So, you’ve decided to upgrade your web analytics with additional user tracking by creating sets of user outcomes. Like higher education institutions, state agencies, and businesses before you, there are several reasons to do so. Whether you need to optimize your website experience, increase RFI (information request) form completions from students, or get more leads, enhanced user tracking can provide vital contextual data.

In a typical Google Analytics installation for most organizations, these additional data points are built with Google Tag Manager. The newly-launched Google Analytics 4 can also add some of these tracking elements to your website, but in my opinion it is not ready for full-time use.

To see specific examples on how all of this can work for a particular industry, I wrote a separate article on web analytics in higher education.

The question is, then: how do you go about a web analytics user tracking project? One way is to look at your website in terms of user outcomes. Your website analytics consultant should be able to help you build them.

Organizing your website user outcomes into sets can feel like a puzzle.
Photo by Diva Plavalaguna on

What Are User Outcomes And How Do They Improve Your Web Analytics?

A “user outcome” on your website includes sets of visitor journeys that indicate different levels of interest. These outcomes can be anything from reading a blog article or viewing your home page and leaving the website, all the way through to completing a contact form.

User outcomes provide a general way of understanding whether a website visitor was more or less engaged, and can help identify issues with the site, changes to test, and advertising tactics.

Categorizing Visit Outcomes Into Sets of Behaviors

It can help to organize user outcomes into general categories of actions, based on how deeply into the “buying” process the visitor appears to be. Behaviors can be divided like this:

Disengaged Visits:

  • Single-page visits with no other interactions
  • Low time spent on the page

Low Engagement User Outcomes:

  • Single-page visits where the visitor either spends a significant amount of time on the page, or views a majority of the page content
  • Views of multiple pages, such as going from a home page to an about page, or viewing a blog article and then additional content

Moderate Engagement User Outcomes:

  • Views of multiple pages where the visitor progressesfrom one type of content to another that is set up to be deeper in the funnel. Example: going from a college degree program page to pages on enrollment, campus life, or financial aid
  • Views of multiple pages with high time on page and interactions with page elements, such as on-page calculators, quizzes, “wizards” and other items

High Engagement User Outcomes:

  • Completion of lead forms or interest forms
  • Views of 5+ pages

Building Your Own Sets of Website Outcomes

model figure standing on map
Photo by slon_dot_pics on

The bullets above are only examples of the kinds of website interactions you can use to build your user outcomes. Almost any website behavior can be used to do this, with the appropriate tracking setup. What’s important to take away from this is that the user outcomes you determine need to be the right fit for your particular industry, organization, and business needs. Thinking through this process can also help identify gaps in your current website that need to be addressed.

We Have Web User Outcomes Set. How Do I Apply Them To My Web Analytics?

This is where you will likely need to reach out to your marketing metrics consultant. Work closely with them to make sure that the interaction points along the outcomes you’ve designed match up to the user tracking you will have set up. A visual map like a mind map, spreadsheet, or chart may help.

Deploying web user tracking is a project where your marketing team and analytics expert need to work together and iterate until you come to the best solution for both tracking and reporting.

Need Help Creating User Outcomes To Improve Your Web Analytics?

If you need assistance with the process of determining user outcome sets, building the associated tracking elements, or deploying a complete solution, I’m glad to discuss. Set up a free consultation with me.