Google Analytics vs Help Center Analytics: Why a dedicated analytics tool for a Zendesk help center
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Can you use a hammer to bang a screw into a wall? Sure.
But is it the best tool for the job?
Many companies default to using Google Analytics (GA) to track and measure how their help center is doing.
Google Analytics is a great start, and integrating GA with your help center is a simple process.
But there’s one big problem.
Google Analytics wasn’t created with help centers in mind.
It can provide some helpful information, but GA’s real use case is for marketing. It’s not optimized for help center improvements and CX teams.
If you’re serious about being proactive with self-service, you’ll go further and faster if you’re using an analytics tool optimized for enabling CX teams to build better help centers.
For support teams using Zendesk, a dedicated analytics tool — like Help Center Analytics — is your best option
9 Problems with using Google Analytics to measure the impact of your Zendesk help center (and how to fill those gaps)
1. Page view metrics
Google Analytics tracks and reports on "page views," which includes all traffic in your help center — the home page, category pages, section pages, and so on.
But when it comes to the help center, what really matters are article views. This metric is the actual number of times customers have self-served (or at least tried to).
A tool like Help Center Analytics tracks and reports directly on article views so you can better understand how often customers are interacting with every article in your Zendesk help center.
💡Article Views Tip: The most insightful information for article views is which articles have the most views and which have the least views.
Articles with the most views can uncover areas of improvement for your product. Is there a product feature you can implement so customers wouldn’t need this article so frequently? Is your user interface unclear?
Articles with the least views might not be accessible or relevant any longer. This is a primary way to discover articles that need to be updated or archived.
2. Translated articles are counted separately
Supporting multiple languages is important for global companies.
But when you look at the data for your multilingual help center, Google Analytics treats each translation of an article as a separate page with separate metrics. So if you have an article in both English and Spanish, you’ll get separate metrics for each.
Separating articles metrics by language can be helpful if you want to drill into a particular customer demographic. But for most help centers, what will matter most is how many users are accessing a particular article — regardless of what language they speak.
With Help Center Analytics you can pull metrics for an article that include all its translated versions in one aggregated number.
3. Unable to track data for articles in a specific section or category
Zendesk Guide uses categories and sections to organize your help center content. In Google Analytics, you can only pull reports for the metrics of a Category or Section home page.
But what if you want to visualize and track the metrics for a Category or Section, and include data on articles in that Category or Section? You’ll either need to do lots of data wrangling, or you can leverage a tool that does the work for you.
Help Center Analytics collates the data for all the visits of the articles in a Category or Section and reports which Categories and Sections had the most article visits.
💡Category/Section Tip: If a category or section has low views, it could be because your articles aren’t categorized properly. This often means you have an opportunity to update the article titles or adjust your help center’s organization — which is even easier when you use Help Center Manager to create copy articles (including all translations and images).
Ensure your categories and sections have a simple and intuitive naming scheme that aligns with the language your customer is using.
4. Data is disconnected from the actual helpdesk
With Google Analytics, there is no way to understand which articles or search terms generate the most support tickets.
This is because while Google Analytics might connect to your help center, it doesn’t connect to the actual helpdesk, like Zendesk.
With a dedicated help center analytics tool, you can better understand the connection between help center visits and your Zendesk support tickets. This unlocks powerful help center metrics like conversion rate — the percentage of article views that still result in a ticket being created. Measuring conversion rate for your help center’s articles, sections, and categories allows you to quickly understand where your help center is ineffective and how you can improve your self-service.
5. Unable to track the visitor journey between your help center and the helpdesk
Being able to track your customer’s journey between your help center and helpdesk provides you with valuable customer insights. This information tells you how customers get to an article, what they do after visiting an article, and which tickets they create.
If you find that lots of tickets are being created after visiting a particular article, you can review the nature of those tickets and update the article to better serve your customers.
But with Google Analytics, there’s no way to track this journey. GA’s data is isolated from your support tools, which introduces major limitations on your efforts to improve your self-service over time.
With a tool like Help Center Analytics, you can understand each customer’s entire journey as they navigate through your Zendesk knowledge base and helpdesk.
Customer journey in Help Center Analytics - source
6. Unable to collect and analyze feedback from visitors
One major fallback of a help center is not having a way for customers to easily submit feedback.
Most help centers come with a simple thumbs up or down feature. But this doesn’t provide your customers with much of a voice.
With Help Center Analytics, you can add a feedback form to your Zendesk Guide articles. When a customer gives feedback, you can ask them for additional information. Then you can visualize and export all this feedback and use it to improve each article.
Form for collecting Help Center feedback - source
Help Center Analytics uses the article votes in Zendesk to calculate the Helpfulness metric (% of positive votes out of total votes) and allows you to filter it by any period of time and any article/category/section.
When you’re using Google Analytics, you can’t make these kinds of connections.
7. Missing self-service specific metrics
One of the most important help-center metrics is the self-service score. This metric tracks the conversion from article visits to tickets.
If you’re using Google Analytics, you have to calculate this score manually and do some guesswork on how to improve it.
With a dedicated help center analytics tool you can report on the self-service score, see how many tickets were created after visiting your help center, and drill down into those specific tickets. This will help you understand how effective your help center is at deflecting tickets.
8. Difficult to search by article title
With Google Analytics, you can’t search an article by its title. Remember that GA treats each of your help center articles as a web page. This means you have to find an article by its URL.
With a tool like Help Center Analytics, you can quickly find any article by its title in Zendesk Guide. This is useful when you want to drill down into a specific article and see all its metrics.
View of Content Performance in Help Center Analytics
9. Unable to understand which users viewed an article
With Google Analytics, it’s hard to tell who is viewing your articles. Is it an actual customer, or just a company employee?
In Help Center Analytics, you’re able to distinguish between users who are employees at the company versus actual customers. You can also understand how much traffic is on mobile vs desktop, enabling you to prioritize improvement accordingly.
A successful help center is a data-driven help center
The modern-day help center isn’t just a repository of how-to articles and FAQs.
A help-center is a product you provide for your customers. It’s a resource that helps your customers be more successful, your employees do their job, and an ever-growing asset for your company.
Do you know for sure that your help center is doing its job?
A dedicated help center analytics tool is the best way to get clarity on your help center’s current performance and on ways you can improve it moving forward.
If you’re interested in improving your help center today, start your free trial of Help Center Analytics.