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PDFs showing as pageviews in one site, but not another?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

So I have a bit of a dilemma here. I am pretty familiar with how GA tracks PDF either via adding tagging to each PDF, or by using Tag Manager...

I have two separate sites, with two unique UA-xxxxx-1 IDs...

One site, I can query back about 2 years, and see ".pdf" files as pageviews...

 

On another site, I try to query the same file extension and there is nothing, and i know for a fact PDFs are being downloaded via link clicks.

Why would one site show this and another is not?

They both utilize the same Universal script, I have not installed tag manager on these sites, but one shows PDFs and one does not?

Could there be something in the Admin section of the two sites in GA I need to look at? Could something have been configured in one site, and not the other?

Am a bit confused by this...

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: PDFs showing as pageviews in one site, but not another?

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star
Hi Anthony,

This depends on the implementation. That is, if one site is using virtual pageviews (this is the way we always tracked this prior to event tracking) to track PDF's then you would see it in your content reports. If a site is using event tracking to measure then you would see the PDF activity in your event reports.

There is a lot of people that come down on either side of what is best to track and a lot of discussion on whether virtual pageviews for downloads should be considered as inflation of your pageview counts, etc. , etc. The current best practice is to record them as events and not pageviews; that said, as long as you are tracking them I think your fine. In your case, it would be nice to choose one implementation for both so you have a consistent experience and expectation of how to find the data.

For what it's worth, I would consider using GTM as it's relatively easy to deploy the event listener to pick up all downloads and record as events.

Hope that helps.

Best,

Theo Bennett
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Re: PDFs showing as pageviews in one site, but not another?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thank you Theo for the clarification of how the two could possibly be tracked. Maybe I can elaborate and you can help me decipher exactly what I need to be looking for. Site 1 had Universal GA implemented approx. June 2013. Using the standard code, not using GTM.
I do not see a real tick in ".pdf" showing as pageviews until about May 2014. So, almost a year after implementation as you can see here. I do not see any type of Admin configurations, filters, or segmentations, or anything that would explicitly look for .pdf files and display them as pageviews, and GTM is not implemented for this site, I have verified that.

 

There are also no Events in this site statistics, other than some spam events.

analytics1.jpg

 

On Site 2, which was implemented approx. June 2015, I do not see this same view for ".pdf" pageviews... nor do I see any type of Events that display PDF files being clicked.

All i see are session tokens that happen to have "pdf" in the token.

 

analytics2.jpg

 

So I guess I dont understand why one site, using the same Universal GA code would show one way, and another site not show the same?

 

I get your explanation above, but in Site 2, I do not see them as pageviews, nor Events.

You state "if one site is using virtual pageviews".. How would I know that?

 

 

And we use a content management system for GA implementation, where we only enter the UA-xxxxx-1 , as a variable and it deploys the code. So there is no difference between the code and the two sites.

 

Re: PDFs showing as pageviews in one site, but not another?

Rising Star
# 4
Rising Star
Hi there...so it sounds like its configured on one site and not the other.

Also sounds like you are using a moduke in Drupal or Mangento or something
along those lines. That could explain yhe differnce as each module has
configuration options on what to track and then the code is customized by
the module and listeners are deployed to track these downloads.

What you need to understand is that GA, by default, does not track pdfs
and other downloads. This requires in line code or custom event listeners
or GTM.

The changes you need to make will be found within your CMS modules and not
in GA.

Best,

Theo Bennett
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Re: PDFs showing as pageviews in one site, but not another?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I understand by default that GA does not track PDFs.. lesson learned long ago.

Our CMS is a bit more robust than a Magneto, or Drupal. It is an Enterprise CMS, but none the less, I am an admin of the CMS and know of no configurations, listeners, events, or any other settings that would control how the GA script or PDF tagging would be modified.

 

So here is the script from site 1:

<script>
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');

ga('create', 'UA-xxxxxxx-1', 'example.com');
ga('send', 'pageview');
</script>

 

And script from site 2:

<script>
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');

ga('create', 'UA-xxxxxxx-1', 'example.com');
ga('send', 'pageview');
</script>

 

From what i can see, there is no difference between the two.

 

Ok, so I just spent a few minutes in my Analytics, and I found something odd.... 

 

this path to a PDF file: /resources/pdfs/members/groups/example.pdf

 

This PDF is ONLY linked from an entirely separate domain, Site 2... and is not linked, nor accessible from Site 1.

 

As Site 2 is a member only site.

 

How would a reference to a PDF found on an entirely separate, secure site, be visible in the Analytics for Site 1???

 

Something is way off here....

Re: PDFs showing as pageviews in one site, but not another?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Crap, I just saw the ga('send', 'pageview'); parameter...

Re: PDFs showing as pageviews in one site, but not another?

Rising Star
# 7
Rising Star
Hi,

If your seeing the data collect in that accout it means that tracking code
is deployed on that site.

Check Audience》technology》network and change the primary dimension to
hostname and you'll see where the data is sent from.

Best thing to do is to go to where the resource is located and look for any
JS listeners or changes in the mark up.
(Or just change over to GTM) Smiley Happy

Good luck!

Theo Bennett
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn