There’s an endless flow of digital content on the internet.
Determining if your story connects with your audience may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we’ve enabled analytics in ArcGIS StoryMaps. You can quickly add Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics to see how your story performs compared to other web content. Web analytics is an essential tool if you want to understand and improve your online presence.
Enabling analytics in ArcGIS StoryMaps collects anonymous tracking data and can help answer questions like: How is my story performing compared to other web content? Where are my readers based? How are people finding my story? Does my audience primarily speak the same language? Are they reading on a desktop computer or a mobile device? What trends are there in user behavior?
For any item in ArcGIS Online, you can see your item views and quickly understand how your story performs compared to other ArcGIS online items. Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics take this a step further and deliver even more details about your content.
Follow the steps below to enable analytics in your stories today.
Step 1: Sign up for an analytics account
To get started with Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, make sure you have an account. Check with your website administrator, communications team, or marketing team to see if your organization already uses analytics. If you don’t already have an account, consider signing up.
Step 2: Locate your tracking data
Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
To incorporate GA4 into your story, you will use your Measurement ID located in the Admin panel of Google Analytics. The Measurement ID is a unique identifier assigned to each Property in Google Analytics. You must have a Property and a Data stream to get a Measurement ID.
If you don’t already have a Property, create one in the Admin panel of Google Analytics. Within your Property, create a new Data Stream. When you create a data stream, Google automatically generates a Measurement ID.
Copy this number to your clipboard. It should look something like this: G-XXXXXXXXXX.
Google Analytics Universal Analytics (UA)
With Universal Analytics (UA), you will use your Tracking ID located in the Admin panel of Google Analytics. The Tracking ID is found in the Admin panel of your analytics page under Tracking Info and Tracking Code. Copy this number to your clipboard. It should look something like this: UA-XXXXXXXX-X
If you’re using Adobe Analytics, you first create a Report Suite. You can create a new Report Suite in your Admin panel. A Report Suite holds data collected from websites and can be customized to fit your data collection needs. You will then configure your Report Suite to capture events correctly for your story. Refer to the Adobe Analytics documentation for additional details.
Copy your Report Suite ID and your Tracking Server name to your clipboard.
Step 3: Enable analytics in ArcGIS StoryMaps
Now you’re ready to plug it into your story. Open a new browser and navigate to ArcGIS StoryMaps, then launch the builder for the story you’d like to start tracking. Next, open the Story Settings using the … menu in the story header. Click on the Analytics option at the top. Click Enable Analytics and select Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics (you can’t use both analytics services in the same story). Fill in the data for your analytics account. Lastly, click save and publish your story—it’s that easy.
Verify and confirm analytics are being collected.
If you enable analytics in a story, you can include a consent message and give your readers a choice to opt-in or out. Adding a consent message is optional and up to the story author. It’s essential to check your organization’s policies for data collection. Remember, all the data you collect is anonymous; there is no personally identifiable information collected.
You’ll know your story is collecting analytics when it starts appearing in your analytics dashboard when you search for your story URL or story title. Not seeing any metrics yet? Over the next few days, check back in as metrics accrue, and make sure you have the tracking date range set to overlap with when you added it to your story.
Analytics not available?
If your organization is not part of Esri User Experience Improvement program (EUEI) you will receive a notice saying “Analytics is not available…” You must enroll in the program to be able to use analytics in your account. Your ArcGIS administrator will be able to enable this for you by opting into the Esri User Experience Improvement program. This is a protection for organization accounts to have more control over how data is collected using Esri tools.
If you are an ArcGIS organization administrator, this is how you join the EUEI program. Log in to your ArcGIS organization account and click Settings. In the general table, there’s an option called Esri User Experience Improvement program. You need to enable this option to be able to use analytics in your story. Once you allow this, your ArcGIS StoryMaps authors can enable analytics to their stories. For more information about this requirement, see Add Analytics to a Story in the ArcGIS StoryMaps documentation.
Some additional (cautionary) notes about analytics.
Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics can be overwhelming—it is best to start with a baseline and then develop a hypothesis you can test to influence your metrics. The metrics you choose to pay attention to will depend on the goals of your story.
Here are a few things to remember as you use these tools.
- Total page views are often less important than having the right people viewing your story. Reaching your core audience is often more important than having many views.
- Analytics should be used to give general impressions of your story performance. It should be one of several factors that influence how you measure the success of the content you develop. Use it as a directional indicator to give general usage and viewership.
- Coordinate with team members to explore and learn from each other to understand what key performance indicators work best with the goals of your story and your organization.
- Give your content at least two months of tracking before you try to glean actionable insights from it. This accounts for anomalies in viewership or random occurrences (like checking on your story map when you first publish it).
If you’re new to analytics, I recommend you spend a moment digging deeper into these resources:
- A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics
- Adobe Analytics Documentation
- Video tutorials
- Getting started with Google Analytics 4
- Google Analytics 4 support