. You get some conversions. But do you really know your customers and how they are engaging on your website?

Understanding your audience is the first step in learning how to better market to them and engage with what makes them ‘tick’. If you’ve got a website that’s converting then that’s half the battle won, as you’re obviously doing something right, but if you’re sat watching and waiting for the elusive sale or contact form completion, there may be a few things you can look at in the meantime.

Play With Google Analytics Features

Google Analytics has done a pretty nice job in providing us with some deeper analysis for website activity, much more than the raw interface we had 5+ years ago. Event tracking is one of the quick wins for understanding user website activity easily. Perhaps you have some file downloads or ajax elements which don’t generate a unique URL, in which case adding on_click event tracking can help to track what exactly people are clicking on. This will then appear in GA under Content/Events. Because rich media sites are becoming ever more popular (YouTube Videos for example), event tracking can benefit you when you want to see how people are engaging with videos embedded on your site and understanding at what point they play, pause or end the video – Here’s a great post to help you setup YouTube Video Tracking.

Not only that, but we can get ‘at a glance’ information on the site hotspots with the In-Page Analytics (formerly called Site Overlay) feature in GA and see real time reporting now which can help content analysis of your site if you have just added some new elements and need to track how it’s being received. Gone are the days of just using GA for seeing how many visits you get to the site – there’s far more important stuff going on.

Seeing Your Site In More Detail

A commonly overlooked feature is Site Search. It’s been around for years but when we get access to a new client’s analytics we often find there is no real evidence (other than bounce rate) of whether people have found what they are looking for or if they haven’t and gone elsewhere. Add Site Search to your initial campaign set up. It’s basically the digital equivalent of asking someone in a department store at the checkout if they have found everything they’re looking for before they leave. There could be a product that people are regularly searching for on your site which you know you should get in stock…and hey presto…there’s your user evidence right within Analytics.

Experiment With Other Tools

Don’t be afraid to use 3rd party tools either to monitor user engagement. A lot of them integrate nicely with Analytics and enable deeper analysis. Probably best to get someone to work on the analysis of such data full-time though, as investing in 3rd party software is only going to be worthwhile if you’re going to really drill down and use it to maximise your customers’ experience. Infinity Tracking is a good example, where they track phone calls and user engagement to keyword level on the site.

Take It To The Next Level

In the last few years there’s been quite the paradigm shift from people thinking they don’t need to pay too much attention to how users engage with a website to realising the importance of it and being able to do something about it. Conversions are the crux of it all – yes – but what about those visitors that came to the site and then disappeared? Wouldn’t you like to work out why they left? Through exploration of activity on the site you can then broaden your outreach and potentially look at remarketing with Google Adwords, to specifically target those users who have seen you but never converted.

Tracking website activity in greater detail now will give you an advantage over your competitors and potentially help you gain the valuable info you need to keep people on your site as opposed to someone else’s. With the average website visit lasting less than 1 minute, consumer time is most definitely of the essence but your site activity analysis needn’t be.

Gary Hartley

Gary Hartley is The Floating Frog. A seasoned freelance web designer with skills in UI/UX, CRO design, WordPress, branding, PSD-HTML conversions and more. Got a project you need to start or take to the next level? Please, get in touch!