Welcome to part 2 of this series on how to track on-site campaigns, for example, teasers on your homepage. After taking a deeper look at In-Page Analytics in part 1, we are now going to dive into the world of Event Tracking and Virtual Pageviews and offer you a script that will track all the clicks on your homepage by default.
One of the best things about In-Page Analytics was that you don’t need to add any code to your page or alter your links. With Event Tracking or Virtual Pageviews though, there is no way around some additional coding.
Event Tracking or Virtual Pageviews?
So what’s the difference between Event Tracking and Virtual Pageviews again? To make a long story short: With Virtual Pageviews, you can track Pageviews for “virtual” URLs (you can decide their name), even though there is no real pageview. For example, anytime someone clicks a link on a teaser, you can tell Google Analytics to record a virtual pageview like “/teaser-click-to-url-x”.
Almost the same happens with Event Tracking. To stick with our example, when somebody clicks on a teaser link, you can tell Google Analytics to track this as an Event. The major difference is that Event Tracking doesn’t create fictional Pageviews and thus doesn’t inflate your Pageview-based data. Imagine that every click on every teaser on your homepage was tracked as an additional Pageview. That would skew your data a lot because it also has a major impact on other data like Bounce and Exit Rate, Pageviews per Visit etc…
I prefer Event Tracking
That is the main reason why I do not use Virtual Pageviews for this purpose. Be aware though that Event Tracking can also skew your bounce rate and Time on Site/Page metrics, for example when you use it to track outbound links (usually bounces). Luckily, Google Analytics has recently published a way to work around this with “Non-Interaction Events”.