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How to Measure User Intent with Google Analytics

Abishek G. M

Abishek G. M

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In your traditional marketing funnel, you have three stages: awareness, consideration, and conversion.


Those maps neatly to your Google Analytics reports acquisition, behaviour, and conversion.


The top and bottom of the funnel are incredibly easy to measure. In fact, they aren’t even dependent on your Analytics setup. If you have log files for your server, you can figure out how many people came to your site. Your cart software can show you just how many people purchased on your site.


The middle of your funnel is incredibly hard to measure. Why? Because at bare minimum it requires customization through event tracking. But even if you set up robust event tracking in your Analytics platform, it’s still hard to determine what pushes someone over the edge from visitor to customer.


Today we’re going to talk about: mapping out intent indicators on your site, setting up event tracking, and ultimately building an intent scoring model that you can use for remarketing purposes.


Intent indicators

Do you have blog articles on your site? Do you have videos on your site? Then you have intent indicators.


Go through your site to find any action a potential customer could take that you don’t consider a conversion.


It’s almost like a content audit, but you’re taking stock of activities instead.


Grading activities

This is the fun part. Once you’ve got every possible non-conversion activity in a list, rank them from least perceived intent to most perceived intent.


If you work in house, do this twice: once for you and once for your potential customers.


If you work at an agency, do this three times: once for you, once for your client and once for your potential customers.


When you’re done, take the average for each interaction.


Congratulations! You’ve just created the scaffolding for your intent model.


Then it’s all about deciding what constitutes high, medium and low intent. Since the average value of action among these 7 activities is 3.5, look at it in terms of 1 activity, 3 activities and 5 activities.


Once you have these scoring ranges set up, that becomes the framework for your remarketing campaigns.


Setting up event tracking

Now the issue becomes, do you have a way to measure all of these activities? If they don’t have unique page views on your site associated with them, then you probably don’t.


This is where Google Tag Manager can save your bacon (or bacon-like meat substitute).


A few tags in Google Tag Manager will give you programmatic click tracking on every page of your site with automatic events being passed into Google Analytics associated with those.


Goal values

Once the events are flowing into Google Analytics, you can configure goals around them and assign dollar values to those goals.


Don’t worry, these aren’t real dollar values but just a vehicle to get your new event scoring model into Google Analytics and have it start aggregating scores on each visitor.


Building your intent segments

Over time the goal values will build up leaving you with the ability to bucket visitors in three different segments based on their level of intent.


Remarketing based on intent

Thanks to Analytics and its seamless integration with AdWords, you’re able to import your segments as remarketing lists.


Then you can build campaigns around the visitor’s level of intent and serve them up with appropriate content.