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 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.
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('require', 'linkid', 'linkid.js');
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]);
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.