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I'm new to Google Analytics and I'm wondering if it would be cleaner to user virtual pageviews for all the goal tracking on my website instead of using a mix of regular page views and virtual pageviews.

I know in most cases this is just semantics but there are multiple pages where the same goal can be achieved and I think it would be cleaner just to fire the same virtual pageview instead of having two different goal pages. Will this model also give developers more flexibility when they do development? I know we are moving to a CMS and urls can get hairy, so I think this might be a good way to make analytics portion of the site "future proof".

Any thoughts are appreciated! Thanks.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are a few things to weigh, and it depends on your goals and priorities.

I personally tend to prefer to never use pageviews for non-pageview things, and use Google Analytics Event Tracking instead. (Obviously, the views available are less robust than those for Goals, but you can get a similar effect fairly easily with the use of advanced segments.)

Yes, using virtual pageviews is great for future-proofing if you change your URL scheme or your CMS.

The one thing where they create a bit of a pain is with navigation path analysis, since they 'break' the natural navigation path. They also 'break' page per visit counts, but that's less important.

It's also worth noting that having multiple pages that match the same Goal isn't disqualifying, since you can use VERY simple Regex to basically include a couple of different URLs in the same Goal (if they are all part of the same Goal. That provides a bit of future proofing, as long as you remember to update the regex when your site is updated.

One potentially great thing about using Virtual Pageviews is that it makes it very simple to build advanced segments for particular virtual URL patterns. (In this instance, I actually prefer to use Events, since they're cleaner.)

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You should bear in mind,if it wasn't clear from the above, that you need to use virtual pageviews for goal and goal funnel steps, as Event tracking will not allow you to use Events as steps or goal destinations.

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