Analytics
2.8K members online now
2.8K members online now
Learn how to set up goals and Ecommerce tracking, verify accuracy of attribution traffic sources, and discuss funnel visualization, Multi-Channel Funnels, the Goal Flow Report, and Enhanced Ecommerce
 
Guide Me
star_border
Reply

Tracking path TO my home page

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I understand how GA shows sources/mediums for traffic to my site, great.

However, what I want to know is what steps the traffic took before that final click.  e.g. did they go to my FB page, see one of my ads, then next day directly enter my URL.

 

I thought maybe I could do it by setting up my home page as a Goal, but will that work?  what am I supposed to enter as Goal URL, when the home page URL is just the domain and nothing more...

 

I also thought the Attribution section in GA should track prior steps, but I don't get how to set it up to do what I want.

 

Any tips appreciated!

 

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Tracking path TO my home page

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
GA can only report on page hits that it knows about -- ones that have the GA tracking snippet running on. You also get the source if -and only if- the browser tells it where it came from. Since you don't/can't have GA installed on your FB page, you can't track that page view, and FB does a nasty thing forcing browsers to 'forget' what page they were looking at even if they did click a link. If they enter your URL the day after, then your source is Direct.

Unless you can somehow track the previous activity in GA, you can't join it to your website visit.

Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

Re: Tracking path TO my home page

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
ok, appreciate the response.
Setting aside my FB page, what about other incoming channels - ads, etc.
Surely the Google Attribution tool is exactly for the purpose I described - to track path before they get to my site. I'm just wondering how to set this up, I can't figure it out...

From Google's description on Attribution
A customer finds your site by clicking one of your AdWords ads. She returns one week later by clicking over from a social network. That same day, she comes back a third time via one of your email campaigns, and a few hours later, she returns again directly and makes a purchase.

Thanks again

Re: Tracking path TO my home page

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
Explaining Google's example: in each case, the user clicks from one of those other services to your site. GA tracks the referral as the visit hits your site; they do not have the ability to understand what you did before you clicked that link.

GA tracks individuals by giving their browsers cookies. When they visit again, they can attribute the return visit to the original user. In the Multi-Channel-Funnel reports, they can show how many Users came from multiple sources over a period of time, as their example describes.

The way you described a scenario, someone looked at your ad or FB page, but did NOT visit your website...hence no cookie, and no GA 'user id'. When they do visit your site directly, there is no previous data to connect to their new visit.

I hope that makes it a bit clearer.
Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

Re: Tracking path TO my home page

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hmm.
I'm pretty certain the multi-channel funnel reports and attribution models do show actions prior to visiting the website, otherwise how would we attribute value to earlier points in the conversion path (ads etc that were viewed but not clicked). The person has a GA cookie on their PC long before they visit my particular site.
Per this article https://www.optimizesmart.com/attribution-modeling-google-analytics-ultimate-guide/

Anyhow, appreciate your help. I have conversion goals set up now so the best thing will be for me to study the data once it starts to come in.

Thanks!

Re: Tracking path TO my home page

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor
GA records visits or 'sessions' to your site, and 'attributes' each session to a source based on information from the browser when the visit occurred. Each session also records the 'user id'.

In the MCF reports, they join all the sessions based on user ids, identify which users had sessions with conversions, and then let you see all the sources that user had in other sessions that they maybe didn't convert in. Those sources include search, referrals, ad clicks and direct visits as described here in the video:
https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1191180?hl=en

The GA data only records visits to your website. If someone views your ad, AdWords or FB Ads might record an 'impression', but if they don't click, there's no 'session' in GA -- that is something easy for you to test and prove to yourself.

The GA cookie for your site is specific to your site. There are many other advertising and remarketing cookies out there, some of which GA may have access to if you configure your account for them, but the GA reports are not all-seeing.
Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.