Advanced Overlay Report – I Know Which Link Did That

Ever tried the Overlay reports in your Web Analytics tools? Recently one question was eating my head, How to differentiate, which link from the index page to my Contact page is gaining more clicks, the one at the top bar or the sidebar one? Do you think Google Analytics or ordinary Analytics tools are providing this data? The Google analytics Over-lay Report is not the one I needed, and is not having the capability to answer my question.

What is lacking in Google Analytics Site Over-lay Report?

Suppose I have two links from the Index page to my Contact Us page, one at the Top Banner and One at my Sidebar. Obviously you would like to see which one is performing well, I mean, which one is getting more clicks? Unfortunately the Google Analytics site over-lay report cannot differentiate these two links. What you see is the whole clicks and how much percentage from the total clicks in the source page.

google analytics site overlay (click on this thumbnail for enlarged view)

See the above screenshot, as you see the links to ‘Internet Marketing’ from the Sidebar and from teh Content is showing the exact number Clicks has been received. The same has been reported for the ‘Website Redesign’ link too.

So if you want to know which one exactly had driven the traffic, Google Analytics has no idea.

Does ClickTracks Navigation Report (Visual Overlay) do this?

As far as I know, the short answer is ‘No’. They are providing some more cool options than what Google Analytics provides, but not exactly they can tell you which link gained more clicks, if you have two links pointing to the same page. The Demo will give you more insights about their Navigation Report. They are having other cool options like, comparison over Time – if you have done a redesign, you can compare the Visual Overlay reports of Before and After that redesign to see how it effected on the conversion, and is called Time Splits. Also you can compare two different layouts and that’s called A/B Splits. For learning more about these two options please have a look at here and you will be seeing a demo link along with each of them.

Update***

Here I am going to add some more details about how to handle this issue using ClickTracks. Thanks for Michael Stebbins from ClickTracks who gave me guidance on how ClickTracks handling Multiple links on a single page pointing at the same URL in it’s Navigation Reports.

While using the parameters to distinguish the duplicate links on a single page pointing to the same URL, there are chances of having issues with the search engines. ClickTracks recommends getting advices from an SEO expert regarding those issues.

Does the WebTrends SmartView Report do this?

Similar to the previous answer, in short for WebTrends also it is No. The SmartView provides more advanced reporting options like; evaluate the popularity of each individual page link with click-through, path, and scenario metrics superimposed on the page you’re viewing. It is specified that each individual page link, cannot differentiate two links pointing to a same page.

Can’t we track it Manually using any other techniques?

The next question was this, after being disappointed with most of the known tools. Yes, we can track it using query strings. But I was having a worry about how to make sure the Search Engine friendliness of this tactic. Say if you have one Header and Footer links pointing to the same page – say ‘/product1.php’ – from your index page. You want to track it separately, the clicks you got on each. You can add parameters like ‘header’ and ‘footer’ to each link – so the links will be ‘product1.php?header’ and ‘product1.php?footer’ -. This will give you the exact count on how many clicks on each and you will get to know which one is performing and which one is not. So that you can make the design changes to make sure more effectiveness on these links.

But when a Search Engine finds these links in the index page it results in Duplication error. One thing we can do is, block those URLs using robots.txt and make sure there is no Duplication issues. Otherwise we can do a 301 redirect from both of these to ‘/product1.php’ and track the requests to each. That’s also another possible way of doing it. But I have to test it and evaluate the success rate of these techniques.

So What is the Next best Solution?

I just shouted about this in my favorite shout box and Wit as always had the answer to my query. He suggested me the URL http://www.crazyegg.com/ and the Demo I saw there, giving me the exact report which I was searching for. Here is the Demo link and click on the + sign on the Home page link at the Header and the Footer and see the difference. All the tools which we reviewed were reporting the same number of clicks on similar links, but here you can see CrazyEgg has been successfully able to differentiate two links pointing to the same page. They are using the ‘Page Tagging Technology‘ to track the details, just needed to insert the JS code in your pages to track.

(click on this thumbnail for enlarged view)

A Word from the Author:

Even though they are providing the report we were in need, I am not sure about the reporting on visits. It may not be tracking every visits you were getting but for those it reports CrazyEgg will report you about the Clicks. So you will be able to analyze the Trend and take appropriate decision on your Layout Usability. I already implemented this, and happily tracking the visitor behaviors in my layout. Those reports are giving more ideas about Usability and user effectiveness of my current layout am planning to experiment with lot more tweaks and analysis on my sites.

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