No Code Required: Auto-Event Tracking with Google Tag Manager

We’re excited to announce that Google Tag Manager has publicly launched Auto-Event Tracking, which lets you measure events happening on the page without writing HTML or Javascript. Those of you measuring events in Tag Manager today will already have minds racing with the possibilities - skip ahead to the screenshot. Everyone else, read on.

As sites become more dynamic and want to understand users’ site experiences in more detail, business owners need to know more: how long are visitors staying on a particular page? How are they interacting with interactive elements like image carousels? How many are clicking the Contact Me button? How many are clicking outbound links? Increasingly, site analytics are incomplete without answers to questions like these.

Unfortunately, until now, answering these questions required adding custom Javascript code to your website to tell Google Analytics when the event occurred. Google Tag Manager users also needed to modify the HTML of each page where they wanted to track an event. That means every time you want to track something new, or change the way you track something, you need to modify site code directly (or, in some cases, ask another colleague to do it for you.) And slower deployment of measurement campaigns directly impacts your ROI.

With Google Tag Manager’s launch of Auto-Event Tracking, we’re excited to announce a solution that provides the power of event tracking without needing to write code. By using the new Event Listener tag, you can tell Tag Manager when you want to listen for events, and then write detailed rules for what to do when an event happens. See an example of listening for form submits here:

Once you have your event listener set up, you can have tags fire based on form submits using a rule that looks for the event gtm.formSubmit. (Of course, Tag Manager supports more than form submits: it also includes clicks and timer events.) You can also make sure you’re getting the right form by using our Auto-Event Variable macros that let you narrow things down with attributes like the element ID and the form target.

The end result: you can deploy event tracking to your site and send event tracking data to Google Analytics without adding any code to your site. You can deploy measurement campaigns faster, and not writing custom code makes your solutions more robust.

Of course, it’s easiest to see the whole picture by walking through a full example. Check out the following resources for more:
We’re looking forward to getting your feedback - let us know what you think!

Posted by Lukas Bergstrom, Google Tag Manager PM

Browsing, Sharing and Importing Analytics Insights Now Just A Click Away

Earlier this year, we announced the Google Analytics Solution Gallery with a collection of custom reports, segments and dashboards selected by our team to help new users get started. Today we are excited to open the platform to the public and allow any of our millions of users across the globe to share their favorite insights via the revamped Google Analytics Solutions Gallery

In addition to opening the platform for public submissions, we have also worked to integrate the browse, import and share functionality directly into your account via “Share” and “Import” buttons. So whether you are using your favorite dashboard to get a quick view of your site performance or working to set up a new segment, sharing and importing via the Solutions Gallery is just a click away. 

The gallery currently enables you to browse, share and import Segments, Custom Reports, Dashboards and Bundles of up to 20 perma-linkable templates. More information on how to do so is available in our help center

In the future, we look forward to enabling the seamless sharing and importation of everything from filters to attribution models, to custom channel groupings so keep an eye out for developments in this space and let us know what you think are the most important things to share in the comments!

Posted by Joshua Knox, Google Analytics team

Is the web getting faster?

At Google, we are passionate about speed and making the web faster. A faster web is better for both users and businesses - faster pages lead to better user experience and improved conversions.

The Site Speed reports in Google Analytics give every website owner detailed data on the speed of their web pages, as experienced by real users.

Last year, we published a study on the speed of websites around the world based on one week of aggregated Site Speed data from opted-in web publishers.

Over the last year, we have seen significant improvements in the core infrastructure that powers the Internet: the web browsers have gotten faster; there have been quite a few LTE/4G deployments making mobile networks a lot faster; and processing power on mobile devices continues to increase at a rapid pace.

To determine whether these improvements in technology are making the web faster, we present recent Site Speed data and compare it with the data from last year.

Here are the results.

While access from desktop is only a bit faster, it is still impressive given that the size of the web pages have increased by over 56% during this period. It’s great to see access from mobile is around 30% faster compared to last year. This is evident from the histograms below as well. For desktop, there is not a significant change in the bucket distributions, but for mobile we see a shift from slower buckets (i.e. higher page load time) to faster buckets.

