Google Analytics (GA) has changed the game for enterprise level analytics by offering a complete feature set without any licensing, seat or setup fees for most users. As a result, implementing conversion funnels, click tracking, path analysis and user segmentation is more accessible to a wider variety of website publishers. When it comes to gaining visibility into the behavior of your traffic, the tool has rapidly evolved to approach levels of performance by A-list analytics vendors.
While the rich feature-set of Google Analytics makes it an ideal choice for analysts, the development side of the equation requires insights into load times, cookies and data tracking. In order to seamlessly integrate enterprise-level tracking into your website without slowing down users or losing data, this guide will help ensure you understand both the technical and operational aspects of analytics data collection. Making minor tweaks to your Analytics configuration can pay great dividends in terms of load times, user insights and data validity. While it is important to evaluate these updates relative to your site and server structure, this guide provides a high level view of potential ways to improve the efficiency of your installation.
Upgrade your Installation to Benefit from New Performance Features
var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);
The most impressive performance upgrade comes where the tracking code is loaded along with any other scripts, which is fully compatible with HTML 5 standards and improves the user’s overall load time:
Centralize Tracking through Google Analytics
You should start by evaluating which questions or problems you want to solve with data – combining Analytics with other Google tools such as Website Optimizer (which allows for integrated multi-variation and A/B testing) can streamline your approach to data collection. Limiting the objects on a given page can mean a few seconds less of load time, which can make a noticeable difference to your users over time. While a full analysis of the configuration for GA is beyond the scope of this article, we will cover how to extend your Analytics installation to a network of related sites to improve overall performance.
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-NNNNN-N");
Since your profile is setup for a single domain by default you can extend the tracking to multiple (authorized) domains by adding a few lines of code – this can streamline data collection across a network of properties, especially where you have promotional micro-sites linked to your main site by adding the following lines of code:
In order to ensure continuous tracking you will need to append any intra-network links between sites with on-click tracking so you can follow the visitors path with the code:
onclick="pageTracker._link(this.href); return false;"