Google Analytics

Scroll Tracking in Google Analytics and Analyzing Your Data

How can you use scroll-tracking as an advantage in the design of your website? Can this change the way your audience interacts with your website? Scroll on to find out just how it can!

Photo Courtesy of Dillon Shook

As a business owner, it’s crucial to get to know your clientele and audience. The more you get to know them at a level where you understand their wants and needs, the easier it’ll be to gear up your website. How exactly can you track how your audience is interacting with the website and how can you use that information to create the best possible website for your customers? 

There is an array of functions that Google Analytics offers many business owners, and one of these is scroll tracking. Scroll tracking is defined as Google Analytics' ability to track how far the visitors scroll on your website. While it sounds simple, there are a few steps and tips to set up a successful scroll-tracking system. Before we dive into the steps on how you track this information, we must know what type of information is scroll tracking really keeping track of and why would you choose to use this. 

Why use scroll-tracking? 

Analytics can be a daunting topic to look at as a business owner, but it is crucial when trying to build a successful business. Analytics has to do with data and how you use that data to your advantage. Scroll tracking is just another way to measure this data and it’s beneficial to the success of your business's website. Data shown include bounce rate, average time on a page, and the number of pages per session. As you collect this data and plan how to implement its findings, it’s important you realize the benefits this will have for your business. 

Let’s think about an example

A user finds your website after searching a keyword or phrase on Google and sees your website on the first page of the search results. The user spends about 5 minutes on your website without visiting other pages. Google Analytics will then determine the bounce rate at 100%. Scroll-tracking shows data to ensure whether or not your audience has scrolled through a page to read more of the article or product information. The scroll-tracking can show the consumption of your article or product designs more accurately if it’s able to see if the user was willing to continue browsing and reading that particular web page. 

The information used by scroll-tracking is vital to your business. Photo courtesy of Stephen Dawson

With this data, you are able to do a couple of important things. You can create a funnel analysis to really understand the bounce rate from your customers. Within Google Analytics, the scroll-tracking is really collecting scroll-depth information. What can you learn from this information? Here are some examples: 

  • Do users who view 50% of the page have a better turnout rate when looking at other pages on my website?
  • What percentage of people viewed the home page and what percentage only saw the initial article?
  • Do videos at the beginning or end of the page help to keep users engaged for longer periods of time on a page? 
  • Where should I place certain action buttons? At the bottom or top of the page? 

There is a visual represented in these questions, which could perhaps better illustrate the importance of tracking scroll-depth within Google Analytics. After deciding that this would benefit your website, how would you go about setting up scroll-tracking on your Google Analytics account? 

How to activate scroll-tracking for your account? 

There are a few simple steps to follow when setting up the scroll-tracking for your website. It’s important to follow these steps to ensure that you're able to get the most accurate results directly from your users. 

Step one: Logging in

Before you begin to enable the scroll-tracking movement on your website, you must sign into the Google Analytics page. Once you are all logged in click on the admin button. 

Step two: Data streams

Once you’ve clicked on the admin button, click on the data streams of a certain property. Click the web button and then click on the arrow that’s pointing to the right of your screen. 

Photo courtesy of Data Driven

Step three: Enhanced measurements

Once you’ve followed the steps above, you will see an enhanced measurement page. There is an option for you to toggle the scroll tracker on or off. 

Photo courtesy of Data Driven.

How to view the data?

Now that you’ve got your scroll-tracking measurement on, how exactly can you get to the data provided by Google Analytics? You can find the default data under the events menu on the left of your screen on Google Analytics. Once you click on this, you can begin to add comparisons to your data.

Photo courtesy of Data Driven.

There’s an option to narrow down the scroll events for a specific page. For example, if you want to see the data for your home page or your products page, you can add a dimension. Choose ‘/’ as the dimension value for your home page. With the Google Analytics scroll-tracking feature, you’re able to track other dimensions, like screen size and page path. 

Photo courtesy of Data Driven.

Possible limitations in Google Analytics scroll-tracking feature?

There are debatably three major downsides to using this feature on Google Analytics:

  • The scroll-depth feature is only triggered when a user scrolls through 90% of the website. 
  • It could become pricey and ultimately lose your business money. 
  • The depth is only measured in percentages and not in pixels. 

While these are just a few limitations, ultimately it’s your decision if you would like to use this feature. Remember that this feature is very helpful if you use it correctly. 

How to apply this data to your practice? 

This article has gone through the major advantages and disadvantages of scroll-tracking using Google Analytics. Once you have all of this information, how can you use it to your advantage and create a better experience for your users? 

While the data doesn’t show you the full spectrum of the visitor's actions, you can assume that if the percentage is low, there is something wrong with the way your website is laid out. The reason you know this is because of the data provided from the data tracking. There isn’t specific information that will tell you exactly what to change, but it can give you an idea of what could be interfering with more interaction from your users. 

This information can give you a small advantage if used with other practices and features within Google Analytics. Once you are able to combine best practices and collect data and work on your website from there, it’ll become a piece of cake to allow more traffic and interaction with your website. In fact, you have most likely reached a great portion of this article if you’ve scrolled through it this far! What other Google Analytic features would help this data become a more valuable asset to your website? Check out our other insights on many features and tools used in Google Analytics.

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