Tracking Product Catalog Downloads In WordPress

Authored By: James LePage
Published On: July 10, 2020

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In this article we're going to discuss how to track product catalog downloads in WordPress. We were recently asked this question by a previous client of ours:

What feature would be used to collect how many times users downloaded a product catalog?

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They offer various hardware pieces and have several high quality PDF product catalogs that users can download. They've invested a lot of time into creating these product catalogs and wanted a way to see how many times they were downloaded from their website.

The main requirements were that the solution must be easy to implement, free to use, and easy to understand.

Luckily, tracking product catalog downloads in WordPress is fairly simple and easy to do. There are a couple of free solutions out there that will allow you to see how many times users have downloaded your PDF files (or any other file that your company has to offer). you can use this data in understanding the customer flow, and viewing the conversion rate of your page (with your conversion being the user downloading the product catalog).

Without any further ado, let's take a look at how track.

Tracking how many times a product catalog was downloaded

We're going to be using a plugin to track how many times anonymous users download a PDF product catalog. There are several free offerings out there, but our favorite is “Simple Download Monitor”.

It's very well designed, and as its name suggests, simple.

It has a couple of handy features:

  • track how many times a file (such as a product catalog) has been downloaded
  • password protect specific files
  • manage all files you have available for download on your WordPress website
  • show an ajax file tree browser 
  • It will also log IP addresses (you can turn this off for GDPR compliance ) and the date and time that the file was downloaded

It does exactly what our client wants -- shows how many times users have downloaded A PDF file.

It also makes it really easy to upload files, manage them, and display them on the front end of the website. If you are a vendor looking to manage and track the downloads of your PDF product catalogs on your WordPress website, this solution is tailor made for you.

Simple Download Monitor Is downloaded and installed from the freely accessible WordPress plugin repository. Simply go to “plugins”, “add new”, search for “simple download manager”, and install it onto your website.

Simple Download Monitor


Once we've installed the plugin, it's time to configure our download tracking for the product catalogs. You'll see a new tab in the admin menu titled downloads. click on it, and it will initialize the interface for the plugin.

First, we're going to add a new product catalog to the interface. If you've already added your product catalog to the WordPress website, you can simply select it from the media library.

This plugin comes with many features that you can Used to accurately track the amount of downloads that your product catalog is getting, as well as increase the number of downloads that you're getting. When adding a new product, these are all of the features that you have access to:

At minimum, you're going to need to upload your file, name it, and give it a short description. Once you've done this, and configured all the additional settings that are unique to your company, click the blue publish button. Now, Scroll down to the bottom of the page where you can copy a short code. You'll paste this shortcode into the page where you want to display your product catalog. If you're already displaying your product catalog via simple link, delete that link and replace it with this shortcode.

Here's an example short code:

[sdm_download id="48" fancy="0"]

you can easily add it to your page via the Gutenberg editor, classic editor, or short code block in your respective page builder.

If you're using Gutenberg, a custom block gets added when downloading the plugin which allows you to easily select one of your files.

You can easily change the styling of the download now button via CSS or through the plugin.

The button displays on the front end, and when users click “download now” the product catalog is automatically downloaded for them. This is probably a similar functionality to what you already have installed on your website. But, with this plugin, you get the added benefit of download tracking.

Under the stats tab in the plugin admin menu, you can easily see how many times your product catalog has been downloaded.

You can filter by date range, view downloads by date, country, or country list. In this example, it's showing the single download that we triggered when testing out this plugin. As more data populates the graph, it becomes easier to read and more helpful.

So to answer the question of “What feature would be used to collect how many times users downloaded a product catalog?”

Simply install the Simple Download Manager plugin, configure it in under 5 minutes, and happily watched the data roll in.

Tracking which users downloaded the product catalog

Let's say that you wanted to view which individual person is downloading your product catalog.

To do this, you would need to set up a membership plugin on your WordPress website. The product catalog that you want to track who is downloading for would need to only be accessible by logged in members.

Simple Download Monitor has an add-on that allows it to easily integrate with a leading membership plugin called WP eMember.

emember-usernames-recorded-simple-download-monitor

You would need to set up WP eMember, have your users register to access the product catalog, and then through this add-on you would be able to track which individual user is downloading the product catalog, and how many times they've done so.

WordPress Membership Plugin – WP eMember

 

Conclusion

This article presents you with a way to easily (and freely) track product catalog downloads from your WordPress website. This is a great way to see how popular these catalogs are, calculate a return on investment, conversion rate, and more.

If you have any questions on tracking PDF catalog downloads on your WordPress website, feel free to reach out in the comment section below.

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James LePage is the founder of Isotropic Design, a digital agency that builds WordPress websites. I read, write and design constantly!

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