You Ask, I Answer: PDF Pageviews and Goals in Google Analytics?

Joe asks, “One thing I feel would round it out would be (As a new GTM with GA user) to see how the results surface in Google Analytics. For example, which section (under Goals, Behavior, other)?”

This is a followup question to the previous episode on setting up virtual pageviews for PDFs in Google Analytics. The places it will show up depend on which of the techniques you’ve used – PDFs as a goal, and/or PDFs as a pageview. Watch the video for a short walkthrough.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Joe asks, thanks for the video.

One thing I feel around it out would be as a new Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics user to see how the results surface of tracking PDFs as page using Google Analytics, for example, example which section and goals behavior other where would you see these show up.

So this is a follow up to the previous episodes on setting up PDF tracking as page views, virtual page views and Google Analytics, or setting up PDFs as goals in Google Analytics.

So to refresh let’s go ahead and switch this over here.

Just as a quick refresher, in the previous episodes, one of the things we did was we set up a PDF goal, someone downloads a PDF that we are tracking that as a goal in Google Analytics using Google Tag Manager.

So tag manager would be the method for tracking and then we would see it show up as a goal in Google Analytics.

And the second thing was using Tag Manager to fire a page every time someone clicks on a PDF as though it would be loaded as a page on our website.

So with that way with the show up, well, the goals is pretty straightforward.

When you go to conversions here, go to goals.

We can look at our Oops, wrong button there.

We can look at our goals overview.

And you can see, for example, there are download PDF, right.

There’s two goals completions there.

Someone has downloaded a PDF twice in this last week.

That’s a goal that to me is something I wanted somebody to do.

And because PDFs typically on my site are ones that are like speaking kit to hire me as a public speaker.

So that’s a good thing and that it allows you to track things like multi channel funnels, attribution and all that stuff to figure out based on that goal, what channels are held drive those conversions.

So as a quick example here, let’s select None.

And then just like PDFs here.

And where did those conversions come from? It came from one from referral, one from direct.

So I know that something referred someone to my website, and I was able to see a goal completion.

If we switch to source medium, we might be able to get more detail about Heidi Cohen’s website.

So thank you, Heidi.

So that’s an example of where to find the PDF as a goal.

Now, if you want to see it as a page view, and you’ll see the individual PDF itself, you go to a site content, recalling that this requires PDFs setup as page views.

When we go to site content, we go to all pages here.

And the easiest way to figure this out is to just type in dot PDF in the search bar there.

And when you do that, you can see what are up that’s a that’s getting everything but there’s the there’s the the two gold completions in this case.

It was a speaking kit, my most current speaking kit, so two goal completions there for two pages.

I mean, for that particular PDFs, I can see that what is the one that came in for me? Let’s wonder if this is working on regular expression.

Yep, so the search bar uses the regular expression syntax if you just want see just the files themselves, and that will backslash before the dot PDF, and you’ll now see just those files.

So that’s, in a nutshell how you find those two things.

And remember that is contingent upon having both system setup if you only use the pageviews version, you’re obviously only going to see the page use PDFs, you won’t see any goal setup, so you need to set up both.

As a reminder that looks like this.

We have a tag for the PDF page view right there and then download PDF as a goal.

Both can use the same tracking mechanism.

But they have, they do different things, you need to set them up individually, they’re not something that you just do once, and you get both benefits, you have to set up both benefits individually.

Remember also, that those techniques can be used for any other file type that is not HTML.

So it could be an mp4 video, an mp3 audio, like a podcast link to a podcast link, for example.

All those things would be really good things to do.

So if you’ve got links to files of any kind on your website, make sure that you have this tracking setup.

If you want to see at least some of what Google thinks you have on your website for those terms.

Here’s a real simple way to do it.

Type in file type, colon PDF, and site colon and your domain name.

And this will tell you what Google thinks.

You have four PDFs on your website.

Now, you may or may not want some of these, you may have to go back and do And cleaning on your website.

But these will also if there’s links in the HTML, Google trackies is paid us now if somebody were to click straight into this file from the search result here, you would not get the page you because Google Analytics has not had the chance to fire on HTML page, our system only tracks those PDFs that have links on our site, not direct links in so you will not see that there is a technical hack for working around that.

But it is way too complicated.

And probably is not going to help a whole lot.

But just keep that in mind.

There is a way if it’s absolutely mission critical.

There’s a way to essentially mask PDFs and fire, you know, measurement pixels and all that stuff.

But most people most of the time, they’re not going to just make sure the links are are linked up properly on your site.

And when somebody clicks on that link, you’ll get the page view.

So good question job.

Now if you have follow up questions, leave them in the comments box below of course, subscribe to the YouTube channel.

On the newsletter, I’ll talk to you soon take care what helps solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems.

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