Category: Configuration

Google Analytics header

Marketing Results: Google Analytics Behavior Tracking

Marketers-at-large spend billions of dollars in an effort to convert their brand audience into foot traffic at physical points of purchase.  In our industry – builders & developers face unique challenges as competition for homebuyer attention can be high in the face of many choices, busy lives & a growing aversion to traditional sales methods.

The Marketers challenge:

Reach > Engage > Connect

In service of this objective, the effectiveness of your website should be judged partially on its effectiveness at:

  1. Engagement
  2. Conversion

MapsPLUS can play a unique role in helping you to engage your audience with a unique visual story and connect to prospects through measured lead capture. Through its integration with Google Analytics – MapsPLUS can deliver understanding of your online customer’s journey and clear steps necessary to optimize lead capture.

MapsPLUS | Google Analytics Integration

The Google Analytics tool-set is incredibly powerful and using on it on your website is essential to gaining insight into where your website is working for you. With a typical MapsPLUS map application located on a single URL, what are the ways in which we can we get the most relevant Analytics data about our user’s interaction? The key is to use Google’s event tracking, goals, and funnels, to paint an accurate picture of your visitor behavior.

So what kinds of things can we track with events? Anything that you can track with an on-page JavaScript event, and in combination, any event in connection with the Google Maps API. This includes clicks on lots, zoom changes, hover events, and more.

To make things easier, we’ve integrated the core events into the MapsPLUS STARTER CODE – so it comes ready-to-enable right out of the box. We’ve created the ability to track an event with Google Analytics, one line of code can be added within to the JavaScript event. For example, if a button were clicked, using jQuery, your code would look something like this:

This tracking code accepts the following arguments:

ga('send', 'event', category, action, label, value);

The first two arguments are required and indicate that you are tracking an event. The category and action argument are also are required, and customizable to how you’d like to see your data organized within Analytics. Finally, the label and value arguments are also optional. More information about event tracking and these arguments can be found here:

https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/events

Goals

Goals are also incredible useful with Analytics. By setting up goals, you can associate each of your events with a goal. For example, if you were to consider an Ajax “Thank you” message from a contact form to be a goal, you can set up an event (within the Ajax success) to track when your form has been successfully submitted. Similarly, if you wanted to create a goal for every time a lot info dialog was opened, you could add a goal for that as well.

Funnels

Google Analytics’ Funnels give you the ability to create steps associated with your goals. This allows you to see the success rate of each page and helps you determine where you might be losing your user’s interest. With respect to our MapsPLUS maps, you can use funnels with goals that you create with goals of type “Destination” (where your goal is an actual URL destination), however, it is currently not possible to create a funnel on a goal that is entered as an “Event” (a button click, etc.) In some cases, such as our MapsPLUS map, you may indeed want some of your user interaction with maps to be defined as goals. As a workaround, you can use Google’s virtual page views as an alternative. Instead of using an “Event” goal, create a “Destination” goal, and use the following code to track a virtual page view:

ga('send', 'pageview', '/maps/community_1/lot_clicked');

This would be used instead of the event tracking code used with event tracking. Similarly, each step in your funnel toward this goal would use a virtual page view. The downside to using this approach is that these virtual page views will add to your overall page views, which may create misleading results in your reports.

Yes, MapsPLUS maps are typically located on one page, but don’t let that deter you from using Google Analytics to gain valuable information about your visitors.

Google Analytics Funnel Visualization mockup May 6 2015

12EasyStepsInfographic1

 

1. Basic Plan – Start out with any map, it can be an illustrator file, engineering or architectural AutoCAD drawings. Use this as your map building platform. This starter map can be super basic, as you will be working over top of it and using it to keep the map scaling accurate.

2. Map Artist – Select a Map Artist, either hire your own or we can provide an artist for you; we recommend a designer with AutoCad and cartography experience. This Map Artist will create a stylized tile set of map overlays for google maps, to suit the look and feel of your product or service.

3. Optimize – Whether we create your map overlays, or receive them from your designer, we will optimize them for perfect universal viewing over the web on any device using tiling and other techniques, to ensure a robust experience.

4. XLS – Create a starter inventory of each lot, apartment or unit and all the necessary information will need to be created and uploaded. We can then plug in to your unit database, then update and add information dynamically once the initial inventory has been created.

5. Draw Units – Each area of interest, whether it be a local amenity, a lot or apartment, is represented on MapsPLUS as a colored outline called a polygon. These polygons are colored to represent sales status or any other state that you care to represent on your map.

6. Upload – We will now take your map overlay or overlays, and upload and positioned them in google maps, to allow people to fully understand the location of your real-estate project in terms of the incredible content google maps has to offer, such as streetview, photos and videos.

7. Settings – Choose the unique configuration of your starter map, so that attributes of the style, positioning and user experience can be set-up to reflect your unique vision.

8. Generate Code Block – Simply, at the press of a button, download the block of code that will be used as the starter code for your map.

9. Copy & Paste – Copy your code block and paste it in the desired location on your website. That code will call the map, to be rendered from our servers, onto your page quickly and reliably.

10. User Experience – (Optional) Taking the starter code, you can craft an experience that is engaging and really tells the unique story of your real-estate project. We have user experience experts on staff to help you and your team with this.

11. Embellish – (Optional) All the possibilities in the world are open to visually tell your real-estate story, everything from 3D tours, drone flights, visualizations, video, etc.

12. Wow Factor – (Optional) Market test your map to see if your map accurately tells your story. You can always come back using your analytics to find ways to optimize the user experience and maximize it’s conversion capability.

Code Samples: Something to Get You Started

Here is a sample of the initialization, all in one place and whole, that will help get you up and running quickly.

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Making it All Work: Initialization

Once you have your mapConfig all put together nicely, pass the configuration into the plugin and tell it what to do.

In this case #mapsplus is the ID of the target layer for the map as described in Step 1 with a “#” in front to let jQuery know to seach by ID for the element.

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Configuring the Dialog Window: Displaying Your Specific Lot Data

Dialog Options

The dialog window has many configurable options and functionality. Check the jQuery UI Dialog documentation for detailed information on how to customize the dialog.

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Configuring Your Map: Your Basic Settings

Target Layer

The first thing you’re going to need is a target DIV to put the map in. Give that target an id like this.

<div id="mapsplus"></div>

In the basic map configuration there is only one setting that you’ll need to edit.

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Requirements: What You Need to Get Started

The jQuery plugin requires a few freely available resources. You’ll need to download these and set them up on your server. You could also link directly to the files hosted on a public CDN like Google Hosted Libraries.

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Want Us to Do It For You?

Contact Us

We are map designers, artists & developers. We built MapsPLUS to help you publish interactive maps more quickly and easily, but if you'd like to collaborate with us - we'd love to help you. We've designed maps and created interactive mapping tools for clients over the past 2 decades. If you'd like to know more about our firm - we are E2 + Associates.

Get in Touch

The best way to contact us is either by email, through our contact form or by grabbing the phone and calling Sean Young at 1 (888) 443-7446.

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