[wp-edu] Analytics on multi-site

Ben Bakelaar bakelaar at rutgers.edu
Mon Sep 14 17:50:06 UTC 2015

Hi all, below is some investigation from one of our vendors about utilizing
Google Analytics across our entire multi-site network. I am not a GA
expert, but somewhat familiar. Maybe there is just something fundamental to
GA that I am not understanding. I was hoping to have it be as simple as
“install once, all analytics”. Does anyone have any experience with this,
and what is/isn’t possible? The results from testing below indicate we may
have to do 1 GA code (or tracking ID) per site in order to track properly.
Our network is sub-dirs off of http://wp.comminfo.rutgers.edu/, but a good
portion of sites have their own domains.

I also thought these results would be useful for other people considering
how to implement analytics.

Re: Investigate using Google Analytics on multi-site (John Bowen )

>From the to-do list: Tasks for YWD

On Friday, to get some idea of how Domain Mapping would work in relation to
Google Analytics, I set up my test WordPress network as follows

Network websites

- wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com

- wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com/test

- wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com/johngbowen

- wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com/gfh

I loaded the WordPress plugins Google Analytics Dashboard for WP and
WordPress MU Domain Mapping (from WPENGINE).   I used the WPENGINE plugin
for the moment as it was free and had less options.  Initially I just
network activated the Google Analytics plugin.  In my Google Analytics
account, I added another property (wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com) and it
gave me a new tracking ID (actually the same as yardleywebdesign.com with a
-2 instead of -1).  In the Google Analytics plugin I set it up to use a
single Google Analytics account for all sites (Mode 2) and loaded the new
Tracking ID.

While watching Google Analytics through the Real-Time Overview feature, as
I clicked through the various websites and their pages, I could see the
corresponding pages show up (without the wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com
prefix) in the Top Active Pages section.  So root pages were showing as /,
/test/, /johngbowen/ and /gfh/.   The data from all of the sites was
correctly being funneled in to the one Google Analytics account.

Next, I network activated  the Domain Mapping plugin and did all of the
necessary setup.  Through this setup I mapped
wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com/gfh to an unused domain that I own in my
hosting account, golfersfromhell.org.   Once the set up was complete, I
verified that typing wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com/gfh in the browser
window correctly took me to the right site and the website url now read
golfersfromhell.org.  I also typed golfersfromhell.org in the browser and
verified that it took me to the same website page.

Again looking at Google Analytics in the same manner, all of the page views
were showing.  However, where previously, before Domain Mapping was turned
on, page views to any pages on wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com/gfh were
showing with the prefex /gfh/ followed by the page name, now they were
showing as simply the page name (no prefix).  So accessing the main page of
wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com and wordpress.yardleywebdesign.com/gfh (
golfersfromhell.org) would both shows as /.   So with the basic setup,
there does not appear to be a way to distinguish between visits to the wp
root site (id-1) and the root page for any site that is domain mapped.
This would also be the case if any of the inner pages have the same url.

There is a way to use different Analytics IDs for each site (-1, -2, etc.)
and have that data link back up in to one account.  It does involve editing
the GA code within each site which might be difficult.  I'm also not if the
data would show any differently.  But I can look in to this method further
or see if there is some other way to configure GA and Domain Mapping such
that each of the sites can be identified in the GA display.

School of Communication and Information

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
p 848.932.8710
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