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Tracking segmented analytics with MetaLocator
Tracking segmented analytics with MetaLocator
Bryan Nye avatar
Written by Bryan Nye
Updated over a week ago

MetaLocator allows you to track searches, clicks and other interactions on a per location and per Interface basis.  This guide explores the various methods for reporting usage in MetaLocator.  MetaLocator allows for tracking using our internal analytics, which is enabled by default, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.  To enable tracking for Google Analytics, check out this tutorial.  To view the internal analytics, click Analytics > Analytics in the MetaLocator dashboard.

For a complete list of all analytics tracked, see Piwik's documentation.

Segmenting by Interface

Our internal analytics, Google Analytics and most third-party analytics packages allow for the creation of segments.  Segments filter the entire analytics database by a particular variable in order to provide a specific view on your data.  A common segment is to filter activity based on a given Interface.  The approach can vary by Interface configuration, but a reliable method is to create a segment based on the Interface's ID number.  Every request, except the Location Landing Pages, includes this Itemid parameter which uniquely identifies the Interface.  The Itemid can be found next to the Interface name, as shown here:

Once you have the Itemid, a segment can be built in the Internal analytics:

The same type of segment can be built in Google Analytics.  This segment shows the same filter by interface using the method above.

Counting Searches by Interface

The above segment gives us all page loads, searches and similar activity occurring in a given interface.  However, we may want to identify search activity in the interface.  Every time a user clicks "Submit" on the search form, MetaLocator includes the "&task=search_zip" in the URL.  Leveraging this consistent behavior, we can count searches as shown in the segment below:

Consider that these are explicit search events where the user clicked search, however; a user can sometimes obtain results without clicking search.  A common Interface setup is to "AutoFind" the user and display relevant results.  In this scenario, the user may see the relevant results without searching.  If the only actions are clicks to the Details page or OpenMarkerWindow events, that may indicate that the user found what they were looking for.

Other search options appear in the URL as documented in this post.  This method can be used to build segments by Category, state, country and even custom fields.

Segmenting by Category

You can also build segments based on the category in the URL.  When the user clicks "Search", the URL includes the categories selected as a parameter such as:


This means the search included the selection of the category with ID = 10.  You can obtain category IDs by looking in the ID column under Categories.

Tracking Location Impressions

When a location is displayed in the search results, you may want to track that as a separate event.  These events don't indicate any user interaction, but are often referred to "Impressions".  This article describes how to track impressions as custom events in Google Analytics.  MetaLocator does not track impressions by default due to the high performance overhead.

Custom Events in Google Tag Manager

To install GTM in MetaLocator, see the Tag Manager section of this support article.  Once Tag Manager is properly installed in MetaLocator, it can be used to trigger Google Analytics tags.

MetaLocator tracks most basic events of interest, including page views, link clicks and more.  However, some customers want to track specific events that are relevant to their business application.  For example, a customer may want to track every time a user clicks on the email address field in MetaLocator.  For these types of custom tracking requirements, we recommend integrating Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager.  Tag Manager allows you to build custom triggers, which in turn can create custom events within Google Analytics.  These triggers can be based on page views, clicks and more.

Tracking events in Google Tag Manager is an advanced topic, and may require the assistance of an Analytics Expert, or MetaLocator staff.

In this example, we explore triggering a custom event in Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager for the purpose of tracking clicks on the "Get Directions" link.

First, create a new Trigger to initiate the tracking event.  This trigger will be a link click.  Here we choose the Click Link trigger type.

We can limit these events to only "Directions" clicks by filtering the Click Text to "Directions" as shown below.

Now that we have a properly configured trigger, we can create a Google Analytics Event to track the clicks.  Create a new tag of the "Google Analytics" type.  Enter your GA ID, and event configuration.  Your event configuration will vary based on your reporting needs.  These are only examples and should reflect the structure of your overall reporting goals.

Also, if we considered Directions clicks to be conversion goals, we could also configure an event goal in Google Analytics.

Event Context

When events occur within MetaLocator, the context in which they occur is important.  For example, 

  • When a Contact button is clicked, what keyword was searched for before that button was clicked?  

  • When a phone number was clicked, what category was selected before hand?

  • When a zip code was searched, what state was it in?

The application state can give us many clues as to how users are interacting with the application.  It allows for the creation of analytics reports such as 

  • Searches by State (even while users are searching by zip codes or city names)

  • Clicks to Website by searched Category

  • Detail Page Views by Country

and so forth.  


The values for event context can vary from customer to customer.  These context metrics are called dimensions.  The dimension values can be tracked at the visit level, and the action level.  A visit-level dimension has only one value for the entire visit, while a single visit can track multiple actions.  For example, an action-level dimension might be "keyword".  This is defined at the action level since a user can perform multiple actions in a single visit.  A visit-level dimension might be the language used by the user, since that would rarely change during the visit. In the keyword example, the Search event would be triggered with a dimension of keyword set to the value of the keyword entered by the user.  

Default dimensions are as follows:

Action Level

  • Latitude

  • Longitude

  • PostalCode

  • County

  • City

  • State

  • Country

  • Region

  • Locale

  • Radius

  • Tag

  • Keyword

  • Neighborhood

  • Retailer

  • SKU

  • GroupID

  • Lang

  • LocationID

  • Itemid

  • LeadID

Visit Level

  • Country

  • Region

  • Locale

  • Lang

  • Tag

  • SKU

  • GroupID

The values are populated where available.  For example, if a user searches for a City, we do not populate the Keyword dimension along with the Search event, because it is not set in that context.


MetaLocator triggers a series of locator-specific events based on user activity.  Events are published to our Internal analytics, and optionally Google Analytics.  Google Tag Manager can also be used to trigger custom events.  Matomo, the platform used by MetaLocator does not provide for segmentation of events based on the page they occurred.  This prevents segmentation of Event data by Interface using the methods above in the internal analytics.  Google Analytics does allow this type of segmentation.  The following are the events tracked in MetaLocator:

  • OpenMarkerWindow Occurs when the map marker popup window opens.  

  • getDirections Occurs when a user clicks a "Get Directions" link using Internal Directions 

  • Details Occurs when a user clicks to open the details link as shown by the {details} tag. 

  • Click Triggered for every link in the locator designated with the data-conversion attribute.  These conversions are tracked in internal analytics only. 

  • Conversions Click InnerText of the link HREF of the link 

  • Search Occurs when a user clicks Search when a {zipform} tag is present in the Search Form. 

  • DetailPage Occurs when a user loads a location landing page.  Tracked in Google Analytics only.

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