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Say hello to Google Analytics plugin for Visual Website Optimizer

Visual Website Optimizer’s integration with Google Analytics is automatic, which means you don’t have to modify your existing GA or VWO only in anyway. While creating a test, simply enable this integration option with the click of a button. What this integration does is that it pushes VWO variation data into GA’s custom variable report, so you can segment any report in GA with an additional segmenting option. Once you enable the option in test settings (under accounts) or during creating a test, Visual Website Optimizer will automatically pass the variation data of the Variations to the Google Analytics.

 

To see A/B test reports in Google Analytics, click on Visitors in the sidebar and then click on Custom Variables report. Then click on the test id (available from VWO reports page) corresponding to the test you want to see a report for. An example of the report name in GA would be “VWO-2” which means it is a report corresponding to test with id 2 (test id is visible in the test details section your VWO reports). In the report you can see goal values for different variations plus you can also see different metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, return visit, pages/visit, etc. corresponding to the variations. The reports look something like the following screenshot (click to expand):

In the integration options, there are two values that you can change:

  • GA Slot: This is the custom variable slot in Google Analytics that you want to use for Visual Website Optimizer. If you are unsure what this means, leave it as it is.
  • GA Account Prefix: In case you are using more than one Google Analytics account on your website, specify here which Google Analytics Account Prefix you want VWO to be integrated with. This is an optional field and should be left empty if you are unsure. Please read more about it on our helpbase.

 

<< The following method is now deprecated, although still supported >>

For integrating Google Analytics with Visual Website Optimizer, you will have to sandwich a snippet of code (in bold font below) in your existing Google Analytics tracking code (most likely present at the bottom of your website HTML):

<script type=”text/javascript”> var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“XX-XXXXXX-X”); pageTracker._initData(); if (typeof(_vis_opt_GA_track) == “function”) { _vis_opt_GA_track(); } pageTracker._trackPageview(); </script>

The process for Asynchronous code snippet is similar:

_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘XX-XXXXXX-X’]); if(typeof(_vis_opt_GA_track) == “function”) { _vis_opt_GA_track(); } _gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]);

In other words, the code in bold (javascript function  _vis_opt_GA_track()) needs to be added just before the Google Analytics code snippet _trackPageview After you have added the code, the integration is done. No more settings, no more configuration. For all tests, the Google Analytics intergration will start automatically. Before you get too excited, please note following important points regarding the plugin:

  • By default, the plugin will work perfectly ONLY if you have one test running on your website running at a time (the limitation is because Google Analytics provides limited slots to store customer variables). In order to track multiple tests simultaneously, see the technical note below.
  • The reports you see in Google Analytics are indicative, at best. GA won’t show you statistical significance for any result – so interpret the results with care.
  • Unlike VWO, Google Analytics reports aren’t realtime – so allow atleast 1-2 days for data to show up in GA reports.
  • You can add the integration code site-wide (even on the pages where VWO is not running). The plugin will not affect your GA tracking in any manner.

Technical note: VWO uses GA’s 4th custom variable slot by default. If you would like to change it (either because you already use if for a different purpose or you want to track multiple tests in GA), add the following code before any GA code:

<script type=”text/javascript”> var _vis_opt_GA_slot = YOUR_CUSTOM_SLOT; // a number between 1-5 </script>

Leave a comment here if you cannot get the plugin to work for you or you have trouble understanding what code to add or where to add. This manual integration does not work with Visual Website Optimizer’s asynchronous code aspect.

Founder and CEO of Wingify.

Comments (46)

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  1. Well, sometimes we use something like gaTracker instead of pageTracker, and sometimes we use the async version of the Google Analytics tracking code. And some clients already use slot 1 to 4, and then it’s good to have a choice.

  2. Hi Paras

    Just want to say that this is a killer integration. Reeeaaaally love this.

    The option of choosing slot yourself would be real great, it makes it much more flexible. And would make it possible to track 5 different test on the same site at a time. That is relevant when having 5 landingpages with its own order flow 🙂

    1. Hi Jacob,

      Yes, in the next version (coming out this week) we will be providing a code snippet that allows specifying which slot to use. Stay tuned!

