A lot of new plugins are discovered by our detection tools every single day. Some of them have names that make you wonder something like yet another plugin to do that?. But there are some new plugins that catch my attention, so every now and then I go check how they look like. And sometimes I find very ingenious ideas converted into WordPress plugins.
In fact, I´m thinking about periodically posting reviews of new plugins that are being discovered by our plugin detection tools. Today I´m going to talk about a new plugin named WP Scroll Depth.
A plugin to track how deep users scroll
When you publish a lengthy post on your blog, you may end up wondering whether you´ll be able to keep your reader´s interest down to the end. Sometimes you just can´t tell all you need your readers to know in a short post, like in the case of some tutorials.
But how to measure how far your reader gets before getting tired, bored, or just not interested in the rest?
Despite the title of this post, there is no way of knowing how much gets really read (sorry about that). But there is a way now to see how far down your users scroll on your posts, and that can be a good indication of how much is really read: the WP Scroll Depth plugin.
WP Scroll Depth is a free plugin that was first discovered in a website by our plugin detection tools last weekend. It was released at the WordPress Plugin Directory earlier this month. As I´m writing this post the plugin only had 153 downloads, but it has already been found by WPTD in a few websites.
This plugin is based on the jQuery plugin Scroll Depth by Rob Flaherty. WP Scroll Depth loads and calls the Scroll Depth jQuery script and adds an admin panel to configure all the available options from your WordPress admin area.
On the Scroll Depth page, its author defines the original plugin like this:
Scroll Depth is a small Google Analytics plugin that allows you to measure how far down the page your users are scrolling. It monitors the 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% scroll points, sending a Google Analytics Event at each one.
You can also track when specific elements on the page are scrolled into view. On a blog, for example, you could send a Scroll Depth event whenever the user reaches the end of a post.
As we´ll see in a moment, the plugin not only monitors scroll percentage points, but also scroll distance in pixels.
What you need to track scroll depth
As you read above, the plugin works by sending the data to Google Analytics via Events. So you´ll need to use Google Analytics if you want to track scroll depth for your site.
But if you do care about getting this kind of metrics at all, chances are that you´re using Google Analytics already, aren´t you?
How to use WP Scroll Depth
Once you´ve installed and activated the WP Scroll Depth plugin, you´ll find the available options under Settings > ScrollDepth from your WordPress admin area:
Main Scroll Depth options
The first option, Minimum Scroll Height, lets you disable scroll tracking for documents that don’t meet a height requirement. The plugin tracks all pages by default, but you can specify a minimum height for a page to be tracked. You might want the plugin to track only scroll events for pages that are taller than a particular amount of pixels.
You also have the option to track events of three different types:
- Percentage: Percentage events are fired at the 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% scrolling points. There’s also a Baseline event which fires as soon as the page loads.
- Pixel Depth: Pixel Depth events record the scroll distance in pixels, rounded down to the nearest 250px increment. While the percentage events provide a relative measure of scroll depth, pixel depth events provide an absolute measure. This can be useful for comparing across devices where the relative percentage heights vary greatly (e.g., desktop vs mobile).
- Elements: You can also track when specific elements on the page are scrolled into view. On a blog, for example, you could send a Scroll Depth event whenever the user reaches the end of a post.
Checking your metrics
Once you have WP Scroll Depth working in your site, you can go to your Google Analytics account to see the date sent by the plugin via Google Analytics Events.
On the following image, for instance, event data for the last 30 minutes is displayed by going to Real Time > Events. All optional events were enabled: percentage, pixel depth and one element (which in this case was the #comment-wrap ID) :
You can also see Scroll Depth data for any data range you want to set on your Google Analytics. First choose your Data Range and then go to Behavior > Events > Top Events and then click on the Scroll Depth Event Category.
Under Event Action you can now select the event types you want to see. If you enabled all the three available options, you will get something like this:
By clicking on any of the event types, Google Analytics will show you the corresponding metrics. For example, percentages:
If you want to get some more tips on using scroll depth metrics, here you have a couple of interesting posts by Rob Flaherty, the author of the jQuery original plugin:
- Hacking Google Analytics – A quick look at how to use Scroll Depth data
- Hacking Google Analytics , Part 2 – Connecting Goals with scroll behavior
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