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What, Why, and How: Goals & Actions

Track conversions, clicks, and other events to define advanced segments and custom reports.

 

Table of Contents:

  1. What: Introduction to Goals and Actions
  2. Why: Advanced Segmentation with Goals and Actions
  3. How: Creating Basic Goals and Actions
    • Actions
    • Goals
    • Putting it All Together (an example)

 

What: Introduction to Goals and Actions

While Bound is not intended to replace your existing analytics & reporting tools, we do offer some pretty cool features to help you track a visitor's behavior and then personalize their experience based on that behavior.  By default, we only log pageviews, along with content impressions and clicks, as users encounter Bound content throughout your website.  You will see these aggregate metrics in your Performance Dashboard, and additional details are available in the standard and custom reports provided by your Customer Success Manager.

performance_dashboard.png

When you create Segments and Rule filters, you may add behavior-based conditions that match according to a visitor's pageview history (e.g., Current URL, Total Visits, Has Been to URL x Times, etc.).  But, what if you wanted to define an audience segment based on other events?

  • Visitors who have submitted a newsletter sign-up form
  • Visitors who have clicked a social media link on your website
  • Visitors who have engaged with a live chat agent
  • Visitors who have watched a video or downloaded a white paper PDF
  • Visitors who have added an item to their shopping cart
  • Visitors who have completed a Google Analytics goal or other conversion

The GSC platform allows you to define and monitor these user behaviors, or Actions, which can be quantified in custom reports.  And, by creating a corresponding Goal, you can track conversions. Using both Actions and Goals, you may use Segments and Rule filters to personalize a user's experience based on whether they have engaged, converted, or completed a particular Action.  

Why: Advanced Segmentation with Goals and Actions

You may have defined Goals and Actions for GSC Intelligence reports, but they can also be used to segment your audience based on goal completion.  For example, you might create an Action describing a survey form submission or the click of a promotional link on your site.  Once that Action is configured, you can use the Action condition to create a new Segment or Rule filter to personalize your site's content based on more detailed user behavior.

Or, say you've launched an updated user interface with new features that might confuse some users.  You might create a Segment that matches users who have visited multiple times since the UI update but have not engaged with (clicked) your awesome new features.  By targeting those visitors who have not completed the Action, you can serve some custom CSS content to highlight the unfamiliar buttons or perhaps pop a banner or fly-in inviting those users to view a tutorial or a video introducing the new functionality.

Another use case might involve a new product line and a form that allows users to request information about those items.  You can use ABM connections with a new Segment to identify the most valuable prospects and personalize their experience with lead-generating content, such as a contact form.  Then, you can ease up on the heavy marketing collateral and hide the form for users who have already requested the new product info or dismissed the offer; simply add a Goal-based Exclude condition to your prospect Segment, and those users won't be bothered by requests that they have already submitted or refused.

Beyond standard events like pageviews, clicks, and form submissions, the options are nearly limitless when you define an Action based on custom events or conversions.  These options require additional code on your site or third-party analytics Connections, but it doesn't take much work to personalize based on any event at all.

How: Creating Goals and Actions

These features were only recently exposed in the Bound platform to end users, so if Goals and Actions are not available in your website's Settings menu, just ask your Customer Success Manager to flip that switch for your account.

settings_menu.png

Note: You must have Editor, Contributor, or Administrator privileges assigned by your Account Owner to create and edit Goals and Actions.

 

An Action defines the user behavior you intend to track, so that's a good place to start.  If it will only be used for reporting or segmenting, then you can create an Action without a corresponding Goal.

Actions

Choose Actions from the Settings menu to view the Actions library, which may be empty.  Then, click the "New Action" button to launch the Create Action form.

Give your new Action a name that describes the user behavior.  Next, choose the Action type from the dropdown menu.

Screen_Shot_2018-07-09_at_4.38.13_PM.png

Basic Interactions

To track Clicks or Form submissions, you'll need to provide the selector identifying the HTML element that your visitors will interact with.  As when defining the location of embedded type Campaigns, the selector can be a class name, ID attribute, or any other valid CSS selector.

Selector Examples
Selector Description
a Matches all links on a page (usually including those in headers, footers, and navigation menus)
a.videoLink Matches all links (<a> elements) with the "videoLink" class name.
a#chatLink Matches a single link with the "chatLink" id attribute.
body > .content:nth-child(2) a.videoLink Matches only those links with a "videoLink" class name that are anywhere within the second child container (with class name "content") of the page's <body> element.  Yeah, these things can get complicated.

Chrome's developer tools may offer some help in determining an object's selector, which can otherwise get pretty tricky on complex web pages.  

  1. Right-click on the target object, and select "Inspect" from the context menu.
  2. Make sure the correct element is selected in the Elements panel.  If not, then click on the highest-level element that includes your object and nothing else.
  3. Right-click on that element, and choose "Copy > Selector" from the context menu.
  4. Return to the Action creation form and paste your selector into the Selector field.

If the Action will track pageviews, then you will need to provide a page URL or matching pattern; otherwise, that field is optional (if blank, Bound will listen for the specified event on all pages).

Finally, there is an optional field to provide a verification URL.  Enter any complete page URL and click the "Verify" button.  We will quickly check the page to confirm that

a. the main GSC JavaScript library is loaded on the page; and
b. the element described in the Selector field exists on the page.

Note: Failure of the verification step is common, and it is not necessarily a sign that your Action is configured incorrectly.  Often, we can't verify that the Bound JS file is included if it is loaded dynamically (e.g., by a third-party tag manager).  

Custom Events

The option to create an Action to track Custom Events greatly expands the possibilities for utilizing this functionality.  With some basic custom JavaScript, you can dispatch a named event when nearly anything happens on your website.  A common use case is to integrate with another API to track events like video views, cart adds, chat requests, etc.

