Search Engine Marketing: Tracking Pages Without JavaScript by Using Web Beacons

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Often invisible to the visitor, web beacons can prove to be an easy way to tracks movement on a piece of content or a site …

Often invisible to the visitor, web beacons can prove to be an easy way to tracks movement on a piece of content or a site

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  • 1. September 17, 2012Beacons: Tracking pages without JavaScript Ignatius Hsu, Business Analyst – NavigationArts ihsu@navigationarts.com, @ignatiushsu
  • 2. Beacons • What are they • Scenarios • Tracking communications channels • How to use one today in Google • Classic Async • Universal Analytics • Challenges • http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/3 9/17/20132 More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/3
  • 3. 3 More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 4. 4 • An image embedded in content such as emails and Web pages • Often invisible to the visitor, a 1x1 pixel gif (though sometimes visible as display ad) • Image is served from a third party • Tracks movement on a piece of content or a site • Also used in sites designed for feature phones • Sometimes visitors are tracked across sites using third party cookies Embedded Beacons More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 5. 5 Embedded Beacon - Email More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 6. 6 Embedded Beacon - Email More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 7. 7 • Web analytics packages use JavaScript to capture visit data, sends to server. • The transmission of data to the server is known as an “endpoint”. Many packages use a gif as their endpoint, not unlike a beacon. • gif - Google Async, Adobe SiteCatalyst • URL - Google Universal Analytics • Tracks movements within a site through first party cookies (third party cookies are now rare) JavaScript Beacons More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 8. 8 Beacons & Analytics Embed Embed Dynamic JS Channel Emails, Web Pages Web Pages Beacon Embedded image on page Endpoint is dynamically rendered on page, captures visit data Data storage Third party server captures and stores referral data Transmits visit data through endpoint to a third party server Cookies Often uses cookies (3rd party) Uses cookies (1st party) Use Cases Ad Networks, Email Marketing, Content on forums/external sites, other uses? Owners of Websites More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 9. 9 Analytics Tracking Methods Content Presentation Layer + Client Browser JavaScript No JavaScript Control over Code E.g. my website. Web Analytics (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, etc.) E.g. native iOS app. Server side scripts, Mobile SDK Frameworks (Google Analytics for Mobile Websites - php…, Flurry iPhone/Android SDK, etc.) No Control over Code E.g. social media. Use analytics provided by service or third party, if any. (Facebook, Twitter, Hootsuite, Radian6, etc.) Can I insert an external image? If yes, consider using a beacon. E.g. email messages, forums, some publishing platforms. Use analytics provided by service (MailChimp Analytics360) Can I insert an external image? If yes, use a beacon. More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 10. 10 Multi-Channel Tracking (e-mail/site) More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/3 Current 9/17/2013
  • 11. 11 Classic Universal Analytics Measurement Protocol Multi-Channel Tracking (e-mail/site) More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 12. 12 Classic GA Beacon Fully Static Beacon (see bit.ly Google Spreadsheet): <img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif?&utmwv=1&utmn={{random- number}}&utmhn=my.site.com&utmp=/filter-param/content.html&utmac=UA- XXXXXXX-Y ||&utmr=-&utmcc={{long-cookie-string}}" /> • Pageview model. • All pageviews tracked are tied to one unique visitor. • No cookies stored. Pre-rolled Appspot Beacon (see bit.ly AppSpot for the developer’s post): <img src="http://nojsstats.appspot.com/UA-XXXXXXX-Y/my.site.com/filter- param/content.html" /> • Pageview model. • Each pageview creates a unique visitor. • 1 pageview / unique session. • Third party cookie stored. More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 13. Classic GA Beacon 13 1. Fill in these values (or copy example values where applicable). Cookie value is a bit of a hack. 2. Copy this Paste it wherever you need it More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 14. 14 GA Universal Beacon Universal Analytics, Measurement Protocol: • <img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&tid=UA-XXXXXX- Y&cid=9988776655&t=event&ec=email&ea=open&el=9988776655&cs=weekly- promo&cm=email&cn=date-9-15-2013&cm1=1&cd1=9988776655" /> • Channel agnostic, track by event, pageview, app or social. • Mix and match. • Flexible. • Tracks hits to visits. • No cookie stored. More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 15. Universal Analytics Measurement Protocol 15 4. Copy this 5. Paste it wherever you need it 1. For CID, insert email or CRM customer ID, if possible 2. Complete fields for pageview or event or campaign. More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 16. Universal Analytics Measurement Protocol 16 More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 17. Universal Measurement Protocol (optional enhancements) 17 • See bit.ly (below) for LunaMetrics resources on enhancements covered in this section • Custom Metric 1 (cm1) – “Email Opens” –used in custom reports • Scope: user • Make active • Custom Dimension 1 (cd1) – “Visitor ID” – allows stitching of client ID b/w email + site • Formatting Type: Integer • Min: 0, Max: 1 • Make active More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 18. Universal Measurement Protocol (optional enhancements) 18 In your page source, add this code within the GA script, after “ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXX- Y', „my.site.com');” ga(function(tracker) { var hash = location.hash; var mcId = hash.match('mc_eid=(.*)'); var cid = tracker.get('clientId'); if(mcID){ var vid = mcId[1]; ga('set', 'dimension1', vid); } }); Where mc_eid is the link parameter added by your email marketing suite for unique customer ID. There may be other parametrs your email suite autotags. Keep email link campaign codes consistent: ?utm_campaign=date-9-15-2013&utm_medium=email&utm_source=weekly- promo&mc_eid=9988776655 More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 19. Universal Measurement Protocol Report 19 More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 20. Caution on Beacons Classic • Both versions have drawbacks (which is why we only use them when other options aren‟t available). • If pageviews are not tied to a unique visit, consider creating a new profile to track these interactions, and filtering these out of your main profile(s) so as to not affect visit metrics (bounce, pageviews/visit, time on site, etc). Universal • Pageviews are tied to visits. Events still count towards visit data, so like Classic, create a new account and set up filters. • Track external pages and emails as events. Less messy, at least until User ID arrives (Universal is still in beta). Where possible, connect a Client ID to a user, and stitch data between channels (e.g. email and website). • In Universal Analytics, Client ID <> User ID. • Client ID is supposed to be an anonymous ID, and is not a unique identifier. • User ID is a customer ID. • People speculate that User ID can be defined/switched by us in a future release. 20 More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 21. 21 Speculating on the Future Some vendors are already stitching cookie data in sophisticated ways. This diagram is a concept of how multi-channel tacking might be done through cookies and a flexible analytics package. The devil is in the details. What are the privacy implications, and how would customers opt-out? Multi-Channel Tracking More Reading: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/39/17/2013
  • 22. 22 More Resources: http://bitly.com/bundles/ignatiushsu/3