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#1 mossman65  Icon User is offline

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Tracking user searches

Posted 14 October 2011 - 10:05 AM

Hello Everyone back again!

First i would like to thank everyone for their help in my advancement in CF coding! Secondly, can i set my older answered posts to inactive, or solved? I don't want to clutter the forum!

I have a new function i would like to add to my site. We are a radiator manufacture. Our site search is used allot for potential customers to see if we make the product for their vehicle. I'm wanting to track what the users are searching for to see what trends we may have so i can compare them to analytics. If there is a difference between page views and items searched so sales can run promotion based on the data.

I have googled "Cold Fusion Tracking my visitors searches" with the most promising result being the cfapplication tag. But i'm not sure i'm approaching this from the proper angle. If i do a insert based on the variables being passed into a new table i will get more information than i need and i would imagine it would grow in size quickly. From what i read on the cfapplication tag it will store the session variables, but i don't think it would track my search.

What would be the best way to approach this in your opinion? my site is http://www.griffinrad.com. I'm currently trying to get my search working more efficiently thanks to Craig323's advice so bear with me on that portion :)

Thank you for your time.


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Replies To: Tracking user searches

#2 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: Tracking user searches

Posted 14 October 2011 - 12:39 PM

Hey mossman! How you gather such information is entirely up to you and what it is you want to capture. Given the form page you have now, your search doesn't until after all 5 select fields have been run, right? If this is the way your form stays, you can simply wait til the end and insert a record of the search criteria in a table at the same time you go to do a search against your products table per the search criteria.

In addition, you can set a permanent cookie and look for it when the user gets to selecting the 5th item and include that in your saved search record. While this isn't foolproof (because some users delete their cookies), it can tell you how many of the people doing the searching are repeat visitors and sales folk always like to know that kind of thing. Once that user places an order, you can associate the permanent cookie with a user account and gather even more info about them (mailing address, make/model vehicle they own, etc). You'll also want to datestamp each submitted search (to get an idea for volume and traffic density), maybe also consider capturing browsers used, resolution, OS of the user, and so on. These are all typically available via the CGI scope. Lots of info to be gleaned there.

This is very basic web analytics, BTW. It can get a whole lot more in depth and complicated than this (tracking link and button clicks, mouseover events, time spent on each page, etc) but for tracking searches, the above should get you there with what your form is doing now.

One word of caution: I'm fairly familiar with web analytics as a good friend is a rising star in that industry and I've done some work in it. One thing you want to always be paranoid careful about is what you do with that gathered data. People in general don't like to be spied upon and really don't like to have their compiled shopping habits sold or used to harass them in any way. You need to be the guy to impress upon your superiors that before any serious web analytics effort gets underway that you need to make sure they're still well within your privacy guidelines (I see how they say you guys don't use cookies so if you heed my suggestion above, that would have to change and be explained).

Good luck!
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