After my recent post about Google Analytics not tracking downloads accurately, I had decided to go back to counting download using a weblog parsing method. After some consideration, and the suggestion of a colleague who tracks downloads using Google Analytics himself, I’ve decided not to use that method.
The reasoning behind it, is Goal tracking in Google Analytics lets me see what traffic sources(sites and keywords) are converting best. I lose this very important marketing feature if I use the web log tracking method. Being able to track my marketing methods for Overseer Network Monitor and Employee Scheduling Pro is far more important than seeking 100% accuracy for this number.
As an alternative, I’m using a download redirect option. Now on my software websites, a user will go to the ‘download’ page to view the links to download, and click the appropriate link to download the file. This takes them to a “your download will start now” page, at which point it uses a meta http-refresh to start the download. This should work with GA better to track the downloads. I have a funnel setup to require the end user to go to the download page before the downloading page, and set a noindex meta tag on the downloading page to try to prevent Google traffic being sent directly to this page.