Taking a look at change in the speed of web pages for a few specific countries, for most of them, there is a slight improvement in page load times on the desktop.

However, there is a significant improvement in page load times on mobile.

The following interactive world map compares the relative improvement in median page load times for desktop over the last year.

This map shows the same data for mobile (Countries without enough data for accurate measurement either this year or last year are shown as having 0% improvement). Speed improvements are greater for mobile in most of the world.

If you are a web site owner, you can analyze and speed up your web site using the PageSpeed products, and check the resulting improvements in Site Speed reports.

Verify Your Measurement Setup With Tag Assistant

Google Analytics is, at its core, a simple and powerful tool. But once you start to customize the code to take advantage of all the flexibility available you may find yourself needing some help troubleshooting a nagging issue. 

A new Chrome Extension created by engineers here at Google hopes to make troubleshooting tag installs much easier. Tag Assistant aims to highlight errors, warnings, and provide useful suggestions for Google's most widely adopted tags including Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Adwords Conversion Tracking, the new Remarketing Tag, Trusted Stores and Floodlight. 

After installing the extension, Tag Assistant will alert you if tags are found on any page you are currently browsing. For each tag we will tell you if it appears to be working or if we notice any problems with your implementation. Tag Assistant will even make recommendations on how to improve your installation if we notice any optimizations. For example, if you have 2 or more tags implemented separately we might suggest that you migrate to use Google Tag Manager instead. 

How does it work? Tag Assistant looks for errors in two different ways. First, we check the source code to look for common errors like forgetting to include a closing </script> tag. We also review the HTTP headers to ensure that we are getting expected responses. 

Since launching in October of 2012 we have collected a lot of your feedback and have added dozens of new checks. Over the course of the year we will be adding more checks that will make the Tag Assistant more accurate and helpful. 

We encourage you to try it out for yourself by installing it via the Chrome Web Store. If you have feedback on new checks to add or if you have questions about the tool, join our Google+ community where our team and users can help you out.

Posted by Geoff Pitchford, Google Tag Assistant PM

5 Ways To Ensure Google Analytics Is Running Perfectly

The following is a guest post contributed by Daniel Waisberg, Owner of Conversion Journey, a Google Analytics Certified Partner, and Founder of Online Behavior, a Marketing Measurement and Optimization portal.

Abraham Lincoln once said: "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my axe." The same is true for measurement: it is of extreme importance to spend the necessary time thinking through which data should be collected and whether the collection works as planned (once implemented). Very often, the implementation model and quality assurance do not receive the proper attention.

I recently wrote a short eBook named Google Analytics Implementation Best Practices that covers some of the most important configurations you should setup. But in this post I will go through some techniques that will help you to make sure your Google Analytics implementation is working as you expect.

1. Create a "Raw Data" profile

The best way to check configuration errors is to have a profile that does not use any filters, this way you will be able to quickly learn if you have a misplaced or problematic filter. Here is a quick guide explaining how to create profiles.
Once you create this profile, I do recommend you create the same goals you have in your main profile, this will make the data more relevant in case you need to use it. For example, if you find out that your main profile have a filter that affected your past data, you might want to use the Raw Data profile for a while. To copy and paste a goal between profiles you can use the Chrome extension GA Copy and Paste.

2. Use Real Time Reports

In October 2012 Real Time reports started supporting profile filters. This means that "the data you see in real time is profile specific and obeys the filtering you set up for that profile. And this means any user with access to a profile can view the associated real time reports." This enables many interesting analysis opportunities like seeing real traffic for only small pre-defined segments.

In order to use Real Time to check your Google Analytics implementation, you should first create a new profile (see link above). Then, add a filter that includes the IP address of your company; learn how to do it in this help article, but make sure to change the filter from "exclude" to "include". Now you will be able to look at the Real Time reports of this profile and see what you are doing in real time, which makes code checks much easier and faster.

