Using Event Tracking In Google Analytics

Person looking at Google Analytics on laptop

In order to track and understand a website’s visitors, you would use Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a great way to see where users are coming from and how they are interacting with your site. But, what if you also need to track a specific action that users are taking? Maybe, having users opt-in to your email list is a key part of your sales funnel.

Google Analytics Events Overview

With a video on your site, what if you want to know how many users watch the video or watch the entire video?. How would you know the percentage of people who come from certain channels opt-in to your email list? This is where event tracking comes in.

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What is event tracking?

Events are a specific action a user may take on your website that gets sent to Google Analytics. For example, there is a content upgrade in this article where you can download our Introduction To Google Analytics eBook. When you submit the form, an event is sent to Google Analytics. This allows me to track and optimize our traffic and conversions.

Instead of a content upgrade, maybe you have a video on your page that you want users to watch. Many video players allow you to send an event when someone starts watching a video and when they watch the whole video. So, you could see the percent of users who watch the video and compare that based on where they came from and which pages they visited on your site.

If you are using Quiz And Survey Master, you could send an event when someone submits your quizzes or surveys. This is very helpful when you want to see which acquisition channels are sending the most users that are submitting your survey. Then, you can see how these users go on to make purchases on your sites to optimize and test different strategies for improving the process of taking a new user through the purchase.

Google Analytics Top Events

The events are then passed into Google Analytics and can be seen in the “Behavior” section. In the screen above, I went to the “Top Events” section to see our top events on the Quiz And Survey Master website. Here, we can see all of our top events. We can add a secondary dimension to see where the user came from or the average sale from these users.

The parts of an event

Each event has a few parts to it to help you compare and track different types of events. These are the category, action, and label.

Event Category

This is a way to group a set of events together. For example, all of our content upgrades use the category of “Content Upgrades”. This could also be “survey”, “videos”, “pdf”, etc..

Event Action

This is the specific action the user has taken on your site that you want to track. For our content upgrade, we use “download”. For our email opt-ins, we use “subscribed”. Some other examples could be “downloaded”, “play”, and “stop”.

Event Label

Event labels allow you to send over some additional information about the event. If you have more than one of the category on your site, this may be a good way to identify which has been interacted with. For example, if you have multiple PDF’s on your site, you may use “pdf” as your category and “downloaded” as your action for all of them. You would then use the label to identify each of them. So, for the PDF’s, you may have labels of “My eBook”, “Meal Plan”, and “Case Studies”.

Let’s say we had a video in the header of our website called “Getting Started” and then another video in the content of our website called “Why Use Us”. We could structure our events like this:

  1. Getting Started Video
    • Event Category: Video
    • Event Action: Play
    • Event Label: Getting Started
  2. Why Use Us
    • Event Category: Video
    • Event Action: Play
    • Event Label: Why Use Us

How to use event tracking

When it comes to using event tracking on your website, you will need to see what options are available for the different elements of your website. For example, we use a WordPress plugin to create our content upgrades. In the settings for the plugin, is an option that we can turn on that allows the plugin to send an event to Google Analytics when someone submits the content upgrade form.

Google Analytics option in the Content Upgrades plugin

We also use Drip for our email marketing. Our opt-in form allows users to enter their email address to receive our Google Analytics eBook. The settings of Drip allows us to configure an event that is sent to Google Analytics when someone submits the opt-in form.

Google Analytics in Drip Email Marketing

Most email marketing platforms have a similar option.

If you are using YouTube videos, you can use the Google Tag Manager inside Google Analytics to set up a “YouTube Video” trigger.

If you are inserted in adding links into your site that people can click on to subscribe or download, you can use this technical trick to using event tracking in the onclick event.

What’s Next?

If you are just getting started with Google Analytics, you can check out our eBook:

Click here to get the Intro To Google Analytics eBook!

The next step you will want to take is to look through the various elements and products you use to see if there are settings for enabling event tracking. If you are using a video player on your site, there are usually settings for Google Analytics events. For most email list providers and eCommerce platforms, there are usually options for turning on event tracking.

Also, if you are not using UTM’s yet, be sure to check out our Not Using UTMs? You Should Start Right Now! post.

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