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Google Analytics Reports: User Defined

written by: Lucinda Watrous•edited by: Misty Faucheux•updated: 10/22/2008

With all the good stuff you've learned about your visitors through this series, how could you need something else? Well, we all do, and that's why Google has a report for you called "User Defined" which means you control the information you track in that report. Sounds great, right? Keep reading!

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    The User Defined report can be accessed by clicking Visitors and then User Defined. When you first open your account nothing will be in this report because you will need to define what variables you want tracked through the report. This will walk you through the information you can include in the report, and provide an overview of how to define these variables for tracking in the report.

    What this will do for you is give you an extra bit of control over the information you are receiving about your site. Though many of us have the same general goals and uses for the information presented in Analytics, certain projects and situations mandate more information, or certain aspects of the information to be more closely monitored with greater detail. This feature is here for you to utilize in a manner to help you where the presets may be lacking for you.

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    Your Options for Data Tracking

    All you need is a snippet of javascript code to track the information you want. Your code will look something like this:

    <script type="text/java script"> _utmSetVar('nameofvariable');</script>

    In this script, you are using the _utmSetVar code to name the variable that you want to track. What you see inisde the parentheses and single quotation marks is what you choose.

    For example, let's segment and track visitors by job title. When your form asks your users to submit their job function, you should have the above code for each job title that you allow as a choice in the form. This way Google will know to track the variables independently.

    You can also track visitors by the links they click with a code that looks something like this:

    <a href=”link.html” onClick=”_utmSetVar(‘nameofvariable);>Click here</a>

    A third option is to track visitors by the pages they visit in a certain section, with a code that look something like this:

    <body onLoad=”javascript:_utmSetVar(‘'nameofsitesectionvariable’)”>

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    Making the Report Work

    This leaves us with two questions. Where do you put the code, and what do you want to track? All you need to do is place your codes in with the rest of your Web site code. That's the easy part. Deciding what to track, however, is not so easy as the majority of it will be determined by your specific business and your goals. You should use the User Defined report to find out more specifics about your audience to see how well you are doing with your target market.