      -Paras

  3. Hi,

    We’re using Google Analytics asynchronous tag.
    Is the integration of VWO will be the same as the code you show upon?

    Example:

    var _gaq = _gaq || [];
    _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-xxxxxxx-x’]);

    if (typeof(_vis_opt_GA_track) == “function”) { _vis_opt_GA_track(); }

    _gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]);
    (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true;
    ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’;
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
    })();

    Thanks

    1. No, it won’t be the same. Just wait a couple of days – we are releasing a plugin compatible with Async code.

  4. Paras,

    Any reason why this doesn’t work?

    if (typeof(_vis_opt_GA_track) == “function”) {
    var pageTracker =
    _gaq._createAsyncTracker(analyticsCode, ‘pageTracker’);
    _vis_opt_GA_track();
    }

    1. The code doesn’t yet work with asynchronous GA snippet. We will be soon updating the VWO code to make it work. Will keep you informed.

  5. UPDATE: It is now possible to use VWO plugin with GA asynchronous code snippet. See the update in the post.

  6. Paras:

    Yes, I need integration with GetClicky.com

    Even if there isn’t a plug-in, is it possible to use your tool with GetClicky?

    Thanks,

    – Alex –

  7. How is suggested that it’s implemented if using the format:

    var _gaq = _gaq || [];_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-XXXXXX-1’],[‘_trackPageview’],[‘b._setAccount’, ‘UA-XXXXXX-2’],[‘b._trackPageview’]);

  8. @Simon: you can call _vis_opt_GA_track() function immediately after var _gaq = _gaq || []; Something like this:

    var _gaq = _gaq || []; if (typeof(_vis_opt_GA_track) == “function”) { _vis_opt_GA_track(); } _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-XXXXXX-1’],[‘_trackPageview’],[‘b._setAccount’, ‘UA-XXXXXX-2’],[‘b._trackPageview’]);

    Let me know if it helps

  9. Is there a known issue with _vis_opt_GA_track() causing visits to become treated as new visits (and thus jacking the bounce rate up to 100%)? This is really mauling our Analytics data. I’m guessing it’s some weird interaction with our setup, because third-party Analytics integration has done this in the past before, but I have no idea how to debug it.

    The difference between our setup and yours is that we don’t have an _initData() line–is that necessary? http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google%20Analytics/thread?tid=6ae93fabba94b5fd&hl=en

  10. Hi Paras

    We use Urchin Server, and it does not support custom variables only the User Defined Variable. Do you have a setting that will allow us to specify that the test group label be applied to the User Defined Var? Also, it seems that it would be simpler to use a single variable to label a visit regardless of the test participation (assuming that each visitor is limited to only a single test). Given that, could we just set the variable value with this structure “test name: test group”. That way, we don’t have to constrain GA/Urchin tracking of our active tests to the whatever the availability of multiple unique variables “slots.”

    Thanks always for sharing your ideas so freely and moving your platform forward with such agility for all of us to benefit.

  11. This is not the code that I have on my website for Google Analytics. The code I have is

    _uacct = “NNNNNNNNNNNN”;
    urchinTracker();

    Can you please help me get this up and running?

  12. Am I reading this correctly? I have a multiple URL based tests running on my site for a template test across course pages.

    I also have a goal page tracking in the test. The goal is picked up by VWO, but I’m not seeing the goal tracking in GA. Is this because I have 29 individual tests for the course template split test and GA will only show the goal results if there is one test running?

    The plugin is working for other queries. All 29 tests are on Custom Var 4.

  13. This is great feature!
    But looks like it doesn’t work with async VWO code. In async VWO snippet, the javascript contanining the “_vis_opt_GA_track()” is loaded AFTER Google Analytics sends a beacon. So the code that should set GA custom variable is skipped. As a result, we don’t have integration.
    The solution is using synchronous snippet, but I still hope this can be resolved somehow (e.g. by ordering calls to VWO and GA scripts).

    1. @Vasil: yes, we do have plans to make GA async work with GA script.

      Edit: The GA async integration now works perfectly.

  14. It’d be very nice. Anyway, I think you should mention using synchronous VWO snippet for Google Analytics integration in this post. It can save time of other people who can step on the same rake 🙂

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