17 Apr

How to Plan For Google Analytics Events

Google Tag Manager Logo courtesy of DMR dot org

In a previous post, (The Clicks Google Analytics Does Not Report) we introduced Google Analytics events. Events happen when there is a website click that does not change the page; for example clicking a video, a link to another website, a file download, or even a button.

Event Requirements

Each, event must have a category and an action, and there’s an option to add a label.

Planning Website Events with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics

Let’s look at ways you can ‘plan’ your website events, and provide your website developer clear instructions so that click data is transferred to Google Analytics in a way you will understand.

What to Track as an Event

Here are some events I always track:

  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Form completions
  • Email subscriptions
  • Purchases (ecommerce)
  • Video starts

Some or all of the items listed above may apply to you. Just remember, when it comes to event tracking, the possibilities are endless. But that doesn’t mean you have to track inconsequential things like a file download.

Once you’ve identified everything you want to track, the next step is to decide how you want each event to appear in Google Analytics. Each item must have a category and action, so it’s important to name them in such a way that you will know what they mean when you see them in your Google Analytics reports.

Here’s an example. There are three ways people can contact us through a website: Completing a contact form, clicking on a phone number, or clicking the email address. For all three, the category is contact.

Event Appearance in Google Analytics Reports

Google Analytics reports Categories, Actions and Labels in the “Behaviour” reports on the left navigation:

Behavior > Events > Top Events

This allows for grouping when doing analysis; for example, tracking when people contact you via the phone, completing a form, or email. A click on any of these three items has the category ‘contact.’

Naming Convention Matters

The naming convention used for Category, Action, and Label is important because that impacts how information appears in your Google Analytics Reports. The reports need to be easily understood by anyone looking at them. There should be no guesswork involved.

The table below is an example of tag naming convention:

Table 1 Google Analytics Event Naming Convention

Item Number Item to Track Location on the website Category Action Label
1 Email subscription form submission Contact Us Page FormCompletion EmailSubscribe
2 Email Clicks (user clicks on an email) Across website Contact Email {send to email address}
3 Phone Number Clicks Header and Contact page Contact Phone Phone number clicked
4 File downloads Across website Download File type File Name
5 Outbound  Links Across website OutboundLink WebsiteName DestinationURL
6 Linked In Icon Header Social Media Linked In
7 Video starts Across website Video Start Title & Link

Role of Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a free product that collects click data (category, action and label) on your website and sends it to Google Analytics.

In Google Tag Manager, you will set your event naming as identified in the table above. However, although Google presents GTM as “easy to use,” it’s not always so. In short, that some HTML and Java Script knowledge is required, which is why I often recommend working with a website developer to make your tags are correctly configured in Google Tag Manager.

Working with Your Website Developer

You should be able to give your website developer a table similar to the one in this post. From there, they should be able to create the tags in a few hours if they have worked with Google Tag Manager before. If they have not, it may take them a bit longer, but for technical people I’ve heard it’s pretty easy.

Find Your Event Data

Your event data will be in Google Analytics under Behavior > Events.

Now it’s your turn. Let me know how your event tagging goes for your website.

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