Google Analytics

To view basic website stats that PhotoShelter collects for you, see your Admin Area Member Homepage. For much more detailed analytics, follow the Google Analytics integration instructions below! 


"Web analytics" refers to the collection and analysis of data about any given website. Once analytics code has been installed on your website, you can almost immediately start gathering very detailed information about who's visiting your site, what they're doing there, how long they're staying, and much more. Analytics data provides an unprecedented level of insight into what is and isn't working for site visitors, which can prove to be extremely valuable, particularly to those selling a product or service on their sites.
The goal of analytics is to give us a measurable baseline of activity on our website from which we can create data-driven decisions about our marketing activity.

There are many tools available online for capturing and reporting this data back to you, but Google Analytics is the industry standard we recommend. It's extremely thorough, constantly evolving, and totally free of charge to its users!

Google Analytics installation is fairly straightforward, especially for most photographers' websites, which consist of a single domain and relatively few pages. However, the application requires you to implement "tracking code" into your website's code so that it can grab the data necessary to give you reports on your website's traffic and user navigation patterns.

We provide an easy way to integrate Google Analytics tracking code (or tracking code from any other provider) to your customized PhotoShelter pages. Please read through the below documentation for some guidance on getting started.

Note: We cannot provide support on Google Analytics or Webmaster-related questions. Please use the Google forums or our forums to gain advice from other users.


Setting Up Google Analytics

1. Head to and follow the registration instructions. If you already have a Google account for Gmail or any of their other services, you may use the same username and password to register for an Analytics account. 

2. Once you're logged into your Google account, select Admin from the column on the left-hand side of the screen. 


3. Click the + New Account button on the left. You'll be prompted to name your account and enter the URL of the website you'd like to track. There are various approaches here concerning the URL you should use, so the next step depends on what type of setup you have. For further instructions, please choose from the following options, A or B, for the one that fits you best. 


Option A: My customized PhotoShelter website stands alone; it is not integrated into another site.

Now please choose between the following two options:

Option 1: I do not use a CNAME for my PhotoShelter URL.

1. The URL you should enter is in this format: https://[yourlabel]

**Note: You'll want to choose https:// from the website URL dropdown


You will also need to enter your Time zone and Industry Category in this section. 

2. Next, you'll see the option to indicate your Data Sharing Settings and click Get Tracking ID.

3. Then agree to the Terms and Conditions and click the Create Account button

4. Once you've set up your account, you will be provided with a tracking code. Copy this code. 



5. Then head over to your PhotoShelter account and navigate to the General Settings area by selecting Website from the Navigation Bar and then click General Settings from the left-hand side navigation. Scroll to the bottom of this page and locate the Google Analytics section - paste your code into the Analytics Code field


Option 2: I use a CNAME (also known as a "vanity domain" or "custom domain") as an alias for my PhotoShelter URL. 

1. The URL you should enter is in this format: http://[CNAME]

(So, if you've set up "www" as your CNAME, you'd enter in the "Website's URL" field, as seen in the example on the right.)


2. As with option A1, you will need to enter your Time zone and Industry Category and indicate your Data Sharing Settings.

3. Then agree to the Terms and Conditions and click the Create Account button. 

4. Once you've set up your account, you will be provided with tracking code, copy this code.

5. Then head over to your PhotoShelter account and navigate to the General Settings area by selecting Website from the Navigation Bar and then click General Settings from the left-hand side navigation. Scroll to the bottom of this page and locate the Google Analytics section - paste your tracking code into the Analytics Code field.


Option B: My customized PhotoShelter website is integrated into another site.

This means that you maintain a site with pages at that link out to your PhotoShelter pages. (Please see an example at - when Search Archive link is clicked, his PhotoShelter environment opens.)

Please choose between the following two options:

Option 1: I would like to track all my traffic - to PhotoShelter and non-PhotoShelter pages - in one place.

The URL you should enter is in this format: You'll just need to make sure that you are selecting to track "multiple top level domains" as described in option A2 (instructions in the table above). This same tracking code should then be inserted on both all of your non-PhotoShelter pages, as well as your PhotoShelter pages (how to insert in manually customized PhotoShelter pages is described below).

Option 2: I don't care about tracking the other pages in my account (or I will track these separately) - I just want to track my PhotoShelter pages.

In this case, please refer to Option A1 above ("My customized PhotoShelter portfolio stands alone; it is not integrated into another site."), and follow the instructions from there. By doing this, you are essentially tracking your PhotoShelter site and your non-PhotoShelter pages as different websites.

Once you've set up your account, you will be provided with tracking code, which should look something like what is described in either option A1 or A2 above.


Final step for all scenarios

1. Copy the tracking code exactly as it appears in Google Analytics.

2. If you've selected a theme: Paste the Google code into the Analytics Code section of your PhotoShelter account, which is located in your Website Settings (select Website > General Settings)


3. Click the Save Settings button and you're good to go!

4. If you've selected Manual Customization: You need to paste the code into the footer sections of the Public Page Master Template and the Customer Page Master Template.


5. Manual customization users need to click "edit" next to the two master page templates to insert the analytics code. Here's what inserting the code into your Footer HTML would look like: 



Analytics Interpretation Basics

Like any set of data, there is no magic in interpretation. Analytics provides us with a baseline of activity from which we can experiment to alter the trend information.

