How 4Q and Google Analytics Teamed Up to Show You "Why"

4Q and Google Analytics IntegrationIf you're here, you probably have your own web analytics package installed on your website. Maybe you even have goal funnels set up to know when people are buying your product, subscribing to your newsletter or performing some other task of interest. You know that, with just a little effort, you can find out who is coming to your site and what they're doing. But all web analytics enthusiasts have been plagued with one question. Why do visitors do the things they do? This week, Google Analytics and 4Q announced an integration that will add even more value and insights to your web analytics activities by answering a critical question. Why?

Web analytics thought leader Avinash Kaushik called it Trinity, a mindset and strategy for understanding web analytics. In order to improve your web performance, you need to know who visits your website, what they do and why they do it. Kaushik described how "clickstream" tools like Google Analytics could show you the who and the what, but they couldn't tell you the why. Enter 4Q.

Kaushik joined forces with iPerceptions in 2008 and released a free tool called 4Q, a product that allows you to get a sense for why your visitors do what they do by asking them four simple questions via a pop-up invitation :

  • What are your visitors at your site to do?
  • Are they completing what they set out to do?
  • If not, why?
  • How satisfied are your visitors?

Traditionally, your Google Analytics data and 4Q data stayed within each tool. On Friday, May 14, 4Q rolled out it's new integration with Google Analytics - along with custom purpose of visit choices - allowing users to create custom reports filled with awesome "why" data of 4Q.

The setup video on the 4Q website was enough information to get started. The integration process itself takes about a minute. Once your 4Q and Google Analytics accounts are connected, all 4Q responses are collected in the form of custom variables, which can be added to custom reports in Google Analytics.

On a side note, I couldn't find any information on how custom variables map to the 4Q questions. After a little trial-and-error, I've determined the following mapping:

  • Custom Variable 5 (Value) = 4Q Task Completion
  • Custom Variable 4 (Value) = 4Q Purpose of Visit
  • Custom Variable 3 (Value) = 4Q Satisfaction

4Q Usability IssuePresently, I'm excited about the integration. But I have started to have second thoughts about 4Q. The only problem with 4Q is that many people find the pop-up invitation form itself to be annoying. And as more mobile users begin to see the form, it's apparently beginning to pose usability problems as well. Imagine, the very tool I installed to improve customer experience ends up taking away from it. You can bet I'll be keeping an eye on my visitors' reactions to 4Q to see whether the tool is doing more harm or good.

Kaushik's mental framework for web analytics has expanded well beyond Trinity, but the who, what and why remain a vital part of the equation. What are your thoughts about the 4Q/Google Analytics integration? Is there a custom report you're just dying to create? Is there a "Why?" you've been wanting to answer for a long time? Or is 4Q's pop-up survey more trouble than it's worth. Leave a comment below and share your opinion.