Going Beyond the Basics: B2B Web Analytics

Going Beyond the Basics: B2B Web Analytics
July 18, 2017 Jeff Winter

By now, most every manufacturer’s and distributor’s website has some form of web analytics installed, usually the free (and great) Google Analytics. Web analytics are a crucial component to any B2B measurement strategy, providing data on how customers (or even employees) are leveraging the digital presences you’ve stood up, from marketing landing pages, to catalogs, to full-blown eCommerce experiences.

Out-of-the-box, Google Analytics provides you with an overwhelming amount of data and reports. Acquisition data on how your visitors arrived at your site, and from where they came is one part of the puzzle, and behavioral metrics on what they clicked on and how long they stayed is another. But Google Analytics was built to be somewhat universal, to provide website owners of all types rich and detailed information, not just B2B companies such as manufacturers and distributors. So what else can we add, customize, or tweak to make Google Analytics even more valuable to us? Here’s a small sampling of ideas, all of which can be implemented via JavaScript snippets, or better yet, through the use of the robust Google Tag Manager solution.

Custom Events

In Google Analytics terminology, Custom Events are actions users on your site take that you’ve captured, either via JavaScript or Google Tag Manager, defined, and sent to Google Analytics to track. These can be viewed in the same context as most other data points in Google Analytics (by source/medium, geolocation, etc.). Each custom event can have a category, action, and label attached to them.

404/500 Error Page

  • Fire a custom event to capture when a user comes across a 404 (Not Found) or 500 (Server Error) page on your site, to monitor how often, where, and when your visitors are encountering them.

No Site Search Results

  • Capture a custom event on your “sorry, no results found” page if a user searches for and finds no results. The list of these search queries that return no results are helpful for future site search tuning and merchandising initiatives.

File Downloads

  • Capture and track which PDFs, technical drawings, or spreadsheets your visitors are downloading from your site. Since the B2B customer can be of many personas other than just a buyer, you may be interested to see how many people are looking for installation, MSDS, or warranty information.

Form Submissions

  • Whether you have a contact us form, email newsletter sign-up, or other form, capturing the submissions can give you an idea of how effective they are at generating leads, building email lists, or whatever your objective may be.

Other Self-Service Events

  • The B2B world is ripe with online self-service actions you may want to track. Interested in how often customers are downloading their invoices, using the “quick order pad”, or any other time-saving feature? Use a custom event to track them!

Custom Dimensions

In Google Analytics, every data point is shown with a dimension and a metric. Dimensions, such as “Page Title” or “Country” are ways to slice data, or metrics, such as total pageviews, or sessions. By adding custom dimensions, you can slice most all of the metrics in Google Analytics in new ways.

User ID

  • If a user logs into your site, attach a user ID to a Custom Dimension to track what individual customers are (or are not) doing on your site. Be careful however, Google does not allow Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to be used as Custom Dimensions. Instead use a platform ID, or CRM ID that only your company can match to an individual.

Authentication State

  • Want to see behavioral differences in visitors who are logged-in (known customers) versus those who are not? Create an authentication state flag as a custom dimension to slice your data that way.

Additional Configuration

Since Google Analytics is an extraordinarily powerful tool, these suggestions don’t even begin to scrape the surface of what is possible with Google Analytics. A few other configuration considerations manufacturers and distributors should consider also include:

eCommerce Tracking

  • Send basic transactional data back to Google Analytics to pair it with data such as how that customer got to the site before they bought something (organic search, email blast, paid ad, etc.).

Filtering

  • Set “view-level” filters on your Google Analytics views to segment data coming from your offices IP addresses to look at customer vs employee use of the site separately, amongst other uses for filters.

Site Search

  • Enable site search tracking to capture all of the search terms users use while searching on your site, as well as how often people are using the search feature.

 

Interested in reading more?

Check out these resources on Google Analytics and Tag Manager: