Are you wondering how your prospective customers are behaving? Stop guessing, stop wondering, and start tracking! Google Analytics can provide some very interesting behavioral clues to prospect behaviors on your site if you’re willing to do a bit of coding to make it do more than just out of the box analytics. Here are four power tips you can use to develop new insights about your future customers.

Caveat: be sure you’ve set a goal and goal value in your analytics first, otherwise tracking behaviors is largely meaningless. People have to accomplish some sort of business objective in order for the following tips to be of true use. Also, be sure you understand the basics of event tracking with this guide from Google.

Is your site too fat? In the Javascript event handlers, there’s a Window.resize event. You can tie Google Analytics events into this with a simple script that tells Google Analytics someone had to change the size of their browser window manually to see all of your site. If this is any significant percentage of your traffic, you may need to rethink your site’s design. Here’s an example of the code.

window.onresize = function() {
_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘behavior’, ‘resize’]);

What ads are working best? Set up a simple onClick event that carefully denotes what ads you have on page and where, so that you can dig in and figure out which variations are working best. For example, if you have a sliding main panel in your WordPress theme with images, make sure each image that’s clickable is tracked, then look in your analytics data for which image is getting the most clicks, and which image is driving the most conversions to your goals.

onClick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘slider’, ‘click’, ‘panel5’]);”

Example of a report:

Event Tracking Labels - Google Analytics

Learn where your forms die. Tie your form fields to your analytics with the onFocus event, and you’ll track how many people click on each field. If you notice that there’s a significant difference in the number of clicks into each field, you’ll know which form fields (such as date of birth or social security number) are causing people to abandon your form. You can then decide whether or not you really need that data – if the business cost of losing the data outweighs the business cost of losing the form completion.

onFocus=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘form’, ‘fieldfocus’, ‘ssn’]);”

The Cold Feet Indicator. How many people bail out before hitting submit? Tie an onMouseover event for your submit button to Google Analytics event tracking and you’ll know how many people hovered over the button and then how many people finished the form. If you have a multipage form, you’ll know exactly when people are abandoning; for a single-page form, you’ll know how many people are getting cold feet and putting their mouse on the submit button but not actually hitting it.

onMouseover=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘form’, ‘submitbutton’, ‘submitmouseover’]);”

For the more technical, any Javascript event handler can be tied to a Google Analytics event call, so you can develop ridiculously advanced forms of tracking that can give you insights into the behaviors you care about on site, from measuring how far into a video someone watches to seeing how long they hover the mouse near the top 10 pixels of the page. You’re limited to 500 event tracking calls per session, so don’t go too overboard, but definitely look at stepping up what you keep track of.

What power tips do you have to share?

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