The Future of Dynamic Content

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Single page applications (SPA) are becoming the ideal choice to serve up dynamic content.

SPAs make it possible to serve up personalized content to users without creating new pages or reloading pages through the use of AJAX or AngularJS. What one user sees on the homepage may be completely different from another user, but the URL is identical. Current tools offered through Pardot and Marketo use javascript replacement to manage personalized content. This technique can lead to confusing and less than ideal content management.

Marketing - especially digital marketing - is all about staying current. Using SPAs not only eliminates the confusion of javascript replacement, but it allows for quicker updating of content.

Although they didn’t use a SPA, Marketo worked with enterprise resource planning company, Panaya, to personalize their homepage messaging to visitors who were current Oracle users, a competitor of Panaya. This personalization strategy resulted in a 113% increase in content consumption.

Personalization success can come without a SPA, as the previous case study shows, but the benefit of SPAs moving forward, however, is the ability to run complex personalization campaigns without storing content in third-party tools.  

The approaching launch of Drupal 8 means a shift from thinking of websites as series of pages to series of pieces or elements such as videos, content blogs, or CTA’s that can be mixed and matched. This organization is essentially a SPA approach, but it brings up the challenge of tracking all of these elements correctly in Google Analytics. How can we track elements that don’t have unique URLs?

How to Track SPAs Successfully in Google Analytics

Google Analytics has offered virtual page views for years going back to Classic Analytics. Universal Analytics includes virtual page views as well and is the key to tracking SPA content. Google Analytics even provides a simple walkthrough on how to correctly implement virtual page views for SPAs.

Make sure to give unique labels to the virtual page paths and page titles for each dynamic element. Labeling this way will make analysis much cleaner.

Further, click event tracking should be implemented to record any actual interaction with every dynamic element. This technique will ensure that what users see (virtual pageviews) and what they click (click tracking) is connected.

Once this data is being recorded correctly, set up custom segments in Google Analytics to match the personalization strategy. For example, a company has a personalized campaign to show different content to three different users: anonymous visitors, prospects, and current clients. Setting up a custom segment in Google Analytics for each of their user types would make it easy to compare behavior among each group throughout the site.

What This Means Moving Forward

Dynamic content is going to continue growing, and with SPAs, it will be easier to manage complex campaigns, especially those involving high numbers of user types. As with anything in digital marketing, tracking this data is the key to gaining continual positive returns on investment, and Google Analytics virtual pageviews make tracking easy. It may not be something all companies need now, but chances are, the use of SPAs is signaling a change in the way marketers think about websites.