Practical Ecommerce

Using Google’s In-page Analytics, for Link Performance

Google’s In-page Analytics shows users which links get the most attention on any given page, providing valuable information about how site visitors are interacting with the content.

The report shows a user’s live web page and it overlays click data, enumerating the percentage of clicks a particular link or set of links receives. If a page had received 10 clicks over the past month, and a particular link had been clicked on three times, it would have a 30 percent share of the available clicks.

In-page Analytics shows how links or sets of links are performing relative to total clicks for the page.

In-page Analytics shows how links or sets of links are performing relative to total clicks for the page.

In-page Analytics can provide interesting data about site layout and usage. To get started, you are probably going to want to get a Chrome browser extension and add to your Google Analytics tracking scripts.

The Page Analytics Chrome Extension

Before you can use the Google In-page Analytics report, you are going to need a way to actually access and see the report.

When it was first introduced in 2010, this report resided directly in a Google Analytics report page. You were able to see your live website with click data superimposed over it right there in context of the report. But starting with Internet Explorer 9 and relatively recent versions of Firefox and Chrome, browsers began blocking some forms of mixed content on secure HTTPS pages by default, to prevent certain kinds of malware and data-stealing attacks. As a result, most folks will not be able to view the In-page visual data directly in Google Analytics.

You can still see the report via Google Analytics if you open it in what Google calls “full view.” But there is, perhaps, a better option in the form of Google’s Page Analytics Chrome Extension.

The Page Analytics Chrome extension is one of the best ways to view In-page Analytics.

The Page Analytics Chrome extension is one of the best ways to view In-page Analytics.

With the extension installed, log into Google Analytics, and navigate to your site, Google will overlay your site’s link data.

Enhanced Link Attribution

As described above, In-page Analytics seeks to measure the percentage of clicks that a page element – like a link, button, or hyperlinked image – receives relative to the total number of clicks for the page for a given date range or segment. When you are first using the report, In-page Analytics does this by looking at the target page at which a link points. Unfortunately, this muddies the data at least a little.

Imagine that you are looking at one of your product category pages, wherein both a picture of the product and the product’s name are linked to the same product detail page. In this example, the product name, which is probably a simple link, and the image would have the identical click percentage. Put another way, you would know what percentage of the clicks on the page lead to the target page, but you would not know if the image was generating more clicks than the link or vice versa.

To get this finer level of detail, Google allows you to add “Enhanced Link Attribution.” This requires updating your Google Analytics tracking code and enabling the feature in Analytics’ Admin tab.

Google has a good explanation of how to install Enhanced Link Attribution, and that tutorial is summarized here.

First, update your Google Analytics tracking code. For analytics.js, use the following, wherein “ga(‘require’, ‘linkid’, ‘linkid.js’);” is what you are adding.

ga('create', 'UA-XXXX-X');
ga('require', 'linkid', 'linkid.js');
ga('send', 'pageview');

For ga.js, your completed code will look rather like the following, wherein the line “var pluginUrl = ‘//www.google-analytics.com/plugins/ga/inpage_linkid.js’;” and the line “_gaq.push([‘_require’, ‘inpage_linkid’, pluginUrl]);” are what you will add.

var _gaq = _gaq || [];
var pluginUrl = '//www.google-analytics.com/plugins/ga/inpage_linkid.js';
_gaq.push(['_require', 'inpage_linkid', pluginUrl]);
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXXX-Y']);
_gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

Next open Google Analytics and navigate to the Admin tab. That tab should be divided into three columns, one each for Account, Property, and View. Under the Property section, select Property Settings.

When the Property Settings pane is displayed, locate the In-page Analytics section and simply toggle the switch on. For this feature to be its most effective, add a unique “id” attribute to each of the links on your page.

Set the toggle button to on to begin separately tracking multiple links to the same target page.

Set the toggle button to on to begin separately tracking multiple links to the same target page.

Using the Report to Find Link Performance

The Google In-page Analytics report is, perhaps, best used to understand how individual page elements are performing. To make this point, consider this example from a site’s navigation with the percentage of clicks shown (in orange).

This example shows the In-page click data superimposed over the site's navigation.

This example shows the In-page click data superimposed over the site’s navigation.

The merchant has several category links in the red portion of the navigation, and presumably, the merchant was expecting those categories on the far left of the page to be the most important, and in fact, the first category link (“Farm & Ranch”) is getting a respectable 4.4 percent of the available clicks for the time period.

The first link is performing fairly well with about 4.4 percent of the clicks.

The first link is performing fairly well with about 4.4 percent of the clicks.

Interestingly, the merchant has also included a “More” link that shows a drop down menu with a few additional product categories. This “More” link is, incredibly, earning 17 percent of the clicks.

The more link is actually one of the most popular links in the navigation, indicating that the merchant should adjust which categories are shown by default.

The “More” link is actually one of the most popular links in the navigation, indicating that the merchant should adjust which categories are shown by default.

This is a strong indicator that there are some product categories that should be exposed on the navigation, since shoppers are going and looking — rather specifically — for more options.

Like most Google Analytics reports, In-page analytics can show data for custom date ranges or restrict data to a particular segment, such as visitors who converted or visitors that came from site referrals.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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Comments ( 7 )

  1. JC January 23, 2015 Reply

    Will in page analytics work with content grouping? Is there anything special one needs to do in order to make this work?

  2. Huong July 23, 2015 Reply

    That’s really helpful for In-Page analytics with different links/menus
    But in section “Using the Report to Find Link Performance” how can I explore this? I am not able to find at where in Google analytics
    That would be great if you can show me more in details.
    Thanks so much!

  3. Liz M December 30, 2015 Reply

    Hi Armando!

    Your article is great and came up for me when researching enhanced link attribution. I have just one question: you mention “add a unique “id” attribute to each of the links on your page”, but I cannot find an example of what a unique ID attribute is or how to place it in the link? Would you be able to share an example of a link attribute? Thanks so much!

  4. Melissa March 10, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for this. You state that it is best for each link to have a unique “id” for the enhance link attribution to work best. Can you give an example of what a unique ID should look like and where it should be placed? For example, should it be in the a href tag or in the actual URL with a ? prefacing it. I have an FAQ page that uses # anchors to link to the answers of each question and every question appears to have the same number of clicks. I’d like to see better which actual questions the customers are clicking on. Thanks!

    • Armando Roggio March 10, 2016 Reply

      The id is the element id. So <div id=”unique”>.

  5. Dave May 3, 2016 Reply

    Hi Armando. Is it possible to have an In Page report with Enhanced Link Attribution show aggregate data for certain navigation that is common to all or many pages of a site? For common navigation links, I’d like to see numbers for clicks from any page that has that link with the same id value found for ELA. Thank you for any suggestions you can provide!

  6. Sam Mah February 7, 2017 Reply

    On my interface, I used a rollover effect and is built with an anchor hyperlink. Do rollovers consider as a click in the In-page Analytics experiment?