New Google Analytics Asynchronous Tracking Code
17:33 on Wed, 16 Dec 2009 | Analytics | 0 Comments
Rob recently posted a piece about the importance of page load time, and offered up a range of useful advice and tips as to how you might work to improve your user experience by working to improve your site.
Interestingly, Google has recently delved into its pocket and pulled out one small and charitable penny as a nod to those struggling with this issue. Specifically, they have introduced an alternative version of the Google Analytics tracking code which will at least help those with fact-packed pages to record more accurately the visitors that do patiently wait for the reward that their pages seek to share...
The New Google Analytics Async Code?
Earlier this month Google announced the BETA launch of the new Asynchronous (Async) Analytics code. For the non-developers out there the benefit of this code relates to the page load time. To date, the guidelines for code implementation meant that the existing GA.JS version would sit at the bottom of your html, so that it would not slow the load time of the webpage content. However, if a visitor passed from one page to another prior to the entire page loading it was possible that tracking would not capture their visit.
The Async code, as the name suggests, provides a solution to this issue because it enables the tracking code to be loaded in parallel with the loading of the web page. This means that it is now possible to place the tracking code higher in the html without impeding the user experience, and thus ensure that you capture visits you may have otherwise missed.
Do I have to implement this code immediately?
No. The Async code provides Google Analytics users with an alternative tracking methodology, the existing code will continue to work. The urgency in implementing the Async code lies with the performance of your web pages. Evaluate whether page load time is an issue on your site (do your web pages have lots of content slowing the load time, or do you have exceptionally long pages on your site?).
If page load time is an issue for you, then implementing Async code is a solution that it will be beneficial for you to turn your attention to sooner rather than later. Bear in mind though that if you have E-Commerce tracking on your site this will also need re-working.
Conversely, if your web pages perform well with fast load times you may not need to rush to implement the Async code immediately, remember, the Async code has been developed as an alternative tracking solution to solve a specific issue, it does not necessarily hold inherent, immediate value. Factor the transition to Async code into your overall web development plans, and if you are working on a number of sites, ensure the new code is your default choice hereon in for the purposes of best practice.