In marketing the ability to measure the impact of a campaign is crucial. With print media it can be tricky without getting explicit user input, whether that be through offer codes or questionnaires.

The big benefit of online media is measurability. Today it is easier than ever to access statistics on how a site is being used, from simple stats on visitor locations through to complete user journeys. You may not want to measure every variable that affects user decisions on your site but with a little extra setting up it is possible to achieve a detailed measure of user response.

To track user activity you will first need to acquire some Analytics software. Google Analytics (GA) is the most common piece of software used today for tracking user activity and is the one we use at Hookson. Once an account is set up for a site GA creates a tracking code. This code can then be added to all the pages you want to track.

With the tracking code installed all user activity will be recorded across the site. In simple terms it will measure where users came from, what pages they visited and on which page they left the site. Within this journey it will also record a multitude of variables including keywords used to find the site and length of time on specific pages.

One limitation with GA ‘out of the box’ comes with tracking downloads, as the user is not taken to a trackable page. However this can be set up by adding a unique event tracker to each download link so when a user clicks the link the event is recorded and categorised. This technique can also be used for recording plays of a video or other special actions.

While analytics can be used for very complex studies of site successes and failures, even simple use can give you valuable data for improving user experience.