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Everyone involved in a business with an online presence wants to know how much return they are getting from their efforts, however large or small. Unfortunately, not everybody has methods in place to accurately track and attribute their return.

This is the first in a series of posts that will take you through the best ways to track a variety of leads that you may be targeting.

In this post I'll show you how to track on-page leads. The other part(s) will cover leads that involve off page activity, including social interactions and phone call leads, all within Google Analytics.

Through my work at a digital marketing agency I have come across numerous clients who rely on estimations or a gut feeling based on how many times the phone rings each day to judge the success of marketing.

This may have been the common method in the days of traditional advertising where marketing was less measurable, but in the online world it is much easier to track everything - including offline campaigns, which is why I wanted to write this post. 

Setting up lead tracking is something that can be done in a number of ways depending on your business, site and lead type, so there should be something for everyone here.

The only area I'm skipping over is e-commerce tracking, as this is generally not a lead but a direct conversion and would take us off on a whole new tangent of analysis not for this post.

What is a lead for your business?

Before we can track anything, we need to know what will be valuable to track. What constitutes a lead for your company? There are many different actions that could lead to a sale.

Here are the examples I'm going to cover, which include low value to high value, small interaction to involved processes. I've noted which part of this series you'll find the information in:

Leads to track on a websitePart one (this post):

  • Contact forms
  • Emails
  • Call back requests
  • Appointment booking
  • Newsletter sign ups
  • Subscriptions
  • Downloads
  • User registration
  • Views of specific pages
  • Live chat

Future posts:

  • Social interaction
  • Phone calls

As you can see, there are quite a lot of things you could be tracking. Within a company you will know how much resource or budget you give to marketing each type of lead, so now you'll want to find out how much you get out of each one, whether they give you a positive return and which might be more or less profitable than you think they are.

I'm going to break these conversions in to several sections as a number of them can be tracked in the same way. So here's how to do it, starting from the most simple and working up to the complex leads.

Tracking simple online conversions with a confirmation page

This method can work for the following:

  • Contact forms
  • Call back requests
  • Appointment booking
  • Newsletter sign ups
  • Subscriptions
  • Downloads
  • User registration
  • Views of specific pages
  • Live chat 

Anything on your website that has a dedicated URL can be tracked very easily. All you need to do is set up a goal in Analytics with the confirmation page as the URL Destination.

These goals should be set up for all pages that count as leads and given a value depending on what the average return per lead is (this can be adjusted once you have collected more data).

For those mentioned above, and several other lead types, if you do not have a dedicated page you can still track these with relative ease.

Tracking on page conversions without a confirmation page

If you don't have a page to track for these actions you can either use Event Tracking or Virtual Pageviews. Simply set these up as Goals with values to see the statistics behind the interactions. 

I would recommend using Event tracking for anything that you don't want to be included in your content report, as Pageviews create a URL for your content report without that URL being a live page.

Event Tracking can work for the following:

  • Call back requests
  • Newsletter sign ups
  • Subscriptions
  • Downloads
  • User registration
  • Emails

To set up Event Tracking to trigger on a click you need one line of code within the code of the final click:

onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Category', 'Action', 'Label', 'Value']);"

So a click on a link to submit a form would look something like:

<a href="#" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Contact', 'Call Back Request', 'Request Submitted', '20']);">Submit</a>

And a click to open a mailto link so a user can email you might look like:

<a href="mailto:anna.lewis@koozai.com" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Contact', 'Email Link', 'Email Anna Lewis', '5']);">Email Anna</a>

Virtual Pageviews work well with:

  • Contact forms
  • Appointment booking
  • Live chat 
  • Downloads

If your live chat links to another website, or your booking system doesn't go through a series of URLs, you can create a virtual URL and set this to generate a pageview every time the action is completed.

This can then be set as a goal and a value given to measure the return of these leads.

The code for a pageview is:

_gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/your/url']);

To generate this virtually when a user clicks, the code should be adapted and inserted in to the button like so:

<a href="https://livechatlink.com" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/contact/livechat/']);">Chat Now</a>

Analysing data from on site conversions

To view the data from these conversions you need to have set up goals in Analytics for them. Once you've done this, you can think about what you want to find out.

Do you want to know which traffic sources led to which goals? Or how much value you've gained from brand keywords compared to non-brand? 

