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How to Track Form Abandonment Using Google Universal Analytics Events

Posted by Gavin Matthews on 9/21/14 10:33 AM

Form abandonment measurement is an excellent tool for monitoring how and why your visitors navigate and interact with your form-based interactions. Since testing and data are your only means to knowing user behavior on a live site, it is crucial to back iterate only with firm information, drawn from user analysis. Whether using metrics to track visitors or interaction with your sales training solution, the numbers matter! Thankfully, Google provides the best toolset on the market, for free, to enable you to granularly monitor your content: Google Analytics.

Building the CommercialTribe website, we ran into a problem with forms and tracking. Forms in particular pose an interesting challenge for measurement, since user interactions are not limited to clicks. Ideally, you need to know the fields that users most often ignore or give up on, adjusting to best capture information without irritating users. Google Analytics provides tools to monitor most general interactions, but custom work is needed to track text input and cursor-based data.

The solution relies on Universal Analytics' event tracking language (the original version of Analytics can also be used, but the upgraded code is worth it for demographic tracking). Event tracking uses Javascript to push information to the Analytics suite, generally working best for button and click elements. In general, the event toolset makes use of standard handlers, operators that define the type of event being tracked - the most common is "onClick," used to push user click data.

A lesser known handler helps solve the form abandonment tracking problem: onChange. Used to push an event when a user changes a value on a form or field, either from a blank value to anything or from one dataset to another, onChange allows you to monitor things like a user filling in a field on a contact page or email subscription form.

To utilize onChange for form abandonment tracking, we use Google's standard event format: Category, Action, and Label. With Universal Analytics, you also need to use "send" and "event" to properly parse the data. To begin to track field interactions, modify the below code with your own Category, Action, and Label strings for each field call and place the code within the class tag itself.

onChange="ga('send', 'event', 'Category', 'Action', 'Label');"

On the Analytics dashboard, simply navigate to Behavior > Events >Overview to see any interactions. To see it in live and test, you can also look at Real-Time > Events, after turning off internal traffic filters. Success!


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A sample events page, sorted first by Category. Click each category to see action and label view.

About the Author

Gavin Matthews

Gavin Matthews is CommercialTribe's Marketing Director. Previously, he worked in sales and marketing across leading startups, including Tidal Labs and Genius. Gavin is an avid fan of Colorado and can most often be found in the mountains.

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Topics: Marketing, Product Development

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