5 Things You're Not Tracking in Google Analytics (That You Really Should Be)

5 Things You're Not Tracking in Google Analytics (That You Really Should Be)

Being part of the team at Australia’s 4th best place to work has many perks. One of which is the opportunity to attend educational events like Google Engage. This is an agency-only seminar that is regularly run by Google to showcase new and exisitng technology. I was able to tag along to the Engage event held in Sydney’s Cockle Bay on Monday 9th July.

I won’t bore you with the details of everything that went on on the day (the food was amazing), but suffice to say the presentation given by Corey Koberg (who you can follow here), really opened my eyes to what is actually possible with Google Analytics and I’m going to be sharing some of that stuff with you.

Fair warning, this is extremely advanced tracking and will probably involve your web developers to implement. But of course, measurement and tracking are essential, which I know you know or you wouldn’t be here reading this! 🙂

One of the key areas that you can leverage right now is to segment your visitors via the choices they make on your website. e.g. logging in, selecting a language, etc. By segmenting your visitors, you can see differences in behaviour. This is very helpful if you want to see what drives visitor actions.

For instance, it helps you answer questions such as: Do visitors add stuff to a shopping cart before logging in? Or do they do it after? You can track metrics like this because Analytics allows custom variables. You only get to track 5 at a time so use them wisely!

Now I’m going to run you through how to implement 5 things that will allow you to track and segment your visitors more effectively.

1. Tracking Leads through Analytics

In this scenario you have a lead generation website, where people can’t purchase anything but they can fill out a contact form of some kind. Once you’ve captured their enquiry (and hopefully redirected them to a dedicated thank you page), you can add the following piece of code to your Analytics.


This segments that visitor as being a lead, so you can see the way people who enquire interact with your website. Now you’ll be able see how long it takes for a lead to return to your website, which pages they are viewing, whether they signed up from a specific product page, etc.

2. Tracking Demographics

If you have a signup form where people select their demographics (e.g. gender, age, marital status), you can segment them according to that information as follows.

_gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',3,'marital status','n',1]);

By adding this code you can not only see the male/female distribution amongst your visitors, but their age and marital status as well. You can use this information to target specific age groups and genders with specific marketing messages and offers. If you see that the 25 year old males in your customer base only buy from your website once a year, then you should tailor some messages to make them more inclined to purchase more often.

3. Tracking Coupon Codes

If your e-commerce store is running a promotion with coupon codes, you can track the behaviour of the customers who redeem these codes.

_gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',1,'promotion user','yes',1]);

This can be extremely powerful if you use it well. It lets you know which users like to use coupons and you know the majority of the pages they visit and how long they usually stay on your website. You can even figure out whether they come directly from coupon websites, or if they only come when you send out special offer emails.

4. Tracking Customer Lifetime Value

You read that right – Analytics can now track your e-commerce store’s customer lifetime value! By implementing the following code, you can measure the total value of everything an individual logged in user has ever bought at your online store.

_gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',1,'Lifetime Value','1500',1]);

What this means is that every time a customer returns, you can see how they prefer to use your website. You’ll be able to see patterns such as whether the majority of your repeat customers go immediately to the deals page, which percentage of them are regular promo code users, etc.

5. Tracking From Right Now

If you already have this information about your visitors, you can start segmenting right now. Once a user logs into your website, put the relevant codes that I’ve outlined above on your “Thank you for logging in” page. These only need to be set once as Google Analytics tracks for 2 years since their last visit. So every time they visit, it’s another 2 years of data!

Your web developer or whomever is implementing this tracking must be aware that:

You need to place the the setCustomVar code BEFORE trackPageView

So your final code should look like

_gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',1,'Lifetime Value','1500',1]);

Start segmenting and you’ll gain an amazing insight into your visitors, letting you tailor your message so that you give them the best experience possible.

Well that’s all from me for now. My next blog post is going to be about how to track even more from Analytics, and it’s easy as copy and pasting!

E-Web Marketing
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E-Web Marketing

We’ve been in the digital marketing field for over 18 years and worked with hundreds of Australian (and international) businesses to grow their web presence. Specialising in SEO, search ads (PPC), social media, content marketing, email marketing and conversion rate optimisation.
E-Web Marketing
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E-Web Marketing

We’ve been in the digital marketing field for over 18 years and worked with hundreds of Australian (and international) businesses to grow their web presence. Specialising in SEO, search ads (PPC), social media, content marketing, email marketing and conversion rate optimisation.

  • Ian L
    Posted at 4:02 pm, July 16, 2012

    Thanks for the write up!

    Couple of comments:
    For scenario 1, what benefit do you see in using a custom variable here rather than just registering an event?

    For point 3, rather than just having yes / no as a value, it might be better to pass in the actual promo code itself dynamically, if possible, so that you can analyse the codes used in more detail (eg. codes from different sources may have different formats)

    • Posted at 9:50 pm, July 23, 2012

      Hi Ian

      Using a custom variable here gives a much better understanding of your own lead process. Rather than using ‘yes’ as I described above, you could use something more identifiable to you like a website, or contact name.

      After you contact this particular lead, you can see if they return to your website after you’ve made contact (how long did they wait after you contacted them to come back to the site, what pages they went to, how long they spent on certain pages). For example, if they went to a pricing page, then maybe you weren’t clear enough on the pricing during your call or email.

      As for point 3, Dynamic promotional codes is what I would be using as well. If you have a great number of promotions, then it’ll get very messy very quickly.

      Hope that answers your questions! 😀

  • Posted at 9:04 pm, August 15, 2012
  • Aysha
    Posted at 12:17 am, September 11, 2012


    I have added custom variables for my site but it does not reflect or I cant see it in my google analytics site account. How long does it take to appear in custom variable standard reporting in GA?

    I want to test if I added custom variables correctly or not and whether my custom variables are tracked properly for each customer.


    • Posted at 10:09 am, September 11, 2012

      Hi Aysha

      It usually takes 48 hours or so for Custom Variables and Event tracking to appear in your standard accounts. If it’s not showing up after 2 days it may not be set-up correctly

      I can diagnose your issues further if you wish, jsut send me a URL where your tracking your custom variables.

  • Posted at 10:12 am, September 12, 2012
  • My Marketing Hotline
    Posted at 5:26 pm, March 26, 2014

    I’m not sure where to put this code?

    I’ve got GAS setup and getting data.
    I’d like to add these but don’t know where to put them.

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