You first need to collect at least one month of data before being able to truly establish trending. In the meantime, if you want to start getting your feet wet, we recommend the introductory steps/fields of inquiry:

  • Define a goal for what you want your visitors to do. (Sign up for an account? Make a purchase?)

  • Analyze your goal "funnel." How many people come close to reaching the goal you've set but then bail out? Where are they leaving in the process?

  • Study your audience and how they're finding your site. Where are your visitors referred from? How long are they staying? How many do you have? Where do they live?

  • Measure the effectiveness of your keywording. What are your visitors searching for? What are your top keywords? Are people searching for content you don't have?

  • How does featuring content on your homepage affect views?

  • Does different content drive better pageviews and time on site?

  • How have external promotions (e.g. blogs, editorial placement, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) altered historical traffic trends?

  • Did your free photo shoot that you bartered in exchange for publicity really generate any traffic?

Below is a very general overview of Google Analytics. For more information, we highly recommend checking out our free guide, Google Analytics for Photographers, which includes 10 ways to improve your photo business with analytics. 


The dashboard gives us an overview of basic traffic patterns. Traffic on most sites typically yields a gently sloping curve during the week with peak traffic on some weekday, and decidedly lower traffic on the weekends. We should expect this pattern to recur unless we have some sort of promotional activity, as displayed below:

Your main goal in using Google Analytics should be to increase or maintain the main metrics on your website, with the ultimate goal of improving conversion. "Conversion" can be any outcome activity that you deem: calling you, e-mailing you, successful shopping cart checkout, etc.

Here are some of the major site usage metrics in Google Analytics about which you should know:


In marketing parlance, this is the size of your funnel and is important because the greater this absolute number, the more chance of conversion that you have. If you are driving less than 1,000 visits per month, you're probably not leveraging your website as effectively as you could.

Pages Per Visit

The more pages per visit, the more likely that you have an engaged visitor. You should strive to increase this number.

Average Visit Duration

Similar to pages per visit, Average Visit Duration is a good indication of how users are engaging with your website’s content. A site with long, engaging articles would have a high average visit duration. But photography websites can also have high average visit duration if the content is compelling and the visitor can easily find new content.

% New Visits

Assuming that one of your goals is to continually build your audience, then % New Visits is a good way to monitor your site’s overall rate of new visitors. Similar to Unique Visitors, % New Visits is simply looking at those users who didn’t have a browser cookie set for your website and making it a percentage of your site’s total number of visitors.


Setting Up Site Search

The Google Analytics Site Search option allows you to see what terms users are searching for on your website.

1. First, log into your Google Analytics account. Click Admin from the navigation bar and click on your account, then the appropriate property (i.e. your website). 


2. Once there, make sure you're on the Profiles tab. Below that, click the Profile Settings tab 

3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Do Track Site Search radio button in the Site Search section. Then fill in the following fields:

  • Query parameter: I_DSC
  • Strip query parameters out of URL: Yes (check box)
  • Site search categories: No (don't check box) 

4. Click the Apply button. Once you've saved the setting, you should begin to receive data in about 24 hours by going to the Content → Site Search Report in your Google Analytics account.



Creating a Goal in Google Analytics

Unlike a straight portfolio site, PhotoShelter gives you e-commerce tools like the built-in shopping cart. Completion of a sale is a tangible goal that we can track through analytics. In this section, we'll show you how to track the following steps:

  • Adding items to the shopping cart
  • Confirming the contents of the car.
  • Entering shipping address (for physical fulfillments)
  • Entering shipping methods
  • Final confirmation and payment

1. First, log in to your Google Analytics account. Click Admin from the navigation bar and click on your account, then the appropriate property (i.e. your website). 

2. Once there, make sure you're on the Profiles tab. Below that, click the Goals tab. Then fill in the following information:

Goal Information:

  • Goal Name: Choose a name for this goal.
  • Active or Inactive: Select Active
  • Goal Type: URL Destination
Goal Details
  • Goal URL: \/cart\/success\/.*
  • Match Type: Regular Expression Match
  • Case Sensitive: No (do not check box)
  • Goal value: 0.0 (though you can assign this a value if desired)

Goal Funnel (check the "Use funnel" box and use the +Goal Funnel Step to add additional steps)

Step 1: 
  • URL: \/cart\/($|index|\?.*)
  • Name: Cart Display
Step 2:
  • URL: \/cart/\shipping\/.*
  • Name: Shipping Info
Step 3:
  • URL: \/cart\/ship-method\/.*
  • Name: Shipping Method

Step 4:

  • URL: \/cart\/checkout\/.*
  • Name: Cart Confirm 

3. Click the Save button.


Viewing the Funnel Visualization

Once you've set up your goal and funnel, you can view it in your Google Analytics Reports. Click Standard Reporting from the navigation bar the top of the page. In the left-hand side navigation, click Conversions  Goals → Funnel Visualization.


The funnel visualization will show you how many people are entering the funnel and what percentage is converting at any given point. This data is instructive in understanding your conversion rates. 

For example, if your site attracts 1,000 visitors per month and 10 visitors buy an image, your conversion is 1 percent. If you want to double your sales, then you need 2,000 visitors per month or increase your conversion rate to 2 percent. This provides a very quantifiable way to construct marketing goals and understand how you need to scale your business. 

For more information on setting up goals and funnels, and on Google Analytics in general, please see our Google Analytics for Photographers guide. 

Still have questions? Contact us.


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