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PDF download tracking in Google Analytics

Explorer ,
Dec 04, 2017

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Hi Folks,

I know this topic has been discussed before but all of the posts seem to be three or four years old and I'm hoping there is some up-to-date information. I've posted this problem on the Google Analytics forum and some people there have kindly answered including some Javascript code which seems to require including the Javascript Library in your site which I'm assuming you can't do in Muse.

I've created a new site for my organisation in Muse (http://www.sign.ac.uk/index.html). The code to track page hits is in the master page and seems to be working OK. The code to track PDF downloads is in the Page Properties section of the individual pages and this is where I have a problem.

We publish medical Guidelines for the NHS in Scotland. A typical page would contain a download for the PDF of the full guideline and also a download link for a PDF of a Quick Reference Guide, but when I look at Google Analytics stats, even though each PDFs have their own code with a unique label, the download figures for each are identical - we would expect them to show a variation with the Guideline having more downloads.

I've read through the GA event tracking documentation and can't see a solution, not being a coder I may be doing something really stupid and I'd be grateful for any advice.

I've copied in sample stats and code for the pages in question.

Best wishes

Stuart

Google analytics figures

Total Events and Unique Events by Event Label

Event Label

Total Events

Unique Events

QRG116.pdf

411

264

sign116.pdf

411

264

<script>

ga('send', {

  hitType: 'event',

  eventCategory: 'pdf',

  eventAction: 'onclick',

  eventLabel: 'QRG116.pdf'

});

ga('send', {

  hitType: 'event',

  eventCategory: 'pdf',

  eventAction: 'onclick',

  eventLabel: 'sign116.pdf'

});

</script>

One thing you could try and test is to use a separate page for the other PDF link with its own tracking code. It’s not a perfect solution but it would show visits to that page link. You should also be using the “open in new tab or window”. It gets a little tricky in GA to “track through or past“ JavaScript code...but it’s doable.

Its an overlooked feature and more user friendly. The only way a user can get back to the site is with the back button on the browser. They should never be able to leave the site and it’s navigation ..does that make sense?

Without looking I also think Google tag manager has some features that might allow more in-depth tracking. You are also using Webmaster tools too I hope.

John at J26 may have a solution...I think we are the only two SEO people here on Muse.

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PDF download tracking in Google Analytics

Explorer ,
Dec 04, 2017

Copy link to clipboard

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Hi Folks,

I know this topic has been discussed before but all of the posts seem to be three or four years old and I'm hoping there is some up-to-date information. I've posted this problem on the Google Analytics forum and some people there have kindly answered including some Javascript code which seems to require including the Javascript Library in your site which I'm assuming you can't do in Muse.

I've created a new site for my organisation in Muse (http://www.sign.ac.uk/index.html). The code to track page hits is in the master page and seems to be working OK. The code to track PDF downloads is in the Page Properties section of the individual pages and this is where I have a problem.

We publish medical Guidelines for the NHS in Scotland. A typical page would contain a download for the PDF of the full guideline and also a download link for a PDF of a Quick Reference Guide, but when I look at Google Analytics stats, even though each PDFs have their own code with a unique label, the download figures for each are identical - we would expect them to show a variation with the Guideline having more downloads.

I've read through the GA event tracking documentation and can't see a solution, not being a coder I may be doing something really stupid and I'd be grateful for any advice.

I've copied in sample stats and code for the pages in question.

Best wishes

Stuart

Google analytics figures

Total Events and Unique Events by Event Label

Event Label

Total Events

Unique Events

QRG116.pdf

411

264

sign116.pdf

411

264

<script>

ga('send', {

  hitType: 'event',

  eventCategory: 'pdf',

  eventAction: 'onclick',

  eventLabel: 'QRG116.pdf'

});

ga('send', {

  hitType: 'event',

  eventCategory: 'pdf',

  eventAction: 'onclick',

  eventLabel: 'sign116.pdf'

});

</script>

One thing you could try and test is to use a separate page for the other PDF link with its own tracking code. It’s not a perfect solution but it would show visits to that page link. You should also be using the “open in new tab or window”. It gets a little tricky in GA to “track through or past“ JavaScript code...but it’s doable.

Its an overlooked feature and more user friendly. The only way a user can get back to the site is with the back button on the browser. They should never be able to leave the site and it’s navigation ..does that make sense?

Without looking I also think Google tag manager has some features that might allow more in-depth tracking. You are also using Webmaster tools too I hope.

John at J26 may have a solution...I think we are the only two SEO people here on Muse.

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Dec 04, 2017 0
Enthusiast ,
Dec 04, 2017

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One thing you could try and test is to use a separate page for the other PDF link with its own tracking code. It’s not a perfect solution but it would show visits to that page link. You should also be using the “open in new tab or window”. It gets a little tricky in GA to “track through or past“ JavaScript code...but it’s doable.

Its an overlooked feature and more user friendly. The only way a user can get back to the site is with the back button on the browser. They should never be able to leave the site and it’s navigation ..does that make sense?

Without looking I also think Google tag manager has some features that might allow more in-depth tracking. You are also using Webmaster tools too I hope.

John at J26 may have a solution...I think we are the only two SEO people here on Muse.

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