To analyse your performance I would recommend starting off with the Traffic Sources area of Analytics. Here you can view 'All Traffic Sources' and then show Source or Medium to compare different channels.

By clicking through the tabs above the data you can see what percentage of visitors completed each goal:

Google Analytics goals by traffic source

Conversions measured through Event tracking can also be set as goals and analysed as above, but only using the new version of Analytics (v5).

If you are still using the old interface you can see this information under Content, Event Tracking. Here you can break down the data based on the labels you've set and any dimension you might want to see the data against:

Google Analytics Event tracking

The trouble with this data is that it doesn't show you anything unless you have something to compare it to or a value to associate with it.

I would recommend using Advanced Segments to explore the results between different segments; for example, comparing PPC to organic traffic, or mobiles to desktops.

Once you get started with Advanced Segments there's no limit to the amount of insightful statistics you can pull together, but that's for another post.

Overview of On Site Lead Tracking

Once you have mastered the implementation of Event Tracking, Virtual Pageviews and setting up goals, you open up a whole scope of tracking capabilities.

These customisations are something I recommend everyone familiarise themselves with if they are interested in conversions on a website. Even if you can't remember the code off the top of your head just knowing what to use for which situations will enable you to track actions like these effectively. 

The next step will be to start tracking leads that involve off page actions. This is the topic of my next post and will include tracking social interactions and phone calls.

Anna Lewis

Published 17 August, 2011 by Anna Lewis

Anna Lewis is a Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai and a contributor to Econsultancy. Follow Anna on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

6 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

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Ben Lang

Hi Anna, Great article. A further method that I employ for tracking via Google Analytics and Google Optimizer when conducting AB testing etc is to introduce a redirector page between the landing page and the conversion page. This is because quite often the coversion page sits on another domain which makes it hard to track in the same Google account and customer journey. By adding a redirector page with the normal Google tracking code in it the user selects your call to action that passes them through this redirector before being sent on to the final 'application form', 'call me back form' etc and thus logs a page hit in Google Analytics and thus giving you the usual visitor metrics. In Google Optimizer the redirector page is tagged with the conversion page code for that test. Anyway, as I say, great article, Ben

over 4 years ago

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RH

Wow what an article, thank you for taking the time to break it all down. A must read article for anyone who is involved in ecommerce.

over 4 years ago

Anna Lewis

Anna Lewis, Google Analytics Analyst at Koozai

Thanks for your feedback.

Ben, thanks for adding your method, it is a useful one for the occasions when you can't add your UA number to the code on the third party domain. Increasingly shopping cart providers that handle the final steps of a transaction on their site are allowing you to add your code to these pages, so that you can then get Ecommerce data or set up a goal. But as always, there are so many types of conversions that it's good to have this redirection method available. As this comes under the topic of off site leads I'll include more about this in the next post.

over 4 years ago

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Ricardo Molina

Anna, thanks a lot for sharing and taking the time to dissect the whole process.
This blog is very useful for any marketeer specially within the SME's.

over 4 years ago

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Ricardo Molina

Anna,
Just another thought. Does this approach work as well when you have Java Script forms on page?
We had some challenges in getting the JS forms and downloaded documents captured with analytics.

over 4 years ago

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Matt Chandler

Most of my clients are interested in phone tracking, which of course GA on its own can't do, so we use some other 3rd party software to achieve that. The clients find it invaluable, as we're able to measure things like "cost per phone call", etc.

over 4 years ago

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Innes

We have just taken on and hired a new seo candidate. We were without an seo person for a while but to monitor his work and also the website as it goes on through time, we have done our fair share of goal setting to we can get an idea whether a.) he can deliver on his promise and b.) whether he is good value for money in the work he does at the fee he charges per month.

This is I suppose the good thing about seo as the results will sit and speak for themselves in black and white!

over 4 years ago

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Piper Fitzgerald, Marketing specialist at CalHor S.L.

In my opinion the best way of tracking leads is using Google Analytics combined with the Live Chat analytics. I recently linked my Live chat software, Visitlead, with Google Analytics and it´s great. All relevant events from the live chat software are automatically forwarded to Google Analytics so it's easy to detect correlations and dependencies and use them accordingly, leaving no space for blind spots. https://visitlead.com/plugins/analytics-google/

about 1 year ago

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