What Is Google Analytics Event Tracking

Over the past couple of days I have talked through some of the core metrics of Google Analytics such as Bounce Rate and Exit Rate. Today I will answer the question, What is Google Analytics event tracking?

google-analytics-event-trackingSo, lets start with the official definition from Google of Event Tracking:

Event Tracking is a method available in the ga.js tracking code that you can use to record user interaction with website elements, such as a Flash-driven menu system. This is accomplished by attaching the method call to the particular UI element you want to track.

Essentially, Google Analytics Event Tracking allows you to log information about what your visitors are doing whilst they are on a page, generally Google Analytics is set to measure page view based events (things that are happening during the loading of a page), Event Tracking allows you to monitor interactions on your website after the page has loaded.

Event Tracking can be useful for tracking actions such as downloading a file, subscribing to a newsletter or a click on a particular link on your page.

Setting up Event Tracking I would put in the moderately difficult category, if you have a small amount of experience with Javascript then you should find it relatively easily, if not then stick to the Google Implementation Guide and follow the process on there.

As a basic run through, Event Tracking works by placing a call back to Google on the events that you wish to track using their _trackEvent call, which takes the following format:

_trackEvent(category, action, opt_label, opt_value, opt_noninteraction)

Only the first two options are required, the other three are optional.

An example of this code in action might be a user click ‘Play’ on a video on your website. To do this you need to add an onClick call to monitor when an element has been click and add the call back to Google inside it, such as:

<a href=”#” onClick=”_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Videos', 'Play', 'Baby's First Birthday']);”>Play</a>

In this scenario, the reports for Events would display Videos as the Category, Play as the Action, and Baby’s First Birthday as the Label.

Hopefully this has given you an insight into what Google Analytics Event Tracking is and some examples of where you might be able to use it on your website. It is a powerful addon to analytics that allows you to gather more information about what your visitors are doing when browsing your website.

Having problems with Analytics Event Tracking? Not sure how to implement it? Post your questions below and I will do my best to help you out..

It would be great to hear how you have implemented Event Tracking on your website and whether you find the data useful?

David Shaw is a Conversion Rate Optimisation Expert & Web Analyst from Bristol, UK.Working for clients around the world he specializes in Website Analysis, Search Engine Optimization, Conversion Rate Optimization and User Experience Analysis.He has generated millions for companies around the world through A/B testing and website optimization to increase conversion rates and revenue.

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    1. [...] You next need to select your Goal Type from the four options. The pages per visit and visit duration are relatively simple to understand and they are useful when you are looking to improve visitors time on your site. URL Destination can be used when your goal is to get people to a specific page, maybe a checkout confirmation page or thanks for subscribing page. Event allows you to assign a goal to one of your Events you have set up, not sure what events are? Read: What Is Google Analytics Event Tracking. [...]

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    David Shaw

    Hi, I am David Shaw a Conversion Rate expert from the UK with over 5 years experience in optmizing websites to generate more revenue.

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