by Doug

09/10/2009

Internet Marketing

Implementing Google Analytics On A One Page Website

Webexpectations.com (our sister agency) recently launched a new website promoting better oral health. As part of the website rollout, Webexpectations.com deployed an advanced Google Analytics install to monitor the success of the website. We needed the answer to one question:

How do you monitor the success of a one page site with Google Analytics?

Part One: Tagging the Webpage

As an informational and awareness site, it is incredibly important to report on metrics such as:

  • Time on site – do people actually spend the time to read the content on the website?
  • Bounce rate – do people leave the website instantly after landing?
  • User engagement – how many people choose to act upon the content?

By default, Google Analytics will not report accurately on the above metrics on a single page website. Google Analytics does report accurately on multi page sites. This is due to the way GIF requests are classified and used within the product.

To monitor time on site, bounce rate and user engagement Google Analytics requires more than one interaction hit. As an example, to work out time on site you need a start and a finish timestamp. If you visit a one page website – there is only a start point and not a finish point. As a result, metrics such as bounce rate will always report as 100% and time on site will always report as 0h 0m 0s.

The solution was to implement custom JavaScript to work with Google Analytics to serve an interaction hit every 15 seconds. Google Analytics would then be able to report accurately on bounce rate and time on site as there would always be more than one interaction hit providing the visitor stayed on the page for 15 seconds. If the website visitor closes the site before 15 seconds, this would be classified as a bounce. On a technical level, our development team deployed the following JavaScript function:
function trackTime()

{

theTime = theTime + 15;

if (theTime > 150)

{

clearInterval(timeTracking);

}

else

{

pageTracker._trackPageview(‘/_timing/’ + theTime + ‘/’);

}

}

theTime = 0;

timeTracking = setInterval(“trackTime()”,15000); // Every 15 seconds
On the “read more” calls to action, Webexpectations.com configured virtual page views to work out when a specific link was clicked on. Not only would this fix bounce rate and time on site issues, but would help to report on the success and conversion rate of the website.

Part Two: Dashboard Configuration

Once the page tagging was completed, the advanced Google Analytics install required dashboard configuration. This was to include custom filters, goals and profiles.

Filters

  • Domain Filter: Only include traffic to the required domain. Exclude development and rogue sites from infecting analytics data.
  • IP Filter: Exclude IP addresses of agencies and office workers who may influence or create bias statistics.
  • No timings: Exclude the 15 second interaction hits from being tracked, simulating a “default/standard” view of Google Analytics.

Profiles

  • A raw profile. It is always best practise to collect, raw unfiltered, unaltered website data. This can always be accessed later for manual analysis.
  • A profile to exclude the automated timings and interaction hits. This will effectively function as a standard GA install which does not report user engagement accurately on a one page website.
  • A profile to include all interaction hits which will serve as the main reporting tool for the website. This will report accurately on bounce rate and time on site.

Goals

  • The following goals and conversions were applied to the above profiles to aid in understanding the efficiency of the website.
  • A user clicks the NHS Choices website link.
  • A website visitor clicks the BDHF website link.

Part Three: Interpreting Report Data

Once website data was collected, we saw what was two very distinct and separate profiles and sets of reporting data. The advanced Google Analytics deployment will monitor the success and conversion rate of the website accurately whereas by default, Google Analytics would have shown very different and misleading metrics. It was only with Webexpectations.com advanced Google Analytics install that a one page website truly becomes understandable within website analytics.

Want to learn more about the way Google Analytics works and functions?  Consider our specialist Google Analytics Consultancy services.

Comments

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *