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A Dozen of Custom Variables for your Website

| Posted in category Analytics Google

When it comes to traffic analysis, an e-commerce marketer has to tackle a set of complicated issues: how to segment incoming traffic, analyze visitors’ behavior, detect visitors with specific needs, and satisfy these needs. To solve these problems you’d need the proper tools (luckily you may get them for free) and helpful insights that come in this blog post, so read on.

In a series of posts we discussed the power of Google Analytics, a free web analysis SEO software that provides you with abundance of statistic data. It tells you almost everything you need to know about your website visitors from keywords they used to find your website, to their screen resolution. Google Analytics team went even one step further. They created a tool that enables web analysts to slice and dice the traffic according to their specific needs. It’s called Custom Variables.

"Custom variables are name-value pair tags that you can insert in your tracking code in order to refine Google Analytics tracking. With custom variables, you can define additional segments to apply to your visitors other than the ones already provided by Analytics."

For installation instructions visit Google Help page.

After that, when you have a clear idea of how to implement Custom Variables you may get through the list of possible use cases given below and pick up the ones that apply to your website.

Logged In/ Registered Users

During log in or registration a server script generates a session variable, which may be used to detect logged in users. Alternatively, if in order to login the users have to visit a specific page, you may place session level Custom Variable code there, which will identify logged in users.

Popular Authors

If you are running a blog, it’s possible to find out, which authors draw more users, convert more or generate more profit. All you need is create a page level custom variable that contains the name of an author.



What’s the difference in behavior of those who comment every single post and those who just read silently? – Let the comment form trigger a custom variable and tag the users who leave comments. You may use visitor level custom variable in this case, then you will be able to track the behavior of the commentators even during their subsequent visits.

Visitors of Certain Sections of the Website

Are you planning for a sale of summer collection of men’s clothing? Earmark the users who visited your discounts section and men clothing section with visitor level Custom Variable and reach out this audience during the sales period!

Loyal Customers

For an e-commerce website you may track the customers’ behavior depending on the number of purchases they’ve made. As soon as the customer reaches the pay page, it’s possible to retrieve from the data base the number of purchases he/she made before. In case of the first purchase create the following variable:


For returning or loyal customers you may use:


Individual Customers

If a user is logged in to your website, you may use his/her unique customer ID in order to track their behavior.

Twitter Users

How often is your website frequented by Twitter users and how are they different from the other users? As soon as a user clicks on Tweet or Follow button, or the system detects that the user was referred from Twitter, create a visitor level variable to track such users even during the following visits.

Facebook Users

You may identify Facebook users similarly to the Twitter users.

Online Support Visitors

Many websites offer online support and advice to their customers, where a customer may contact the company representative via a special contact form or in another way. Does it pay back to buy online support solutions and enroll additional staff? Tag the visitors who contacted support with custom variables and find out if the support service increases the conversion rate.


Track the behavior of the visitors that were not happy with your merchandise or services. Try to find out what may be improved.

Age and Gender of the Customers

Ask your customers about age and gender information during the registration, mark them accordingly using custom variables and find out how their tastes and preferences differ.

Experiment and create custom variables of your own to collect more information about your customers. Your fresh ideas and success stories are more than welcome in the comments section.

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