3. Keep Track Of Configuration Changes

One of the common configuration problems is a lack of communication, especially for large companies. From a few people to a few dozen people will have Admin access to Google Analytics, which means they can change the settings of any profile. This can lead to unwanted or misunderstood changes in the account.
By "changes" I mean goal refinements, filter improvements, new features, and so forth. Every change may impact data in several ways, and for this reason it is essential to have a system in place to keep track of code and profile changes. In order to facilitate/centralize the collection and sharing of the changes made to a Google Analytics account, I propose two different methods: using a Google Docs form & taking advantage of the Annotations feature. Please note that each company should find the optimal mix between these methods.
Using a Google Docs Form
The big advantage of Google Docs is that it can be shared with as many people as needed and everyone has access to the most updated version of the document. I recommend creating a Google Form (learn how) that will output its data into a spreadsheet. The form should be created so that all interested parties can be aware of all changes. These will then be aggregated for historical knowledge that can be used by the whole team (and future teams members). See one sample form that can be used by Analytics teams in this article.
Google Analytics Annotations
This feature allows website managers, marketers and developers to provide context directly from inside the graphs on the interface, allowing for richer analyses. Here are some important occasions when you should use this feature:
  • Offline marketing campaigns (e.g. radio, TV, billboards.)
  • Major changes to the website (e.g. design, structure, content.)
  • Changes to tracking (e.g. changing the tracking code, adding events.)
  • Changes to goals or filters.
While annotations can (and should) be used for technical changes in the website, it is important to keep them at a high level. You shouldn't add detailed information about your changes or annotate relatively minor changes; otherwise the annotations will become too crowded to convey meaningful information to readers.

4. Know What Your Site Sends To Google Analytics

The Google Analytics team built a Chrome extension that is intended to help you debug your implementation. Here is what you will be able to do using the extension and a screenshot of how you will see the data:
This extension loads the debug version of the Google Analytics Javascript for all sites you browse using Google Chrome. It prints useful information to the Javascript console. These messages include error messages and warnings which can tell you when your analytics tracking code is set up incorrectly. In addition, it provides a detailed breakdown of each tracking beacon sent to Google Analytics.

Important tip: this extension can also be used for competitive analysis. If you use it while browsing your competitors' websites you will learn how they are tracking their customers.

5. [E-commerce sites] Compare Google Analytics to Database

The most important feature on Google Analytics for Ecommerce websites is the Ecommerce Tracking. It allows the marketer and website owner to understand what and who is driving online sales. But it is essential that the numbers on Google Analytics approximately match the database of the company, otherwise they won't be trusted.
In order to make sure the numbers match, ask from your Database administrator to retrieve the daily Ecommerce revenue for a month, and extract the same information from Google Analytics. Plot the numbers on your preferred spreadsheet tool and check if the numbers and the trends match. If they do not match, here is a quick list of things to check:
  • When 2 or more of the same item are purchased, does Google Analytics trigger _addItem more than once? (it should)
  • How does Google Analytics record transactions that use promotional coupons and how the database reports it?
  • Be careful with apostrophes! If you use apostrophes in your product names you should be careful not to pass them to Google Analytics on the _addItem, they can break your code.
Closing Thoughts
As we saw above, there are several tools that can help you understand why the data you are getting might not be what you expected. But if you still can't find a solution to your issue, try asking a question at the User Forum. I also highly recommend you read this code website article: Troubleshooting the Tracking Code.
Happy analyzing!
Posted by Daniel Waisberg 

Building A Centralized Digital Marketing Platform With Google Analytics

The following is a guest post contributed by Google Analytics Certified Partner Daniel Waisberg.

Think about your business as a train. It has a locomotive and several wagons, each with its own function and importance (e.g., a restaurant wagon, a restroom wagon, and a luggage wagon). Now, let's say Google Analytics is the locomotive of the train, it is used to drive the business forward in a data-driven way. Together with it we find several important wagons: AdWords, AdSense, Webmaster Tools and others. How would you like those wagons to be tightly integrated?

