Getting Started Guide
window.onload function. In order to not slow down your site, it is completely asynchronous and doesn't load until everything else on the page has finished loading. Once loaded, Chartbeat code works like most other web analytics services—it triggers the loading of a beacon image, which returns a 1x1 pixel image (43 bytes).
Other than that, the Chartbeat code adds a couple of event listeners for registering user engagement.
Insert this script right before the closing
Once this is implemented globally across your site, you might need to make a few configuration tweaks to better fit your site. All of these options are outlined in the rest of this guide.
window.onload function and should be placed at the end of the
window.onload function and will not load asynchronously — meaning that it will load inline with all other elements on the page.
Note: While ping requests are asynchronous the
chartbeat.js loads synchronously at the end of
window.onload, so as not to block anything else.
Below is part 2 of the standard publishing code that loads synchronously.
Alternate Deployment Function
The default method to deploy the
chartbeat.js script is the
window.onload function. It is possible to use another function if necessary, but functions other than
window.onload may cause site performance issues. Alternative functions should only be used if absolutely nessasary.
If the implementation is unable to use the
window.onload function, please consider having the client deploy
chartbeat.js in another function such as
For advanced implementation options see our Going Further Guide.
UID & Subdomains
By default the UID variable should be automatically set to your Chartbeat Account number when adding a new site. To retrieve the correct Chartbeat code for your account, head on over to chart.bt/setup. It will look like this:
_sf_async_config.uid = #####;
If your site employs subdomains, you have the option of tracking with Chartbeat in one of two ways:
If you want to track a subdomain (e.g. "blog.yoursite.com") within an existing Dashboard, simply copy the exact same code that is on the existing domain and add it to the HTML of the subdomain.
If you want to track a subdomain separate from your other Chartbeat Publishing Dashboards, select "add site" from the Chartbeat settings page, and follow on-site instructions.
If you are adding a mobile subdomain, please refer to our Mobile Site Implementation for more information.
Does your site use query parameters for various tracking purposes, (e.g. seeing people who came from an email newsletter)? Or does your site have multiple URL structures for the same page/article (e.g. domain.com/section/artcle vs m.domain.com/12345)?
By default, Chartbeat is configured to use either the raw path or canonical links (when available). We strongly encourage implementing canonical links to ensure consistent tracking of pages and to prevent seeing multiple listings of the same page in the Chartbeat Dashboard. If you're not familiar with canonical links, check out Google's Guide to Canonical Links.
To utilize the canonical feature, you'll need to ensure that your site defines canonical links for each page (e.g
<link rel='canonical'.../>) and that the canonical variable is set to "true".
_sf_async_config.useCanonical = true;
Custom Path Variable
If you are unable or prefer to not use canonical links, you may alternatively set the Path Variable. The path must start with "/" (forward slash) and we highly recommend that you use a real path used to navigate to this page.
The value set for the Path Variable should be generated by your CMS or set to
window.location.pathname, so that the same piece of code can be used on all pages.
Examples of setting the Path Variable:
_sf_async_config.path = "/directory/path"; _sf_async_config.path = cms.path.variable; _sf_async_config.path = window.location.pathname;
If you are implementing Chartbeat on a separate mobile site (e.g. m.domain.com), please refer to our Mobile Site Implementation section.
Page paths which contain personally identifiable information (PII) should not be utilized in your Chartbeat implementation. If your page URLs contain PII and you need assistance removing this data from the page paths that are sent to Chartbeat, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Custom Page Titles
By default Chartbeat displays page titles by using the
<title> tag in your site's header.
You can override the title used for a page in Chartbeat by setting the Title Variable. This can be useful when all pages have a common prefix (e.g. "Publication Name: Story Title"), or when most pages share a common site title.
You can set the Title Variable manually, or populate it dynamically by tying it to a variable in your CMS.
Here you can set the title like this:
_sf_async_config.title = "Story Title"; _sf_async_config.title = cms.title.variable;
Sections & Authors
In Chartbeat Publishing you can filter your content by section or author. To implement this feature, you’ll need to set up section and author variables within the Chartbeat code. So if a page is written by Bob Johnson in the section US Politics, you would set:
_sf_async_config.sections = "US Politics"; _sf_async_config.authors = "Bob Johnson";
A page can both be in multiple sections and/or have multiple authors, therefore each variable accepts a comma separated list of values. So if a page is co-written by Megan Summers and Kevin Smith in the sections Fashion and Fashion News, you would set:
_sf_async_config.sections = "Fashion,Fashion News"; _sf_async_config.authors = "Megan Summers,Kevin Smith";
The sections variable does not need to reflect real sections on the site, but should be thought of as groupings of pages that can be filtered on. Our suggestion is to populate these fields dynamically by tying them to a variable in your CMS which globally represents your sections and authors for the given page so they can be easily changed.
