What is the difference between tracking code placement in the page top and bottom?
Place tracking code at the bottom of the page if you can
Tracking code placed at the bottom of the page will have nominal impact on a user’s browsing experience. Almost all of a web page loads before the reporting server is called. Even if the reporting server is sluggish or outright unavailable, the worst that happens is that page views may go unreported — a site’s visitors aren’t adversely impacted.
Thus, the best place for tracking code from a site usability point of view , is at the bottom of the page. Before you move your tracking code to the bottom of your pages, check with your analytics vendor to see if there are any problems with their tracking and reporting when tracking code is placed at the bottom of a site’s pages.
Sites deploying Google’s Google Analytics have probably noticed delays in page loading as Google has been working through teething pains due to greater than anticipated take-up of their free Web Analytics offer. Google originally specified placement of Google Analytics tracking code in the <head> section of site pages but is now specifying tag inclusion at the bottom of the page.
Placement at the bottom of the page improves web analytics statistics
One common report available from web analytics systems based on web server log files is user aborted page views — as determined by http server status 206. This status occurs when a user begins to download a page (or other object) from a site but then aborts the download by clicking on the browser stop button or by going to a new page (or site). Status 206 data can indicate the presence of quick acting, impatient site navigators (they see an enticing link and click on it before the current page is finished loading) — this report can also indicate slow content delivery — page sizes are too big for users on dial-up connections? Marketing launched a new promotion without insuring compatibility with current site capacity sizing?
Embedded page tag solutions are less precise. Unfortunately, embedded tag systems are not able to determine if partial content was delivered to the user — its all or nothing. Placing the tagging code at the beginning of the page will erroneously track as viewed pages which have been aborted by the user — a site will not know from their web analytics solution that there is a problem viewing pages — except for perhaps noting a high number of users abandoning the site after few page views. Placement of tracking code at the bottom of the page results in the opposite problem: partially viewed pages will not appear directly in web analytics statistics.
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