There are two important qualifications to track custom events as a Bound Action:

  1. The Event object's bubbles property must be true.
  2. The event must be dispatched by the document element or a descendent.

While various libraries can help you to initialize and trigger custom events, all you need is some basic JavaScript like this to track one or more custom events as GSC Actions:

// a helper function for creating multiple cross-browser-compatible custom events
function initCustomEvent(evName){
  if (typeof window.Event === "function"){
     var myEvent = new Event(evName,{bubbles:true});
  }
  else {
     var myEvent = document.createEvent("Event");
     myEvent.initEvent(evName,true);
  }
  return myEvent;
}

// create your named event
var surpriseEvt = initCustomEvent("surprise");

// trigger the event at the appropriate time
document.documentElement.dispatchEvent(surpriseEvt);

 

You can confirm that the Action has been successfully logged by watching your browser's Network activity for a request to s.getsmartcontent.com/track with parameters identifying the Action's internal ID.

action_track.png

 

You will find the Public ID of any Action in the URL of the Action editor.

Screen_Shot_2018-07-09_at_3.54.53_PM.png

Google Analytics Conversions

If you already track custom events as Goals in Google Analytics, then you can use those conversions as a trigger for Bound Actions.  While you may not need to duplicate the quantification of those events in Bound, the utility here is in Segments for personalization (more on that later).

To create a new Action to track completion of GA Goals:

  1. Start by ensuring that you have an active Goal set up in your Google Analytics admin.
    Note: Only Goals of type Event and Destination are currently supported.
    ga_goals.png

  2. Next, enable the Google Analytics Universal Connection in the Bound Admin.
    • Click Connections in the left-hand navigation menu.
    • Hover over the Google Analytics Universal connection, and click Install.
    • Follow the instructions to authorize communication between GA and Bound.
      enable_ga_connection.gif
  3. Return to the Actions library by choosing Actions from the main Settings menu.
  4. Create a new Action, and choose one of the Google Analytics Universal options as the "Event/Action" field.
  5. Your GA Goals will be available in the "Goals" dropdown field.  Choose one to automatically populate the relevant event fields defined in your GA Admin.
    Screen_Shot_2018-07-09_at_4.03.01_PM.png

  6. Save the Action.

Goals

So, you've set up your Bound Actions to track user behavior and interactions across your site. These Actions can be used for personalization purposes, but to see how they impact conversion in dashboard reporting, you must also create a Goal to track the Action.  That is, an Action may exist without a Goal (for segmentation purposes), but each Goal must have an associated Action.

After creating a Goal, you may use it when defining Segments and Rule filters (as you do with Actions), effectively customizing a visitor's experience on your site based on the completion status of any of your Goals AND it will be used to calculate conversions in performance reporting.

Creating a Goal in the Bound platform is easy.

  1. Start by navigating to the Goals library from the main Settings menu, and click the "Create Goal" button.
    Note: If you have the option of creating a goal using the Form Builder or the Inline Builder, it's usually best to choose the Form method.  The Inline Builder can help with choosing the right selector for inline elements like buttons and forms, but it's just as easy to do so with your browser's developer tools, as discussed in the Goals section above.
  2. You'll give your new Goal a name and, optionally, a description.
  3. If you have already created an Action that you will track with this Goal, then set "Action Type" to Existing, and select the desired Goal from the dropdown.
    Screen_Shot_2018-07-09_at_4.32.26_PM.png
  4. Alternatively, you may create a new Action right from the Goal creation form.  Those options are discussed in detail in the Goals section above.
  5. If everything is correct, then toggle on the "Goal Enabled" field, and save your new Goal.

From the main Goals library, you will see basic information at-a-glance, like whether your Goals are enabled, which Actions are associated with your Goals, and the number of recent completions of each Goal.  You can also edit and delete any Goal from its ellipsis context menu.

Screen_Shot_2018-07-09_at_4.35.05_PM.png

Putting it All Together

Once you have created your Actions and Goals and confirmed that they are enabled and firing correctly, it's time to use them to define an audience Segment and to personalize your site's content for visitors who have (or haven't) performed your specified Actions or Goals.

In this example, my objective is to show a modal containing a sign-up form only to visitors who haven't previously closed the modal or submitted the form.

When building Segments and Rule filters in the Bound platform, you will notice that "Goals" and "Actions" are options for defining a condition.  If you have successfully created and enabled a Goal or Action, then you may define the audience for a Rule to include (or exclude) only those visitors who have completed that Goal or Action.

  1. For this example, I create two Goals with corresponding Actions.  The first one will track submission of the target form.
    Screen_Shot_2018-07-09_at_4.40.20_PM.png

  2. The second Goal will track clicks of the modal's close button.
    Screen_Shot_2018-07-09_at_4.41.10_PM.png

  3. Navigate to the Segments library and create a new segment to match on all visitors except those who have completed either of the relevant Goals.  I choose "Goal" as the condition type and then select from the list of available Goals.

    Screen_Shot_2018-07-09_at_4.42.59_PM.png
    Note: When defining multiple Exclude conditions, it is usually best to use an AND block for each one.
  4. Confirm the correct behavior.
    • Event sent to s.getsmartcontent.com/track describing an action with the correct action_public_id
    • Modal appears regularly until the user either submits the form or clicks the close button, after which the modal is no longer shown.

This is, of course, but one example.  By tracking all of the available event types with Goals and Actions, you can personalize the experience of every visitor according to any behavior or interaction you wish to target, greatly expanding the possibilities for defining your GSC Segments.

If you have any questions about this topic, please contact support@getsmartcontent.com.

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