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Gary Hainsworth

Data driven decisions with Google Tag Manager

14th Nov 2019 Analytics 4 minutes to read

User experience changes can be some of the most contentious decisions when designing and developing a website. There are often a lot of people involved and everyone wants to be heard! Developers, designers, sales representatives, SEOs – everyone has their “ideal”, but this rarely works out into one unified design.

Do you stick with what everyone else is doing? Try a radical redesign which might end up confusing users? Make every aspect a push to conversion?

These all have their pros and cons, but surely, it’s best to use what you have, gather data and make an informed decision. This is where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes in to make sure that you know how users interact with your site.

You don’t have to install external scripts to track the basics, just make sure that you get your Tag Manager setup right the first time so you can look back on these historic metrics and see how user interactions change. Once it is fed into your analytical software you can segment and analyse as much as you want.

Just be mindful that you are using it in a beneficial way…

Tracking link clicks has been a staple for years, but don’t just track your clicks that result in conversions and monetary values – clicks which don’t provide profit can give great insight.

What tracking can be set up:

External links

Why do people leave your site? Are they finding out more information and coming back, or leaving never to return?

This can be combined with your referral traffic reports to see what traffic comes back. You can also easily check for high levels of traffic leaving your site for various reasons, such as a popular blog post which may not be giving you conversions.

Phone numbers

Tracking phone numbers accurately can be a nightmare and often needs extra services to tie everything together in terms of conversions and paid clicks. Setting up phone number tracking in GTM isn’t a full solution, but it can give you comparison data to check the accuracy and find any discrepancies.

You could have missed some phone number links; you may have wrongly attributed calls or even clicks where the user hung up before connection resulting in a bad mobile experience. All of these can be located and help hone your UX and data integrity.

Accordion Clicks & Hidden Content

Content areas which expand when clicked but don’t move to different pages aren’t going anywhere, but how do you know if users read this information? This also applies to menus which expand and collapse.

Simple events can be set up to see when users expand or collapse these items, and you can even collect the header text. Combined with URLs and channel segments, you can get actionable data to see what people actually read on your site.

Filters/sorting

Sometimes this is tracked by creating new URLs, but if your filters and sorting methods apply without a new URL, then how do you know what is being used?

Capturing the clicks on these buttons and dropdowns give you a good indication of how people use the site. This can help you assign different featured products/listings and make the routes to these popular sections easier.

Social links

Similar to regular external link tracking, but worthy of its own section when social links are pushed across your site. If all external links are tracked, then you can group the social ones together by their domain and create new useful segments for future analysis.

Non-link clicks

This is one of the more interesting points in terms of user experience. Rather than setting up A/B testing and trying various iterations with no data to back it up, how about you track clicks on the elements of the page which users click but aren’t interactions?

This could be clicking on an image and expecting it to go through to a link, clicking on phone numbers which aren’t set up as call links and various other reasons. There will be some misclicks, but if you track a sudden spike in clicks on a certain element, it can be safe to assume that users expect something to happen!

This may require some development work compared to other points mentioned, but once it is set up and future development work follows these guidelines, it will provide data on-site interactions for as long as you need.

Scroll Tracking

Similarly, to the accordion clicks, it’s fine to report on hits to a page, but if people don’t get past the header image should it count as a read?

Setting up scroll tracking can be done on a percentage or pixel basis. Percentage based results are good for pages in general, but pixel-based scroll tracking can be more useful for longer reads and more text-heavy pages.

Videos

Embedding YouTube videos is the perfect way to solidify your branding on your site, but the question is – does anybody watch them?

There are built in tags to track when videos play, pause, complete and which can track how far through a video a user gets. All of this can help you discern whether your videos are reaching the desired audience if they need messaging altered and more.

What Next?

All of this can be daunting, but if you spend some time setting everything up you can start collecting the data today. After a few weeks or months, you can then start analysing and make real decisions based on data rather than best practice or opinion.

If you need help getting to grips with your data tracking and your digital marketing campaigns, get in touch with a member of the Koozai team, and we’ll put all of this into practice on your behalf.

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Gary Hainsworth

Senior SEO Executive

If you're after someone to chat guitars with, Gary's your man. When he isn't playing guitar, or bass, he's trying his hand at modifying them. He's even made one from scratch once. He relates strongly with the humble and kind hedgehog, who also happen to be as prickly as his musical taste; anything loud, fast and angry.

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