Custom Variable and Event Reporting in Classic Google Analytics

  • Updated

Once you've completed integration of Google Analytics (GA) with Demandbase, make the most of your Demandbase Real-Time Identification data by creating custom variable and custom event reports inside GA.

Custom Variable Reports

Building a Custom Variable Report

Begin by following Google's documentation for setting up a custom report.

The documentation explain how to show page view metrics by industry with the ability to show companies within each industry using Demandbase data in custom variables. These metrics are designed to give an impression of overall behavior and engagement by industry and company name.

For the purposes of this demonstration, assume the following custom variable mapping:

GA Variable Demandbase Attribute Example Value
Custom Variable 1 Audience Enterprise
Custom Variable 2 Employee Range Small, Mid-Market, Enterprise
Custom Variable 3 Company Name Demandbase
Custom Variable 4 Revenue Range $10M - $25M
Custom Variable 5 Industry Software & Technology
Important: Your actual mapping will probably be different! Verify which Demandbase attributes are sent to each custom variable in your implementation.
  1. Log into your Google Analytics instance and go to the Custom Reporting Tab, then click +New Custom Report.
  2. Name the report "Demandbase Custom Report".
  3. Name the Report Tab "Industry".
  4. Name the metric group "Pageview Metrics" then click + add metric, and add the following metrics:
    • Pageviews
    • Unique Pageviews
    • Bounce Rate
    • Pages / visit
    •  % New Visits
    • Unique Visitors
  5. Next click + add metric group, and name this group Timing Metrics, then click + add metric, and add the following metrics:
    • Avg. Visit Duration
    • Time on Page
    • Avg. Time on Page
    • Visit Duration
    • Time after Search
    • Search Depth
  6. Now it's time to add Demandbase attributes as Dimension Drilldowns. Click + add dimension and select the custom variable value that is populated with industry from Demandbase. In this example we use Custom Variable (Value 05).
    Important: Be sure to use the custom variable values to show the data values, rather than the custom variable keys, which simply show the label of the custom variable.
  7. Next, Click + add dimension and select the custom variable value that is populated with the company name (in this case we choose Custom Variable (Value 03).
  8. Add additional dimensions: Landing Page and Exit Page.
    At this point the report setup will looks something like this:
    Custom Variable 1.png
    Other interesting/suggested drill down dimensions could include traffic sources (Referral Path, Source), Advertising, additional custom variables (revenue/employee band), etc.
  9. Click Save at the bottom of the page to view the report.

Using a Custom Variable Report

After saving the custom report (as built above), we have metrics broken down by industry. Click the Page View Metrics and Timing Metrics metric group links to toggle the graph and table values. You can add more metrics to each group or add additional metric groups.
Custom Variable 2.png

Select a metric from the drop-down menu below the metric group links to draw the graph for that metric. You can plot two metrics at the same time to compare them.

Custom Variable 3.png

Click one of the industry names in the table to drill-down into the secondary dimension, in this case, company name. Now we can view these metrics for each company within an industry. Click a company name to drill-down to landing page and exit page.

Custom Variable 4.png

Use the secondary dimension drop down to add additional dimensions. These can be custom variables or other page- and visitor-related fields. Additional drill-down dimensions can be added by editing the report. Drag the dimensions to re-order them as desired.

Custom Event Reports

Using the Demandbase Google Analytics Connector enables the configuration of custom events that send company profile information into the event category, event action, and event label fields available in GA. Be sure to familiarize yourself with Google's Event Tracking Guide before setting-up custom events with the Demandbase connector.

By default, the Demandbase Google Analytics Connector will send a single event that indicates Demandbase was called. This event carries the custom variables into GA, so the general page view tracking is unaffected by the Demandbase integration. This special custom event sends Demandbase / API Resolution / IP API as the respective event category / action / label. When testing a recently-deployed GA Connector tag, go to Content > Events > Top Events to check for the events sent by the Demandbase connector.

Additional custom events can be configured to send company profile attributes to the event category/action/label fields. These event fields are most useful for filtering profiles and establishing goals, and are not a total replacement for custom variables.

Custom Variables vs. Custom Events

Important: With the full launch of Universal Analytics, using Custom Events for Demandbase company profile attributes is no longer necessary and therefore no longer recommended. We highly recommend an upgrade to Universal Analytics. If you are using Custom Events, talk to your Customer Success Manager about an upgrade today.

Custom variables and custom events are the two "buckets" where Demandbase company profile data can be stored in GA. In general, custom variables are the preferred method for sending data as they provide the most flexibility and accuracy in reporting. With the Demandbase Google Analytics Connector, custom variables are set once per visit. This means the same values will persist across the entire visit, and they'll persist with the visitor across multiple visits. Sending Demandbase data to custom variables provides an easy-to-manage yet powerful way to segment and view web metrics by detailed account-level information.

Custom events can be used to bring in additional Demandbase company profile attributes when necessary, but they're not available in as many reports as custom variables. Custom events have three "fields" or attributes for each event --event category, event action, event label. Unlike custom variables which persist across the visit, custom events all fire on each page view, so the number of times a custom event is seen does not reflect the number of visitors, rather the number of page views. Because of this drawback, custom events are best suited for creating profile filters and building goals around the behavior of a particular segment.

See Google's documentation to learn more.

Recommended Configuration

There are over 40 attributes available in the company profile provided by Demandbase, and you can choose to send any of the attributes into your GA custom varibales and events. These recommendations are provided as a starting point, however actual configurations will vary, depending on business needs and requirements.

Custom Variables

Demandbase generally recommends capturing the following attributes into custom variables:

  1. Audience
  2. Industry
  3. Revenue Range OR Employee Range
  4. Custom Account Watch attribute (usually Account Status)*
  5. Company Name
Important: Account Watch attributes are determined by your account setup. If not using Account Watch, Demandbase recommends using both Employee Range and Revenue Range.

