Whether you're launching a new website or transferring an existing domain over to NationBuilder, it's important to start tracking your site's performance from the beginning. Untracked data cannot be recovered so the longer you wait, the more you'll miss. Here's a quick list of important first steps and strategies to get the most out of your tracking.
With NationBuilder, it's easy to set up Google Analytics and get started right away. Here's how:
- Get your Google Analytics account number. If you already have an account then you can find the number in the home section of the Google Analytics dashboard, located on the far left of the top nav. It looks like this: UA-1234567-8. If you don't yet have an account, you can register for one here.
- Enter your Google Analytics account number. Log into your NationBuilder control panel and navigate to Website > Site settings > Analytics setup. Copy your account number and paste it into the field labeled "Google Analytics code". This will automatically place the tracking code on each page of your website so you don’t have to do so manually. Just save the settings and you’re done!
Before diving into the fun reports, it's a good idea to optimize the Google Analytics admin settings. This will help ensure clean data moving forward. These items aren't mandatory so if you don't have the info or it doesn't apply to your needs, feel free to skip ahead.
- Create a custom view: All accounts start with a default view that tracks data to your domain without any filters or modifications. It's recommended to leave this view untouched and create a new one before making any changes. This way you'll always have that default baseline for an historical comparison. To do so, navigate to Admin > View (dropdown) > Create new view.
- Create filters: Use filters to permanently remove all website traffic data that meets certain criteria. A common use case is for an organization to exclude their own internal IP address so the data does not include their staff's visits and actions. You can also use filters to isolate activity in a specific website directory or track your subdomains in different views for easy reporting. To get started with filters, navigate to Admin > View > Filters and don't forget to check out the Google help documentation for additional setup details. Remember, it's best to only apply filters to your custom views.
- Create goals: Use goals to measure how many times a specific action on your website was completed. To track goals on your NationBuilder website, navigate to Admin > View > Goals:
- Goal setup: Choose Custom
- Goal description: Name your goal and choose Destination
- Goal details: Under Destination, choose "Begins with" and enter "/goal/[slug]"
The [slug] is the name of the page with the action you'd like to track. For example, if you're tracking signups from a form located at yourwebsite.com/signup then you would enter "/goal/signup" into that field.
The standard Google Analytics reports will begin showing data within 24 hours of when you input the account number into NationBuilder. If you're unfamiliar with the information contained in these reports, here's a quick overview:
- Audience: Who came to your website? These reports contain visits and pageviews metrics, as well as visitor demographics, technology, and geographic location.
- Acquisition: Where did they come from? Look here for source and keyword data, and see how your traffic splits between inbound channels (direct, organic, paid, referral, social, email).
- Behavior: What did they do? Use these reports to analyze individual website pages, traffic flow, and other online content.
- Conversions: Did they convert? These reports review the number of times that visitors completed the specific website actions that you predefined as goals during admin setup. This is critical in determining how effective your website is at helping your overall organizational objective - tracking volunteer signups, petition signatures, products sold, etc.
NationBuilder automatically tags traffic from your email campaigns so the data will correctly show in Google Analytics. There are 3 elements to this tracking:
- Source = Your nation slug
- Medium = "email"
- Campaign = The email campaign slug
The quickest way to view this data is in the Acquisition > All Traffic report. In the "Secondary dimension" dropdown choose Advertising > Campaign. The top of your report will now look like:
You will now see website traffic broken down by Source / Medium, and Campaign where applicable. If you then drill down into the email medium, all email campaigns will be isolated to one report. Make sure to select the appropriate date range. This technique applies to any standard report that allows you to select the Primary and Secondary dimensions.
Pro tip 1: Create a segment to view all reports based on specified criteria. To do so, click the down arrow next to All Visits at the top of any report and then "+ Create New Segment". To segment out email traffic go to Traffic Sources and set Medium to exactly match "email".
Pro tip 2: Add your own campaign tracking to other inbound marketing links. To do so, simply add the required query string parameters to the end of a URL like this: yourwebsite.com/eg?utm_source=[source]&utm_medium=[medium]&utm_campaign=[campaign]. Check out the Google URL Builder for easy campaign construction and additional information.