Magnifying GlassFor a website, gaining RSS subscribers requires hard work as visitors prefer to subscribe websites with fresh/quality content & expect this to be continious.

On the other hand, RSS subscribers are very valuable loyal readers which follow the website regularly.

So, for a website, it is very important to analyze "how visitors become RSS readers" like:

  • from which websites do they reach to yours
  • which page of yours is the one that gains you most subscribers, etc.

Google Analytics, besides all the simplicity it offers, has a very functional event tracking method for analyzing custom events which we will be using to track new RSS subscriptions and see how to analyzing them deeper.

 

Part 1 – Applying Event Tracking Code


There are currently 2 different versions of Google Analytics tracking code used:

  • The standard tracking (gaJsHost)
  • Asynchronous tracking – beta (_gaq)

The asynchronous tracking code has a major advantage over the standard version's event tracking which is: it will be able to track the clicks even if tha page is not fully loaded.

Codes for both versions will be mentioned.

Google Analytics RSS Tracking

No JavaScript frameworks version

Standard tracking

The standard Google Analytics event tracking code uses the _trackEvent method as follows

_trackEvent(category, action, opt_label, opt_value)

The code added to our RSS link will look like:

<a href="http://feeds2.feedburner.com/webresourcesdepot" onclick="pageTracker._trackEvent('rss', 'clicked')">

You may have realized that we have used only 2 of the variables and didn't include opt_label & opt_value as it is optional.

Asynchronous tracking

The Google Analytics asynchronous tracking code uses the _gaq.push function to call the _trackEvent method:

<a href="http://feeds2.feedburner.com/webresourcesdepot" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'rss', 'clicked'])">Subscribe To Our RSS Feed</a>

jQuery Version

Standard tracking

Let's assume that we have added the class="rss" to our RSS links for making it easier to find the clicked items:

jQuery('.rss').click(function() {
    pageTracker._trackEvent('rss', 'clicked');
});

Asynchronous tracking

jQuery('.rss').click(function() {
    _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'rss', 'clicked']);
});

MooTools Version

Again, we're thinking that the class="rss" is added to our RSS links.

Standard Tracking

$('.rss').addEvent('click', function(){
    pageTracker._trackEvent('rss', 'clicked');
});

Asynchronous tracking

$('.rss').addEvent('click', function(){
    _gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'rss', 'clicked']);
});

 

Part 2 – Analyzing Events With Google Analytics


After we placed the event tracking as defined above, Google Analytics starts to collect that data and displays is under the Content>Event Tracking" menu.

We can easily see howmany clicks our RSS links gets everyday easily. It is even possible to use the optional values of the tracking codes and track RSS subscriptions with multiple labels like: mainRSSButton, footerRSSLink, etc.

In order to findout which visitors convert to RSS subscribers, "Custom Reporting" is exactly what we need.

Google Analytics Custom Report

Let's create 2 custom reports to see:

  • which content results in more RSS subscribers
  • visitors coming from which websites become subscribers

Which content results in more RSS subscribers:

  • Click "Custom Reporting>Create new custom report".
  • Select "Content>Total Events" as the metric.
  • Select "Content>Page Title (or Page if your page titles don't define the content)" as the dimension. A good idea would be adding a 2nd dimension like "Traffic Sources>Keyword" to findout the keywords that forwarded users to the page.
  • Give the report a name by clicking "edit" at the top of the "Create new custom report" & save the report.

Visitors coming from which websites become RSS subscribers:

  • Click "Custom Reporting>Create new custom report".
  • Select "Content>Total Events" as the metric.
  • Select "Traffic Sources>Source" as the dimension. A good idea would be adding a 2nd dimension like "Content>Page Title (or Page if your page titles don't define the content)" to findout the most popular contents from that referrer that ended up in a new subscribers.
  • Give the report a name by clicking "edit" at the top of the "Create new custom report" & save the report.

Both reports are very similar but they offer you the data from different point of views.

Now, you know which type of posts convert to RSS subscribers & which websites are referring you new RSS subscribers.

And, you got the point. There are 100s of possibilities in creating reports. It is totally up to what you are in need of.

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