How do I search for URLs?

Because every piece of information on the internet is organized relationally to everything else on the internet, with a little basic understanding of a URL’s components, URLs make it simple to understand how the page you’re looking at relates to all the other pages around it. FullStory exploits this predicability in our Query Builder enabling you to be extremely precise when you are searching your User Experience. 

In this document we’ll walk through the different components of the FullStory URL search tools and give you templates you can use to try these searches out in your own data.

Visited URL

The base Visited URL event is the most broad of all the URL search tools. You’ll find it will likely become the one you use the least after you get familiar with the other components. Visited URL searches for exact matches for whole URLs by default. Changing the detail drop down from is to is not, starts with, ends with, or has substring changes to what part of the URL FullStory should pay attention.

Screen_Shot_2020-09-30_at_1.52.10_PM.png

Click Here to play in your own data. Delete the placeholder text and select one of the auto population options. Now, change the detail dropdown from is to ends with and delete everything in the URL to the left of the last slash (/). For instance, if I’m taking the URL

https://help.fullstory.com/technical-questions/exclude-elements?from_search=35628260#code-first

I would delete everything except

/exclude-elements?from_search=35628260#code-first


You’ll notice the aggregated totals below the query builder likely didn’t change (unless you happen to have mirror sessions in your FullStory instance from QA or a staging environment)
I would delete everything except

Visited URL (host)

The HOST is analogous to the Country portion of a physical address. The HOST is the highest level of association contained within a URL. When you navigate to a URL, this is the part of the URL your browser submits to the Domain Name System (DNS) Authority to be resolved to the actual IP address of the server you’re trying to get to.

Searching for hosts in FullStory is super helpful if you’re trying to compare visits to specific part of your site to all the visits to the primary host of your site. 

Click here to set up a specific view of a group of your users. Add your primary domain host in the first blank. Replicate that in the following blank. Then add a path to the third blank.

Now you can see what percentage of users who visit your site also visit that specific page of your site.

Visited URL (path)

We just used a Path filter in the example above. This will quickly become one of the most used types of event filters in your quiver. A URL Path is analogous to the street name in a physical address. The path starts right after the first slash (/) after the host name in the URL. All paths start with a slash.

One of the most common uses of Visited URL (path) is to change the detail dropdown to starts with because this will match all page URLs that begin in a reliable way but could have anything trailing at the end.

Click here to explore a common use of Path starts with. For the first Event, enter your homepage host name. In the second event add a path you know people navigate to directly after visiting the home page. In the dependent criteria blank enter your homepage URL.

Now observe your Funnel. This will tell you what percent of your users have visited this page directly after visiting the home page.

Pro Tip: Referral URLs are commonly used by FullStory power users because every page your users visit carries with it a reference to where they just came from. This means FullStory can not only tell you how many users have been to two specific pages, but also how many users went to those two pages sequentially. 

 

Visited URL (query)

Query string parameters are always preceded by a question mark (?) and are presented as value pairs split with an equal sign (=). When you navigate to a URL you are essentially make a request to a web server for some bundle of assets. For simple files systems your URL needs to contain a host name and associated path to the assets you’re asking for. Sometimes it isn’t that easy and the assets you want need to be searched for. For example, I click on a link in my email to an exclusive sale from my favorite ecomm retailer. My browser then reaches out to the web server and essentially says “Hey, over there! I want to come check out your website! But just so you know, I got this email that says I’m super-duper-special and should be presented with super duper special pricing.” The front half of that request is simple enough, but the back half actually needs some specific logic to be applied in order to give me what I’m asking for. Maybe those query string parameters will read something like 

https://www.host.com/sale?utm_source=fullstory&utm_campaign=super-duper-secret-sale


There are a bunch of logical and helpful bits and pieces here. Because FullStory lets you search for strings that start and/or end with some value, you can search something like:

Screen_Shot_2020-09-30_at_1.36.22_PM.pngOr

Screen_Shot_2020-09-30_at_1.34.49_PM.png

 

Or even something as crazy as this:

Screen_Shot_2020-09-30_at_1.48.08_PM.png

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Yikes. Looks like “Search” is my big campaign that drives people!

 

Click here to try it out yourself! In blank 1 of the first event pick one of the auto populated options and start typing it. FullStory will auto complete the rest of the query. You’ll see a few of the options we’ve indexed. Type up to the (=) but don’t type it. Then in the dependent criteria for event 1 just add a few of the values as the OR statements. Finally, copy and paste the query values into the additional events and add the query values. Now you can look at the Funnel Card and assess the performance of each of the values. You’re doing a little reverse math here in that you’re taking the delta at each step of the funnel. If you know $x people DID NOT have some specific query value then the opposite of that is the number of people who DID have that query value.

 

Visited URL (fragment)

Page Fragments are used as a type of “bookmarking” in a page. If you go to the below URL, you can see page fragmentation in action:

Scroll down and click on “Code-First”. Now take a look back at your URL:

This is also known as a “URL Hash”. Hashes are used to link from elsewhere on your site to explicit and specific content. Without hashes you can answer the question “How many people went to the page where this super special content lives?” With Hashes you can answer the question “Of all the people that went to the page where this super secret content lives, what percent came in via our efforts to drive content directly here.”



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