You Ask, I Answer: Tracking Non-Web Content in Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager

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You Ask, I Answer: Tracking Non-Web Content in Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager

Stephanie asks, “How should marketers measure the performance of content that is not web pages?”

This is a very straightforward task that requires you to do two things: first, establish what kind of measure it will be (pageview, goal, etc.) and then create the infrastructure in Google Tag Manager. The best, preferred, and most scalable method is to use Tag Manager. If you’re not, then you’re making much more work for yourself.

You Ask, I Answer: Tracking Non-Web Content in Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager

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In today’s episode, Stephanie asks, How should marketers measure the performance of content that is not web pages. This is a very straightforward tasks that requires you to do two things. First, you have to establish what kind of measure you’re going to apply. So anytime you’re measuring non web page interactions you can do, you can create it as a virtual page view, you can create it as an event, you can create it as a goal. Chances are, if it’s non web content on your website, you probably want it to be a goal. For example, downloading a PDF, someone’s downloading a PDF of like a cell sheet on your website, that’s probably not a bad thing to have as a goal. The second thing you have to do is create the infrastructure that supports whatever measure you choose, using Google Tag Manager, the best, preferred and most scalable way to try

Any non HTML web content online is to use Tag Manager. If you’re not, you’re just going to create a tremendous amount of extra work for yourself. And it will not scale because they’ll have random JavaScript tags scattered all over your websites just a bad situation. Don’t do it use Tag Manager. So let’s look at how to do this. One of the things I’ve been to get around to doing is actually putting an mp3 tracker on the trust insights website because we have a podcast and we have mp3 is on the web page. I would like to know if people are clicking on them and listing them. I can see the mp3 downloads in the podcast hosting service we use but you know, it’s nice to have everything in one place. So let’s take a look at how to do this. Let’s flip over to tag manager.

Alright, so in Tag Manager, remember that there are three things that you need is a variable which you should have set up at the beginning of your process that contains your Google Analytics it that way, you don’t have to keep typing it over and over again. There are triggers which

When somebody, when someone does something, it tells Tag Manager, hey, somebody just did this thing. And tag manager says, got it, I’m going to trigger an event I’m going to, I want to launch some kind of task. And then there’s the tag, which is what Tag Manager is going to tell something else to do. So in this case, the trigger is going to be a click on an mp3 file. And then the tag is going to be to transmit to Google Analytics, hey, a goal has happened. So let’s first go into Google Analytics and set up that goal because we want this to be a podcast listen. Alright, so we’re going to go into our admin, we’re going to choose our goals. And we’re going to create a new goal.

We’re going to call this mp3 click, keep it super simple.

And this is going to be an event because remember, it’s not HTML content. So we need to have something that tells Google Analytics Hey, this is this is relevant but not not trackable by the normal methods. So this is going to be the

category of mp3 and it’s a click. So let’s make that quick. Do you want to assign a value to in this case, I don’t know that we want to assign a value to the podcast just yet. So we’re going to go ahead and just save it as is mp3 is the category, click is the label. Let’s go back now into Tag Manager and then Tag Manager we’re now going to set up that trigger let’s go ahead and set up the trigger call this mp3 Click trigger.

This is going to be a click on a type of link and some kind of links and the click URL which is what we’re working with contains dot mp3

and you may want to

switch that to matches or actually no let’s do it contains because otherwise the dots gonna fall things up. So dot mp3 is our file extension. This has any link that contains a dot mp3. We want to count as a click now.

You have.

mp3 is from all sorts of places all over the web that are not yours linked on your website for some reason, maybe a link to somebody else’s podcast or something, you might want to add an additional layer that contains the domain or the show name or something on this. On this thing, same is true for PDFs. If you’re linking to external PDFs, and you want to track yours, you’re going to need to add another layer of filtering that specifies what exactly you want to track. In this case, I’m okay with any mp3, because we don’t have that many except our own on the trust insights website being tracked. So let’s go ahead and save that. And now we’re going to set up our tag. Let’s go ahead and create a new tag here. mp3,

click tech. Again, keep your naming conventions simple. Keep your naming conventions obvious so that at a glance you know exactly what’s going on Google Analytics This is going to be an event because that’s what we set up. The category is mp3. Every action is click


And now, we’re going to set up our Google Analytics ID.

We’re going to tie it to our mp3 click, trigger.

So now we’ve tied things together, we’ve got the trigger that listens for the click, and then tells Google Analytics do this thing. We’ll save that.

And now we publish our changes.

So that’s it. That’s the process. From now on, anything that any type of mp3 click that happens, we’ll be able to track in our Google Analytics and be able to measure and understand what’s going on. And that will be we’ve classified it essentially as a conversion here now it doesn’t have $1 value on it. So if you’re doing things like advanced attribution analysis, having the dollar value of zero means that if you’re doing attribution analysis on the value of your goal,

It will not interfere with that. Because if you don’t know what the value is of a goal,

you don’t want to put in a fake value. If you’ve got other real values in place, right? You don’t want fake money interfering with the real money. But you do want to measure the impact of different pages or different channels on the overall completion of goals did, are there certain sources of the certain mediums are there certain pages on your website that get people to do anything that involves being more engaged with you. So really important stuff. Again, you can do this for any external source, or any non web content. So mp3 PDFs. If you have Word documents on your phone, your website, you really shouldn’t. But if you happen to have them there,

you would want to track something like that downloads, zip files, archives, anything that’s non web content, that this is the method you use. Also, this is the method that you will use if you are tracking things that you don’t have control over. So I’m

My personal website, I track clicks to my Amazon purchases or to my Amazon listings like my books, because I don’t have control over Amazon. But I can measure how much traffic I send to it directly. And I can measure how many sales I make through the Kindle Direct portal for authors, and at least get it inferred value of like, what is the value of traffic that I sent Amazon. So these are different ways you can track things that you don’t have control over or that are not standard content within Google Analytics is a very powerful tool is very, very powerful. You just have to gain experience in configuring it so that it does exactly what you want it to do. As always, if you have comments, leave them the comments below. And subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter. I’ll talk to you soon. want help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems. Visit trust today and let us know how we can help you

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One response to “You Ask, I Answer: Tracking Non-Web Content in Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager”

  1. […] question is a followup from the April 25, 2019 episode. It’s quite simple to track any individual file download as a goal in Google Analytics by […]

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