_sf_async_config.sections = cms.section.variable; _sf_async_config.authors = cms.author.variable;
You can also populate these variables by using page metadata, a tag that already exists in your code, or part of your URL structure which contains these values.
Some examples on how to use these are below, but you know better than us how your site is structured.
If you have a
.classname that you give to your authors, this would grab the value
If instead you give your authors an
#ID, this would grab the value
Splits the URL to after the “.com” (good for Sections)
A broader way to select values from the DOM are below, which would work with meta data, sections and authorsHere's a link to MDN to learn more about it.
document.querySelector('.byline').innerText document.querySelector('#news).innerText document.querySelector('meta[name="author"]').getAttribute("content")
If you populate your CMS variable with a data layer/tag manager (e.g. Google, Adobe, Tealium), you can call that object and iterate through to get your sections and authors
dataLayer.gaSection digitalData.page.category.subCategory1 digitalData.page.pageInfo.author
Mobile Site Implementation
If you have a separate mobile site (e.g. "m.site.com"), you’ll need to deploy Chartbeat code across all mobile pages. In order to track these pages within your existing Dashboard, just make sure to set the domain to the Desktop Domain name.
_sf_async_config.domain = 'site.com';
Canonical Links and Different Paths
Our best practice for combining mobile and desktop traffic for similar stories is to set the Path Variable on your mobile pages to the full canonical link of the desktop pages.
The line you will add to your mobile pages will look more or less like this:
_sf_async_config.path = '/matching-desktop-path';
Non-Canonical Links and Different Paths
To combine the mobile and desktop traffic for similar pages, you'll need to configure your Chartbeat implementation to identify the different versions as the same page.
The line you will add to your mobile pages should resemble:
_sf_async_config.path = 'site.com/matching-desktop-path';
If you are interested in having a separate Chartbeat Dashboard for your mobile site, please have your account administrator add an additional site to your account. Once this is done, you can set the Domain Variable to point to the new Dashboard.
AJAX & Infinite Scroll
If your site uses infinite scroll, serves up content dynamically via AJAX, or pages change without the URL subsequently changing or the DOM refreshing, you’ll need to do some additional implementation.
Anytime a visitor navigates to a new page or piece of content, you’ll need to call the function
virtualPage. This function is specifically designed to update our pinger information on this kind of page change, and can be attached to click/swipe events, or to a pixel that is used to trigger content changes. Best practice is to make sure that the
virtualPage function is called whenever you change to a new page of content using AJAX, so they always happen together.
You’ll need to setup logic to handle these lines of code:
_sf_async_config.sections="New Section"; _sf_async_config.authors="New Author"; pSUPERFLY.virtualPage("/newpath", "New title");
Simply put, you’re setting the author and section (if they change) ahead of time since we take that data as holdover information when we reload the page with
virtualPage. If we are not passed the updated section and author information we’ll continue to register the original sections and authors from the previous page. If the new page has no section or author data, simply set that variable to "null". For example:
Next, when the page changes we’ll need to populate the path and title for the new page(s) within the
virtualPage variable, so that the pings will reflect the new page the visitor is on.
virtualPage should never be called when a user initially arrives on a page from an external source, and should only be called when a user navigates to subsequent pages without causing the DOM to be refreshed.
For pages with infinite scroll, any time a visitor is scrolling down to a new page, they will ping on each distinct URL they hit at least once.
Chartbeat uses three first-party cookies.
_chartbeat2cookie is used to register if a user has visited the domain before and to calculate visitor frequency.
_chartbeat4cookie stores the state of the last ping when a page is unloaded and is used for accurately calculating engaged time.
_chartbeat5cookie is used by the Heads Up Display to assign traffic to the right link on the page from which someone clicked over.
_sf_async_config.noCookies = true;
Note: By using Chartbeat without cookies, you will be unable to see Visitor Frequency, Conversion Quality, and Return Rates.