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Creating a better experience by tracking microinteractions

Many website owners start their analytics journey with Google Analytics, tracking users coming and going. However what about the interactions Google Analytics can’t track by default? Event tracking can be setup in Google Analytics to track those microinteractions the user makes on your site, letting you know how effective user conversions are or even the general usability of site functionality.

By passing data about your visitor behavior through Google Analytics, you can obtain both a high level overview and more granular insights into how users interact with your site. Using this data, you can make decisions to boost engagement and conversion.

Start with why

Before diving in, it’s good to answer a few fundamental questions. Why are you wanting to set up tracking? What information are you trying to track? While you can track many interactions, you may end up drowning in data, getting no meaningful insights, and running in circles. Knowing what information you need to know will allow you to pinpoint very specific actions to focus on.

Event Tracking

Basic event tracking can record simple actions such as carousel/image gallery usage, call to actions or download links. These usually can’t be tracked in a standard Google Analytics installation or can be very hard to get meaningful data from. With event tracking you can view additional information about the interaction. For example having multiple call to actions on the same page, and knowing exactly which ones were clicked, will give you a great insight into what’s working and what’s not.

The real power of event tracking is being able to extract more information from an interaction than just a simple click action. For example being able to see information on when a video is played, paused or stopped, as well as duration the video was watched. Capturing the information that 95% of your visitors only watched your video for less than 5 secs before stopping is valuable, and helpful in understanding how your users are interacting with your content.

Getting into more advanced Google Analytics allows for more in-depth user interaction tracking and ongoing usability instead of focusing on one off interactions. Tracking form abandonment and your internal search are two of the most important parts of your site to keep an eye on. Both are usually the most common areas for pain points as the user is either struggling to find the content they need, or is finalising a call to action (whether it’s a contact form or sign up process). On a long singular interaction, such as a long form, whenever the user successfully fills in a field you can fire back a successful event with the field information, this way over time you will be able to visualise the fields where you are losing the most users.

Similarly with internal search, tracking the exact word/phrases users are searching and user interaction provides useful insights. Specifically focus on finding out if your internal search results page is effective, whether users are finding what they need in the first couple of results (or having to scroll down the page to find what the need), and whether they need to go to page 2-3 of the search results to find the right record.

The good news is that these can be setup quickly and easily – enhancing your Google Analytics account to give insights on your users without impacting existing functionality.