Using Google Analytics for A/B testing
May 31, 2016 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Using Google Analytics, I've managed to set up page A and page B to do some A/B testing. So far, so good. My sticking point: What I'd like to measure is which page sees more users clicking through to an external site. I can't figure out how to do this.

(In general, I'm not a total internet dummy. I might, however, fall into the category of knowing just enough to be dangerous, which may be how I got myself into this.)

Squarespace offers no facility for A/B testing that I'm aware of, so I set it up with Google Analytics. The A and B pages themselves are working. That's the good news.

The page in question is the home page of the site. On that page, there's a link to an Amazon page. What I want to know: which version of the home page leads to more people clicking on the Amazon link. Seems reasonable enough, no?

I've looked into setting "Goals" to match that criterion, but somehow it's not quite working. For instance, when I run "Verify" it either tells me that 100% of people clicked on the Amazon link —which I know is not the case — or 0% ... which I also know is not the case.

The interface itself — particularly in the Goals page — is pretty opaque to me. The Google help pages I've seen don't really seem to contemplate this case. I can't find anything else that does, either.

What am I missing? How can I get this to work?
posted by veggieboy to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can't set up goals because you don't have the data to make them work. Google Analytics doesn't fire a hit on external link clicks by default, so you'll have to slightly customize your analytics setup so that you're firing an event when those outbound clicks happen. I assume that since you've already set up two pages and are a/b testing them (using website optimizer?) that this sort of customization is within your ability.

Google has pretty good documentation on how to do this.

After setting up outbound tracking, you'll just set up the goal to look for an event with the appropriate category, action, and label – if you use the code in the documentation above as written, that will be 'outbound, click,'.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 7:47 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

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