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Oct 20, 2010 | 5 minute read

What Makes Them Click? 7 Business Questions Answered With In-Page Analytics

written by Linda Bustos

Google Analytics has just released a new feature called In-Page Analytics. The major advancement In-Page offers is the ability to view page statistics as you navigate your site (rather than through pages of links under your Content menu). You can see the page stats to the left of your site page, and an "overlay" of what percentage of clicks each link on the page receives. You can also apply many Advanced Segments and filter rules to get wicked insights out of your data.

The slice-and-dice possibilities are endless, but I'll share my own 7 favorite ways to use In-Page Analytics for ecommerce in this post. But first, check out the demo from Google Analytics:

My top 7 ways to use In-Page Analytics

Because all great analysis starts with a business question, not pages of data, my goal is to answer business questions of interest to ecommerce merchandisers, web designers, sales managers, marketers and usability specialists.

1. Do visitors click on links and calls to action below the fold?

Ten years ago, showing anything "below the fold" would have been a usability no-no. But these days, users are more comfortable with scrolling. If you're worried about content and links not being found below the fold, find the answer in your analytics data.

In-Page Analytics shows the percentage of clicks that occur below a certain line (you can adjust this manually). Find out what your visitors' most common screen resolution is (found under Visitors / Browser Capabilities / Screen Resolutions). For example, the image below shows that ~19% of clicks happen below the "fold line" I set for 1280x1024 screens.

One caveat is that Google's overlay combines links into one stat. If you have a New Arrivals link in your main navigation, and a banner on your home page that says "Check Out Our New Arrivals," and they both link to the same URL, they will both show the same percentage of clicks. The workaround is to tag links separately with ref=, like

2. What do customers click on in category and site search results?

This will become your merchandising team's new BFF (best friend forever), as you can learn so much about customer behavior.

For instance, we know the top few results in traditional search engines take the lion's share of traffic - searchers place so much trust in the search engine algorithm they believe the top results are the most relevant. Do they behave the same on your site search tool? Do the top few listings get clicked most in every search/category or just certain ones? Does one brand get more clicks than others, regardless of position? Or lower priced items? If you merchandised your highest margin products at the top of results, would behavior change? What percentage of visitors use the "View All" or "Page 2" links?

Check out several category pages and look for trends or differences in behavior. Do the same thing with your most popular search terms (you can type them directly into your site search box in the overlay window). Or, look for products that appear lower down in search results that are clicked more often. Perhaps they should be moved higher to get even more clicks. Ask yourself what it is about those products that they get more clicks, even lower on the page.

3. What search and category filters are most used?

The filters customers use to narrow category and search results reveal what product attributes are important to them. Common filters include subcategory, price, brand/manufacturer, size, color, star rating, etc. For example, if you sell smartphones, you may find that customers filter by brand/manufacturer more often than price or features. Once they have selected the brand, they frequently go straight for the model. You might conclude that your customers already have an idea of the type of phone they want, and are less concerned about price or operating system. They don't need to find a phone that has the features they want, they've been well marketed to by handset manufacturers and are responding accordingly.

Or, you may notice that customers care most about price for electronics, but filter most by product rating for software. You could build guided selling tools appropriately, and incorporate consumer preferences into marketing campaigns.

You may also find that some filters never get used, and removing them might reduce the clutter on your page or make way for more helpful links.

4. What do Facebook/Twitter referrals do? Anything?

I was curious about what Get Elastic visitors do when they discover this blog through a Twitter referral. To find out, I applied the custom segment New Visitors and added an additional filter using Source, Matches Exactly and (Google Analytics provides a dropdown menu of your top referring sites so this was easy.)

Interestingly, New Visitors from Twitter are 20% more likely to read our About page than the site average. Otherwise they surf the site content much like other visitors do.

Wouldn't it be nice to know if Twitter and Facebook traffic actually sticks around, clicks and buys stuff on your site?

5. What do mobile users do on your site?

Mobile traffic is already a default setting in your Advanced Segments.

Just make sure you click Apply, and it will appear in your In-Page Analytics toolbar.

Do mobile visitors click on links far down on your page? Do they click on store locators? Do they click on featured products? What is the most popular category?

You can also create additional filters to isolate the mobile O/S. You could segment down to Blackberry, iPad, Android, etc. If you wanted to filter out iPad and just see phones, add a filter that "Does Not Contain" iPad.

6. What do international visitors do?

Filter out visits from your home country to see what all non-domestic visitors do. Do they click on your international shipping policy from your home page? Do they make use of your country selection link? Do they use your currency conversion tool? Do they attempt to change language?

Or, exclude your native language to see if visitors with their primary language set to anything else do. (Especially if you have a change language link).

7. Do returning customers log in or use guest checkout?

We know many returning customers don't remember their login information, and will use guest checkout. If you have created a custom variable for customers who have purchased from your site before, you can apply that segment and see what percentage click the login vs. forgot password vs. the guest checkout button. If it's a high percentage, you may consider redesigning your checkout page or conducting an A/B test.

Unfortunately, with Google Website Optimizer, you cannot create a test that includes only returning customers. But you can apply the Advanced Segment to the test versions to compare behavior for returning customers, even though the test will include all visitors.

These are just a few ideas, how will you be using In-Page Analytics?