A How To Guide: Measuring Calls-To-Action with Google Analytics

If you use calls-to-action (CTAs) on your website, chances are that you already understand the importance of measuring your conversions. But have you ever bothered to test the actions that presuppose those conversions?

Tracking Calls to Action

A compelling call-to-action is an integral part of any conversion, but many businesses overlook their CTAs, focusing instead on total conversion numbers. That’s a big mistake — and one that can cost you money.

Do your visitors want to “Buy Now”, or “Sign-Up Here”? Is a home page banner promoting your sale more effective than a text link in the sidebar? You can use event tracking in Google Analytics to help answer these kinds of questions.

It’s a fairly simple 2-step process, but it can make a big difference to your conversion numbers.

1. Set up Event Tracking On Your CTAs

Let’s use an example, Staples.com, to illustrate how to set up event tracking. In the screenshot below, we can see that Staples has two links on the home page for their exciting “Back to School” offers:

We want to track the effectiveness of the sidebar against the ad in the middle of the screen, so we set up event tracking.

There’s a guide to setting up event tracking from Google’s developer support forum here, but in summary, event tracking revolves around the addition of the following snippet of code to the page elements you want to track:

_trackEvent(category, action, opt_label, opt_value, opt_noninteraction)

You have the ability to define a few important pieces that will make your tracking make sense back in Google Analytics: Category, Action, Label & Value.

  • Category — This bit defines the group of events you would like to track. For our example, we’d want to call this “BacktoSchool” to denote the Back to School sale.
  • Action — Actions are paired with event categories and are used to define the type of action the user will take when they interact with the object. For our example, we’d call this “FrontPage”, as the calls to action are on the front page.
  • Label — A label is an optional field that allows you to define individual events within a category to keep them separate from each other. We would call the large banner ad “Bannerad” and the sidebar link “Sidebar”.
  • Value — if desired, you can add a value to each event. In this case, we will omit the value.

Our final snippet for the banner ad looks like this:

onclick=”_gaq.push ([‘_trackEvent’, ‘BacktoSchool’, ‘FrontPage’, ‘BannerMiddle’]);”

If that’s all Greek to you, don’t worry — a capable web developer will be able to implement on your behalf. With the snippets in place, you’ll be able to track every time someone clicks on one ad or the other.

To find the report within Google Analytics, you’ll want to go to the “Events — Overview” section of the “Content” area:

Within the events page, you’ll be able to sort by category, action, or label.

You’re now able to see which of your calls-to-action is performing more strongly and dive into a bit of data surrounding those clicks and conversions.

Of course, we can get a little bit more granular with this data by tracking the impact on an individual goal, like a sale or transaction.

2. Set up a Goal

To set up a goal, click the “Admin” tab in Google analytics and locate the “Goals” field (usually on the far left near the middle).

Next, add a goal, giving it a name you can easily recognize. Be sure to specify the goal as an “Event”.

Lastly, enter the proper category, action and label information to the fields to track your goal.

With this goal tracking set up, you’ll be able to track the different types of referral sources completing the link, create goal funnels to visualize where your visitors are dropping off and get other event-specific information you wouldn’t be able to from just an event set up.

Valuable Insights

With your event tracking set up, you’ll get data surrounding your more popular call-to-actions and how they are converting. When you apply this to your calls to action, you can quickly see which ones are most effective and which ones are lagging behind. Over time, you can use this information to test new approaches, layouts and more to drive more sales and capture more conversions.

Have you ever tested your calls-to-action, or tweaked them to see success? Let us know in the comments!

Originally published at blog.teknicks.com.