Note that this article was written based on Universal Analytics. For equivalent information on GA4, read our guide to tracking forms using Google Analytics 4.
“Can’t I just use Google Analytics to track my forms? It’s free.”
The short answer to this: Yes you can.
The slightly longer answer: Yes but…..
The Google Analytics (GA) question is probably the most common thing we get asked at Zuko. With that in mind, we’ve created this article to give an overview of how you might use GA to track your form and also the pros and cons of such an approach compared to using a more specialised form analytics product ;-)
Tagging up GA isn’t our day job so this is not going to be a detailed blow-by-blow account of how to do it but we should give you enough of an overview to get started. If you need that in-depth guide you can watch this video from Measureschool or read this article from Owox which will give you a more advanced impression of the topic.
We’re assuming that you already have GA set up. If you don’t, make that your first task.
That done, the first thing you’ll probably want to look at is how many successful submissions of your form are occurring. You can then compare this figure to the GA session data for the form page so you can calculate the conversion rate over the time period you are looking at.
To do this, you’ll need to set up the form submission as a goal in Google Analytics:
There are various ways to achieve this but in a nutshell, the main ones are:
Page View - as above, triggering when the “Thank You” page shows
Form Submission - you can set this tag to fire when the form is successfully submitted
Element Visibility - if you don’t have a “Thank You” URL but do display a successful completion message on the form page you can set the trigger to run when the message is shown to the user.
Once you have configured the event and trigger, you can then set it up as a goal in GA. Pick “Event” instead of “Destination” on the Goal Description page and then add in the Category, Action or Label values you set up in GTM.
Setting up submission tracking is useful but it is only the start. You’ve probably got a back-end system anyway which can tell you how many form completions are coming in so setting up submission tracking only may not be of that much value.
The real treasure from any form tracking tool comes when you are able to dig down into detailed user behaviour to answer the core questions - when, where and why are people abandoning your form?
Ascertaining this using Google requires a black belt in GA / GTM Jiu Jitsu but it is possible. As mentioned previously, we’re not the experts in this field so we’ll point you in the right direction rather than doing a full hand-holding exercise.
Using these advanced methods, you can set up GA to track the individual fields in your form and answer these questions:
Which fields are users interacting with? Trigger and track events when users click or type on one of your fields.
Which fields are users abandoning on? Understand which fields are the last ones interacted with before the user left the form (so probably cause the abandonment).
How long did users spend completing each field? Know where the users spend most of their time so you can focus your optimisation efforts.
With these techniques you can also adapt the tracking to analyse these metrics:
These data points can be hugely valuable in identifying user friction within your form, enabling you to solve the UX issues and, ultimately, improve your form’s conversion rate.
However, if you took the time to visit the links we shared, you’ll know that getting everything set up isn’t a simple process and will involve a lot of specialist input and testing - not cheap. Whether you go ahead with the exercise will depend on whether you have the resources (and budget if you need to get an external supplier to help you) to get this done, balanced against the potential benefits to your bottom line.
Call us irretrievably biased but, yes there are. There are various UX software products that can be set up out of the box to immediately start tracking your forms. Speaking for Zuko only, it’s a simple matter of adding two tags to your website. The platform then automatically pulls in fields as users interact with them - no need to laboriously code each one. Much easier. It can even be set up by non-developers and be ready to go in minutes.
If that isn’t enough to persuade you, Craig Sullivan, Optimiser in Chief at Optimal Visit and owner of the OptimiseorDie twitter channel, said this about the dilemma:
"Building this in Google Analytics assumes you have the developer time to do the coding. It will never be quite right, so expect it WILL take longer than you estimate and you'll need at least a couple of iterations. You'll also need to work out a decent event taxonomy and grammar structure, so you can actually read and analyse the data later on.
Then you need to create a series of calculated metrics using the event structure you've made and several custom or automated reports, so you can understand it all. It's an awful lot of work and almost nobody bothers for good reason.
I have only seen one half decent Google Analytics form integration after looking at thousands of sites and analytics setups. There's a reason why. It's a giant pain in the backside to build and maintain. Just install Zuko instead and save yourself the hassle."
You’ve made it this far. It only seems right to reward you with a summary of the options to help you make a decision.
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