Custom Events

Demandbase recommends setting at least one custom event with company profile data to allow for the filtering of profiles and creation of goals based on company attributes.

  • Event Category: Audience
  • Event Action: Industry
  • Event Label: Company Name

To provide an additional level of granularity, Demandbase recommends setting-up additional custom events to capture audience segment, sub-industry and additional company size attributes. When sending multiple custom events, it is best to have a common category between events such as "Demandbase", audience or event company name. Here are a few examples of recommended custom event configurations:

  • Event Category: Audience
  • Event Action: Industry
  • Event Label: Sub Industry
  • Event Category: Audience
  • Event Action: Audience Segment
  • Event Label: Company Name
  • Event Category: Company Name
  • Event Action: Revenue Range
  • Event Label: Employee Range
  • Event Category: Company Name
  • Event Action: Industry
  • Event Label: Account Status

Custom Advanced Segments

Visit Google's Segments page for details on getting started with Advanced Segments.

After building a custom report, we can apply Advanced Segments using custom variables to create views of reports for a specific target segments. An Advanced Segments specifies values of particular attributes to include/exclude from the data set for a report.

When viewing a report, click the Advanced Segments button, then click + New Custom Segment.

Custom Variable 5.png

In this example, we select only companies within the $10M - $25M or $5M - $10M revenue range and in the Business Services or Software & Technology industries. When typing values for the variable filters, a convenient autocomplete list of possible values appears. This list is created automatically based on the actual visitor values that have been received for those fields. After filling out the fields, give the segment a name, then click Test Segment to view the graph with the segment applied. Once you are satisfied with the result, click Save Segment.

See Creating an Advanced Segment for a field-by-field walk through of this page.

Custom Variable 6.png

Advanced segments can also be used to exclude a particular group of visitors from a report. For example, creating a custom segment using company name to exclude internal traffic.

Sharing Advanced Segments

See Share Customizations via Permalinks.

Using Custom Events in Profile Filters and Goals

While custom variables are the primary mechanism for segmenting data in GA with Demandbase attributes, they are not available for filtering profiles or building goals. The event category, event action, and event label fields, on the other hand, are available in this capacity.

Important: Only Administrators have access to edit profiles and create goals.

To manage a profile, click Admin on the far right, then select a profile. From here, select either Filters or Goals.

Tip: Advance Segments and Intelligence Events can be managed from this area as well.

Custom Event Goals

Under Goals, select the Event radio button, select a match type, then enter a value that corresponds to the value sent from Demandbase. For example, if the audience attribute is mapped to event category, enter a value for audience. It is not required to enter all three event fields. Your goal may relate to any combination of category, action or label.

Custom Variable 7.png

Custom Event Profile Filters

Using custom events to filter profiles provides unique flexibility within Google Analytics. This allows administrators to establish separate login areas where users can view only the traffic that is relevant to them. For example a filter that only has particular industries, company sizes, or even a particular sales rep territory.

Simply select Custom filter then Exclude or Include event category, event action, or event label as the filter field. Then finally enter the expected value from Demandbase in the Filter Pattern field.

Custom Variable 8.png

Visitor Flow

With Demandbase's company profile data in custom variables, the visitor flow analysis becomes less unknown and more useful to B2B data analysts.

To view the flow of visitors through your site for values of a given custom variable, select a custom variable from the green dimension menu on the far left side of the visitor flow.

Custom segments can also be used to isolate and combine particular values of custom variables. Combining the first level dimension and custom segments gives insight into particular verticals, audiences, sizes of companies or particular accounts, allowing for a deeper level of granularity within the flow view.

Custom Variable 9.png

For a general overview of the Visitor Flow in Google Analytics, see Analyze your data with the visitor flow report.

Intelligence Events

Once you have setup custom Advanced Segments using Demandbase data in Custom Variables, you can use the segments to trigger alerts known as Intelligence Events. These events can be sent via email or SMS. See Creating Custom Alerts for instructions on setting up Intelligence Events.

Dashboard Widgets

Both custom variables and custom events can be used to filter dashboard widgets. Simply select a custom variable value or event field in the green dimension drill down within an Widget Settings menu. This applies only to the widget being configured.

Custom Variable 10.png

Additionally, custom advanced segments that use custom variables and events can be applied to dashboards. This temporarily applies the segment to every widget on the dashboard. Combining more than one advanced segment to a dashboard is an effective "or" of the segments.

Custom Variable 11.png

Sharing Custom Reports and Dashboards

Google Analytics allows users to export and share report and dashboard configurations. Sharing a configuration does not export or share any data. When importing a report that uses custom variables with Demandbase data, make sure the profile to which the report is imported maps the same Demandbase attributes to the same custom variables. For example, if one profile has company name mapped to custom variable 1, this report may not function properly if imported into a profile that has industry mapped to custom variable 1. In this case the report can still be imported, but the configuration should be modified after importing to reflect the same metrics.

To share a custom report or dashboard, follow these steps.

Share a Custom Report

  1. Click the custom report tab.
  2. In the list of reports, select Share from the dropdown list on the far right.
    Custom Variable 12.png
  3. Copy and paste the generated link and send it to the user you want to share the report with. This link allows the user to import your report configuration, but no data is imported.
    Custom Variable 13.png
  4. Upon clicking the link provided, the person needs to select a profile and set a name for the report.
    Custom Variable 14.png

Share a Dashboard Configuration

  1. Click on the Home tab
  2. Use the Share Dashboard button to create a link.
    This process works the same as sharing a report.
    Custom Variable 15.png

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