Using Google Analytics with Digital Maps

August 31, 2020 by David Mantelman

Google analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is a web-based service that allows the tracking and analysis of web traffic. Many parts of an organization can benefit from examining the data the tool provides and building a strategy around it. Since Concept3D’s interactive map is a web-based application Google Analytics into it to allow for greater insights. 

What is Google Analytics?

Analytics are a collection of statistics and other indicators that are used to analyze the traffic of a website. Google Analytics is a free tool that has a lot of powerful features for tracking key data points. Using it is a simple as embedding the code they give you on the web pages that you’d like to track. With Concept3D’s interactive maps, we’ve already done that for you, making it even easier to get started with GA. At its core, Google Analytics can be broken down into two major components, with a third one optional:

  • Dimensions — These are the attributes for the data that you are collecting. Dimensions include things like the page you are tracking, which search engines users are finding you from, the localities they live in, and more. They tell you what data points you are looking at.
  • Metrics — These are the quantitative measurements that go along with the dimensions. They will tell you the number of visitors to a page, the number of hits from a given search engine, the number of people visiting from a given locality, etc. The power of analytics comes when you learn how to track and improve metrics that are key to reaching your goals.
  • Secondary Dimensions — Sometimes you may want to track more than one dimension. For example, you may want to know which city users are visiting your page from, but also know which type of device they are using. Google Analytics allows you to set up secondary dimensions in order to accomplish this. 

google analytics

What Does It Track?

Now that you know what Google Analytics does, let’s take a closer look at the metrics that it can track. As we go through the list of the most commonly used metrics, we’ll talk a bit about how specifically they are useful to the use case of our interactive maps platform. 

Page views

Every page that GA is installed on will show up in the dashboard, with several dimensions associated with it. The most obvious dimension is the number of page views. Knowing which pages are popular can help you with decisions about future content or let you know which areas may need some extra exposure in the form of marketing or other awareness campaigns.

The raw page view data simply tells you have many times a page was visited. While this is useful information, it isn’t always what you need. Unique page views tells you the number of specific people that have visited the page. By comparing this with the raw page views, you’ll also get an idea of how many repeat views a page gets, which will further help you judge the popularity of a destination on your map. 

In addition to these two page view metrics, GA will also tell you the average amount of time a visitor spends on the page, and the bounce rate, which is the percentage of users that exit your map after viewing the page. Combine with another metric, the average number of pages per session, this data will allow you to better understand how users are using your map and identify areas that may be prematurely pushing them away.

Device Information

It can be valuable to know how users are accessing your content. Google Analytics will tell you the browser they are using, which operating system it is running on, the resolution they are viewing the page at, and other information you can use to learn how your visitors are experiencing your maps. This can be helpful to some website by providing insight into which devices and resolutions to target. Thankfully, Concept3D handles this for you, ensuring that your map displays well across a wide range of hardware and software configurations.

Visitor Source

One of the biggest things that businesses use analytics for is to see where the traffic is coming from. It helps them to know which efforts to get the word out are the most effective. Similarly, our integration of Google Analytics can help you determine where users are accessing your maps from. This information also allows you to see which of your own pages visits come from. Tracking the user’s journey through you map in this way will give you a better understanding of how they use the map. You can use this information to inform future decisions about how to structure the map. You may also discover that you need to reevaluate your current structure if you find that users are not using the maps in the way that you expected.

Behavior

Many of the metrics we’ve discussed so far have provided insight into how visitors use a map. We’ve got a general idea of where they are coming from and how they are navigating through the map pages. However, some of the most insightful data comes from information that isn’t directly related to page views or traffic sources.

By allowing custom events, Google Analytics lets developers track information that is specific to their use case. Concept3D has created tons of useful events so you can get a fine-grained look at the behavior of your users. Below is a list of the events you can track on the digital maps:

  • Map Pan
  • Zoom Change
  • Marker Open
  • Search
  • Accept Cookies
  • Category Zoom
  • Category On
  • Gallery
  • Floor Selector
  • Marker Zoom
  • Wayfinding Location
  • Wayfinding
  • Map View Button
  • Switch Map Type
  • Tour Next
  • Wayfinding Marker
  • Tour Play
  • Pop Up Close
  • Print Map
  • Get This View
  • Tour Prev
  • Streetview
  • Category Expanded
  • Static Map Creation
  • Open Room Details
  • Form Submit
  • Find an Event Space
  • Select Breakout Space
  • SketchUp Model
  • Download

We’ve also built in a collection of events for 360° Tour via Tour Builder so you can get a glimpse into how you and your stakeholders are using the tool.

Using Analytics for Marketing

One of the most popular uses for analytics is marketing. A good marketer knows which metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) and understands how to use data to improve those numbers. With analytics, you’ll be able to gain insights that will drive more visitors to your venue. Concept3D’s integration of Google Analytics works with your other channels as well, so any information you track will be available in one place. We’ll close the piece by taking a quick look at two major ways a marketing department uses analytics to improve outcomes and how they can help even outside of a marketing context.

Tracking Traffic

Knowing the source of traffic is the first step in knowing what is and isn’t working. If a page is getting little to no organic search engine traffic, then the page could use some search engine optimization. If one ad campaign is significantly outperforming the other, then some aspects of that campaign are more effective. This data also has utility outside of marketing. When you understand what your visitors respond to, you’re in a far better position to determine what sort of content your maps should provide and what tone that should take. In fact, whether your goal is to bring them in the door or just to make sure they are satisfied with their experience when they leave, understanding visitors is a vital aspect of any venue. This brings us nicely to the next benefit of analytics.

Gathering Valuable Visitor Demographics

Marketers use ‘buyer personas;’  fictional people that are based on the real-life demographics of a company’s customer base. Analytics can tell a marketer tons of useful information about a site’s visitors that they can then use to help refine a buyer persona so that it more accurately reflects their actual customer base. They give access to information such as the user’s age, gender, location, and even their interests. Buyer personas created from this data can then be used to determine how to approach marketing to those buyers. This same data can be used to enhance visitor experience. If your visitors are more casual than you though they were, then perhaps the copy in your map is too formal and off-putting to your visitors. Google Analytics will provide you with loads of information about your visitors that will allow you to more perfectly tailor your interactive map to their personalities.

Hopefully, you have a good understanding of what Google Analytics can track and a general idea of how that information can be used. Of course, this is a broad topic with a lot to discuss. If you like to learn more about how you can use the tool to better understand your map or tour, please watch this webinar recording. 

In the webinar, we’ll go deeper into the ways that you can use these metrics to drive meaningful content changes that will improve the experience of your visitors and provide you with better value from our interactive maps. Before attending, we recommend that you sign up for Google Analytics and add your Analytics ID to your Concept3D account. This will allow you to follow along with us as we guide you through the system. Please contact us for information about the webinar.

Topics: Campus MapDigital MapsVirtual Tour

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