Many of our clients are Software as a Service providers and have both a website and an application site. We advise the two often be kept separate since you want the ease and flexibility of a content management system for your site, but don’t want to be restrained by version control, security and other issues with your application. However, that brings challenges when it comes to Google Analytics when you’re running two separate accounts – one on the brochure (www.yourdomain.com) and another on a subdomain (app.yourdomain.com). You may even have a helpdesk on another subdomain (support.yourdomain.com).
Your users will often go visit your home page and then click on the app login or support link… this is counted as a bounce and skews your analytics. For companies with a large user base, this can often drive more bounces than the actual visits to their site that they’re interested in. Of course, sharing a common Google Analytics account and enabling the subdomain can rid you of this issue. However, many companies don’t wish to mix up the analytics between their brochure site and their software as a service platform.
The answer may be quite simple – just track an event on the menu links that drive traffic over to those subdomains. A bounce is when a visitor reaches your site and has no interaction with it whatsoever. An event is actually an interaction. So if a visitor arrives at your site, then clicks a link that results in an event, they did not bounce.
Event tracking is easy to implement. Within the anchor text, you simply add the event you wish tracked.
<a href="http://support.yourdomain.com" onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Support', 'Click', 'Top Menu Support']);">Support</a>
If you’re on WordPress, there’s a great plugin for this – GA Nav Menus Tracking, that allows you to set event tracking up on your menu or you can click a box to make it a non-interaction at all.
The practice of using tracking numbers to measure the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns isn’t new, and many agencies that have mastered it have seen amazing results for their campaigns, their clients, and their own businesses.