This is the idea behind Google Analytics Integrations, an eBook that describes the official integrations available on Google Analytics. Currently it is possible to integrate the data from several Google tools into Google Analytics such as AdWords, AdSense, Webmaster Tools and YouTube. This enables marketers and analysts to import a wealth of information into Google Analytics, presenting a broad picture of their digital marketing efforts. 

In the eBook you will find a step-by-step guide to linking those tools as well as an explanation of what you can do with the resulting data. Let's suppose you are a new advertiser using both Google Analytics and AdWords, but the accounts are currently not linked. While you can use AdWords reports to analyze effectiveness of your campaigns, by linking the accounts you will be able to understand the bigger picture of website behavior in comparison to your AdWords campaigns. This information can help improving campaign performance by shedding light on which campaigns are failing as a result of suboptimal targeting, poorly designed landing pages, or poor ads; and which campaigns are succeeding. 

For example, let's look at the "Day Parts" report on Google Analytics (if your accounts are already linked here is a direct link to the report). 

The Day Parts report is for exploring hour-of-day and day-of-week dimensions. This report is useful for gaining insights into optimizing ad scheduling in campaign settings within AdWords.  

Click image for full-size

In the figure above, we see that this advertiser sees its traffic peak between 5 and-8 P.M. When adding a secondary dimension of per visit value, however, we see that the per visit value of visitors is highest during the morning hours of 6-9A.M: 

Click image for full-size
If this was your report, the practical next step you would take would be to adjust the ad scheduling settings in your campaigns to drive more traffic to the site during those morning hours, as that traffic is more valuable. Here is how to do it:
  1. Navigate to a specific campaign in the AdWords interface.
  2. Choose the Campaign Settings tab.
  3. Under Advanced Settings, click the plus (+) box next to Schedule: Start Date, End Date, Ad Scheduling.
  4. Next to Ad Scheduling, choose Edit.
  5. Change mode from Basic to Bid Adjustment.
  6. Under Time Period (next to day of week), click to reveal an overlay.
  7. Adjust the bid settings (by a percent multiplier to increase or decrease bids). There is a button to copy to other days to speed up making these changes.
  8. Click OK and then save.
If you are interesting only in the AdWords integration, check the Google Analytics For PPC eBook, which includes only information about integrating and analyzing AdWords using Google Analytics. This eBook had an important contribution from Yehoshua Coren

Daniel Waisberg is author of Google Analytics Integrations and Founder of Online Behavior, a Marketing Measurement and Optimization portal.

Tracking Adjusted Bounce Rate In Google Analytics

Have you ever wondered how many visitors really pay attention to your website before exiting the page? Have you wondered how many of those “bounced” visitors will remember where they’ve been in future? How many of them are totally useless, how many are not?

There is a way to track this!

Bounce rate” in Google Analytics is one of the key metrics that helps to evaluate the quality of your traffic. “Bounce” happens when the visitor exited the website right from the landing page, without going to any other page. This is a great indication on how relevant the content was for the user and how engaged they were with your website.

While working perfect for most websites, there are categories of sites where this metric is not enough. 

Imagine you’re promoting a blog post that describes all the benefits of your company. The visitor might read the whole post and remember your company and products really well - they might even go to search for your product on one of the search engines straight away. However, since the visitor only looked at 1 page (exactly where the blog post is) they will be recorded as bounced visitor.

Another example if you have a description of the product right on the landing page, and your phone number on the same page. The visitor might study the description and call straight away - again, they will be recorded as a bounced visitor, as only 1 page was viewed. There are many more examples, and even traditional websites may benefit from the method described below as opposed to the standard bounce rate.

There is a solution to this - something that we call “Adjusted bounce rate”. You implement a small tweak to your Google Analytics code, which executes an event when a user has spent over a certain amount of time on the webpage. Depending on the website, the time can range from 10 seconds to few minutes - you should decide for yourself the amount of time you consider the user to be sufficiently engaged with your website or product.

