Inspiration

Choosing the Best Heatmap Tool for Mouse Tracking

If you’re a regular visitor on this site, you might have noticed that I’ve been running a poll to ask visitors about their preferred heatmapping tool for mouse and click tracking. Now, a heatmap tool is a great companion for Google Analytics. Because, while Google Analytics often tell us where something goes wrong, it doesn’t really tell us the actual problem.

This is when a heatmap tool offers some more qualitative data. If analyzed thoroughly, you’re able to determine if you have problems with your site. Those problems often relate to page layout. Maybe you’re using distracting images, too much text or call to actions without proper visibility.

There is a tonne of different heatmap tools on the market. Some of them are dedicated solutions; they simply do heatmaps of mouse movements and clicks and taps and nothing else. And other tools come with a bundle of different analysis features such as form tracking, polls and even survey modules. So which should you choose? Well, instead of doing a full comparison and loads of free trials, just checkout the rest of this post. Continue reading

Inspiration

Chrome Extensions for Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager

Implementation and auditing of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager is essential when working with web analytics. After all, what good are reporting and analytics if you can’t trust your data? Usually, when setting up GTM and Analytics on a website, you’ll find yourself checking source code for the correct dataLayer or using real-time reports to see if data comes in. But Chrome Extensions for Google Analytics and Tag Manager makes it much easier.

The thing is, the whole implementation and debugging part is a cumbersome process. So is it possible to optimize that process? Well, yes – say hello to Chrome Extensions. Chrome Extensions are small plugins for the Google Chrome browser. And some of them are specifically for debugging the setup of Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. So in this post, I’ll introduce you to my list of the most essential and, IMHO, the best extensions for Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Continue reading

Data Collection, Inspiration

Event Tracking for Mouseover/Hover on Element for X Seconds

A client of mine recently asked me to track ‘mouse interaction’ with an iframe that they embed on several pages. By ‘mouse interaction’, the client basically meant that they would like to track whenever users hovered their mouse cursor over the iframe for a certain amount of time. I’ve previously posted that you can track any mouse or keyboard interactions with Google Analytics. As long as they occur within the browser.

Luckily, there’s a widely supported browser event called ‘mouseover‘. The mouseover event fires when a user moves the mouse cursor over a specified element – for instance, an iframe. But it can be used on any visible HTML element on the page. So, by combining this event with a timer, it’s possible to push a dataLayer event to Google Tag Manager. And then use that event to send an event hit Google Analytics.

In the end, we’ll end up tracking Google Analytics events whenever a user hovers his or hers mouse over our specified element. Continue reading

Inspiration

4 important skills of great web analysts

The data analysts and web analysts of today are not just required to do reporting and relay data in simple charts and tables. True web analysis is about answering business critical questions and come up with intelligent answers. It’s about delivering real value based on insights derived from data. And it has a lot to do with recommending specific actions or to qualify discussions and planning in marketing and sales. I’ve thought about the most important skills of great web analysts for some time. I’m not done thinking, but this post contains some of what I’ve come up with so far.

Compared to web analysts 10 years ago, it’s now an entirely different skill set that’s required. The days where a web analyst was just the person who could navigate the reports in Google Analytics are gone. But what makes a great web analytics today? Well, a lot of different skills do – but in my mind, these are some of the general requirements:

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Inspiration

R with Google Analytics Edition | Reading List

So lately, I’ve been learning to use R with Google Analytics using R Studio. I’m just a couple of weeks in, but so far it has proven just amazing. By combining R with the Google Analytics Core Reporting API, it’s possible to do analysis, calculations and statistics much faster and deeper than using the Google Analytics interface or even add-ons to import Google Analytics data into Excel. Since R is script based, all analyses are automatically documented – and they’re easily reusable. Throw in the built-in plot functions (or the ggplot2 package) to build a wide range of visual representations of data, and you got an extremely powerful data analysis tool. However, what I’ve found is that – compared to Google Analytics – it’s more difficult to find good information, tips and learning material online. So I thought I’d share some of the articles I have come across. Continue reading

Data Collection, Inspiration

Track Anything in Google Analytics with Event Listeners

There is one thing I hear a lot when I’m giving talks about Google Analytics: “I didn’t know Google Analytics could track that!”. Put another way, I just as often get a question like “Could you make Google Analytics track [insert anything here]?”. The short answer is always, “Yes, you can track that in Google Analytics”. Basically, you can track anything that goes on inside a browser. If it happens within a browser (a mouse click, a keyboard key click, a mouse movement, scrolling) you can track it. This means that we can make Analytics listen for and track anything that happens in the browser as long as it’s triggered by the user. Luckily, there’s a nifty thing called event listeners help us.

The thing is, that browsers have a lot of built-in DOM events. Events that are tied to the (HTML) document. And with javascript, it’s possible to listen for those events and trigger a self-defined function based on those events. And since Google Analytics hits (e.g. pageviews and events) are sent to Google Analytics using javascript functions, we can send information to Google Analytics based on any DOM event. In this post, I’ll take you through some interesting use cases for various DOM events. Continue reading