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Track the Direct File Downloading from search engines

We have discovered a workaround for you to track the direct file downloading from search engines.

One of the KRAs in source analysis by your marketing team is the level of customer engagement on your website. Major Search engines like Google offer a unique feature with which the users can directly access the files present in your website. This not only helps your business by providing the necessary information to your customers as quickly as possible but aides you in gaining deeper insights in the primary source analysis due to direct file downloads tracking.

But here’s the catch. This feature poses a challenge in analytics tracking. The direct file downloads tracking from the pages of your website is recorded accurately, but what happens to the files that are downloaded directly from search engines? They are unfortunately missed out, distorting the picture of your source analysis.

Why does this happen?

Analytics tools function on the premise of front end development technologies like JavaScript, JQuery. Analytics codes are executed only when the browser renders a page and processes the HTML/JS codes. In the case of direct file downloading, there is no web page.

The searched file is directly downloaded or opened through readers like PDF/MS Word. This provides no chance for the browser’s code to execute and hence the analytics tracking is irregular.

As there is no straight forward solution for this problem, which leads to botched up primary document analysis, we have discovered a workaround which uses the data import (offline data upload) feature by the analytics tools. Adobe analytics provides it in the name of ‘Adobe Analytics Data Sources’ and an API is available for automatically sending data to adobe servers.


This is how we solve the problem for you.

Leveraging the Adobe Analytics Data Sources feature, we have taken few additional steps to nail the problem for the direct file downloads tracking and create a solution. Here is the set of activities we do.

This solution brings the direct file downloading data into the Adobe analytics tool. This data, which is necessary for primary source analysis is present in both conversion & traffic variables and can be used for reporting purposes.

We have however noticed that the imported data from direct file downloading behaves a little differently from the one which comes through the browser hits. So, there are some constraints associated with it in terms of reporting and source analysis.

  • This is aggregated data basis information received from a server log file. So, it can be broken down by basic visitor level dimensions.
  • Real-time reporting is not possible as the data should be post processed and sent to adobe servers.
  • Correlation & Sub-relation is limited to a set of custom eVars and props.
  • It takes minimum 24 hours for the direct file downloading data to reflect in the Adobe reports. Though Adobe claims that it takes only up to 1.5 hours, we have conducted a few experiments to prove otherwise.

Our experiments show that the accuracy of Adobe analytics data sources upload method is not 100%. So, there are chances of missing some data. But the loss would be within 5%.

Many organisations combine two web analytics tools for accurate analytics tracking of the direct file downloading data. Google analytics can be used with Angelfish software that records the real number of downloads, both direct and linked and uploads this data in your google analytics account for insightful primary source analysis.

Every problem has a solution, but you just have to be creative enough to find it. We have done that work for you, so don’t let your direct file download tracking go unchecked. It is an indication of brand strength, popularity and very important for the analytics tracking of your primary document analysis in this digital age.

And that’s not all. If you ever need to know anything more, we are always ready to help.Contact us

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