Once the event is executed, the visitor is no longer counted as “bounce,” even though no additional pageview is recorded. This will mean your bounce rate will show users who have not spent a required “minimal time” on your website - the ones who have really bounced. Here is a modification to the Google Analytics code that you need to make (on the example of the latest, asynchronous code):

<script type="text/javascript">

  var _gaq = _gaq || [];
  _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXXXX-1']);
  setTimeout("_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', '15_seconds', 'read'])",15000);

  (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '';
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);


The setTimeout function is the one that does the trick here, and you can set it up to whatever delay you wish (in this case, it is 15 seconds).

Moreover, since the event is created once 15 seconds lapse, you can define this event as a goal in Google Analytics, and even import this goal as a conversion to AdWords, provided the conditions are met.

We hope this small fix will allow you to track and understand the users’ behavior and quality of the traffic coming to your website more accurately, and make more informed decisions. One thing website owners should be vary of, though, that not only the function may slow down the users' experience, even insignificantly, but will also increase the volume of hits your site sends to Google Analytics, which might bring your usage over the limit (currently set at 10 mln hits per month). As such, this fix should only be applied when necessary and justified by the concept of the website and the landing pages.

Posted by Alexey Petrov, Google Analytics Insights Team

Google Analytics Enhancements for Mobile Apps

November was a busy time in Google Analytics. In particular, the Mobile App Tracking Team has a few things to announce.

  • EasyTracking Library - automatic session management, better integration with Google Analytics SDK
  • Updated Google Analytics SDK - More reliable method for sending hits, Android Market referral issue fixed, available via the Android SDK manager
  • More samples - new open source application aimed to help reduce the ramp up time for new developers who want to track their apps

EasyTracker Library
We’ve created EasyTracker libraries for both iOS and Android.  The EasyTracker library will enable tracking of your application down to the Activity (or UIViewController for iOS) level with almost no coding required on your part.  See the ReadMe file and source code for details. These Libraries are intended for use with the standard Google Analytics SDKs and should make it very easy to add standard tracking to your applications.

Another advantage to using the EasyTracker library is session management.  As many developers know, it’s not always easy to determine whether your application is active and when to start a new session.  The EasyTracker library handles this for you.  It will determine when your application has been put into the background and will start a new session automatically.

The Android version of the Library not only provides for easy tracking, but also ensures that all calls to GoogleAnalyticsTracker are done off the main UI Thread.  Using this library should address responsiveness issues some Android developers have seen using the Google Analytics SDK.

We’ve adapted the Android Notepad sample application to use the EasyTracker library, just to show you how easy it can be.

You can find the libraries and sample applications at  Check the downloads section for the libraries.  The source for the libraries is available in subversion as well.  Drill down into trunk/src/tracking/mobile/android/EasyTracker for Android and trunk/src/tracking/mobile/ios/EasyTracker for iOS.  The Notepad sample application is there as well.  We’ve released them as open source and contributions to making them better are welcome.

Check the ReadMe files in the libraries themselves for more information on how to use them.

New Versions of Google Analytics SDK for Android and iOS
We’ve released version 1.4 for iOS and version 1.4.2 for Android.  The iOS version of the SDK has one new feature.  Both versions contain several bug fixes as well.  Read on for details.

We’ve added a new method, dispatchSynchronously, that blocks while it dispatches hits.  It won’t return until the hits sent have either been acknowledged by the Google Analytics servers or the specified timeout period has elapsed.  This provides a more reliable method for sending hits before your application terminates or goes into the background.

We’ve also addressed several memory leaks and crashes reported against the SDK.

More details on the new version of the SDK can be found at

The Android SDK will now handle referrals from the Android Market properly.  This applies to autotagging as well.

We’ve fixed several other bugs in the Android SDK.  Check out the details at

Google Analytics SDK now available via the Android SDK Manager
We’ve added the Google Analytics SDK to the Android SDK Manager.  You can download the latest versions using the Android SDK Manager instead of checking the website for updates.

Of course, this only applies to the Android version of the SDK.

We’ve released an open source application for both iOS and Android that exercises all the APIs for Google Analytics that are available to Mobile Application developers.  You can find them at trunk/src/tracking/mobile.

New Home for the Mobile Tracking Documentation
The Mobile Tracking documentation has moved.  It now resides with the rest of the Google Analytics tracking documentation.  Check it out at

Reporting Problems and Feature Requests
We really value your feedback. If you are having problems with the SDKs, let us know by posting them on the Google Analytics issues website at  Use the component MobileTracking when entering an issue or looking through the list for issues already reported against the Mobile App SDKs.

Please stay tuned for more exciting news regarding Mobile Application Tracking with Google Analytics.

Jim Cotugno, Mobile Application Tracking Rockstar

Introducing the Google Analytics Core Reporting API

Today we are announcing the new Google Analytics Core Reporting API as a replacement for the Data Export API. This is the second phase in a larger project we started a couple months back to upgrade our APIs to new infrastructure.

The Core Reporting API has two versions.

Version 3.0 is a brand new API, with a 10x reduction in output size and support for many new client libraries, like PHP, Ruby, Python, JavaScript and Java. All new features will only be added to this version.

Version 2.4 is backward compatible with the legacy Data Export Version 2.3.

If you are building a new application or maintaining an existing one, we highly recommend migrating to version 3.0.

One of the biggest changes in switching to the Core Reporting API is that you now need to register your applications via the Google APIs Console and use a project ID to access the API.

With this change, we are also announcing the deprecation of the Data Export API version 2.3. This API will continue to work for 6 months, after which all v2.3 XML requests will return a v2.4 response. Also, we plan to terminate the Data Export API Account Feed. All configuration data should be retrieved through the Google Analytics Management API.

See our Data Export API changelog for all the details of the change and read our developer documentation for more details about each API.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out in our Data Export API Google group.

Jeetendra Soneja and Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics API Team

Optimize Engagement using AddThis and ShareThis with Analytics

Increasingly users are discovering great content, products and links through social referrals such as +1 button endorsements, comments, likes, and shares. Earlier this year we introduced Social Plugin Analytics to help you analyze how users engage with any social plugin installed on your site - after all, what can be measured can also be improved and optimized!

MilkADeal started using Google Analytics earlier this year. It is a company in Malaysia that has benefited greatly from using Social Plugin Analytics. By using these new reports, they are able to uncover insights and create significant business process improvements. As reported in the New Straits Times, "In particular, the newly introduced social interaction tracking tool...We've been using it only in the last couple of weeks but we have seen an increase of almost 60% in social interaction visitors to our site," said Wilson Quah, founder of MilkADeal."

By optimizing the instrumentation of a few buttons on their site, MilkADeal is able to achieve better engagement, a big boost in number of high quality referrals, and better outcomes! Today, we are happy to announce that our partners, AddThis and ShareThis, are making this social plugin analysis even easier. Just as the +1 button is automatically instrumented for you by the Google+ team, publishers using AddThis and ShareThis will now have first class integrations with Social Plugin Analytics!

“Providing real-time analytics to 10 million domains each month, we see what big data can do every day. Integrating AddThis social signals into Google Analytics is a big win for publishers. We’re excited to contribute social sharing insight where it can be viewed in context of the GA interface.”

Will Meyer, VP of Publisher Products, Clearspring

“At ShareThis, we work to provide our publisher network of one million+ websites with actionable analytics on their social activity. It's great to see Google paving the way for the entire industry to derive meaningful insights from the social Web and we're incredibly pleased to be a launch partner."

Kurt Abrahamson, CEO, ShareThis

To enable the integration for all of your AddThis buttons, you are now just one line of code away, and ShareThis users don’t have to do a thing. If you have Google Analytics installed, and you are using a ShareThis widget, simply login into Google Analytics and check out your new social reports!