Under-Used Analytics Features 5: Events

This is the fifth post in a series about under-used Google Analytics features. Under-used by whom? Not by us – these are features that we use all the time, and find invaluable in analysing our clients’ data. But we find that the majority of clients are unaware of them or unsure how to use them – hence the need for this series!

What are Events?

Event tracking can be used to see user interactions with content in Google Analytics that aren’t tracked by default. This could be downloads of specific documents, clicks on videos, clicks on a slider and so on.

Where do I see these Events in Analytics?

In Behaviour > Events on the left hand navigation bar in Google Analytics:

You can also set events as Goals, which makes good sense if you are tracking things like clicks on email links, downloads of booking forms or similar.

How do I set them up?

You’re probably going to need your web developer to do it for you as it involves wrapping some code around each thing that you want to track. For example, if you want to track clicks on a particular link (for example, a link to your email address on your Contact Us page), this is what you’d need to change in the code: Your original code would be something like this: <a href=”mailto:[email protected]”> (where ‘[email protected]’ would of course be your own email address) And you would change it to something like this: <a onclick=”ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘Email’, ‘[email protected]’);” href=”mailto:[email protected]”> What this is doing is sending an event into GA and labelling it as an Email event called [email protected] If you’ve got lots of email address links (or indeed other things you want to track) across your website (which we would suggest you do, if you want to get online enquiries) then you (or your developer) might need a quicker way of implementing this. You could look at using Google Tag Manager on your website, but there’s a steep learning curve with that as well, if you’ve not used it before. Or there may be a plugin or module for your content management system which adds this type of code for you automatically. If you use WordPress, for example, and you have the MonsterInsights Analytics plugin, you can enable event tracking of downloads and outbound link clicks (note: this doesn’t include tracking of email links) by just ticking a box in the plugin’s General Settings. Or, of course, you could speak to us at Ascendancy and we can help and advise you on which events you might want to set up and how best to do so  🙂

Are there any implications I should be aware of?

Yes – a big one. Events will change your bounce rate. A bounce, of course, happens when someone comes to your website, looks at only one page, and then exits the website again. If they trigger an event while they’re there, they will no longer be classed as having bounced, thereby bringing your bounce rate down. If you have a lot of events on your website that are triggered by trivial things then your bounce rate may come down quite dramatically. That’s OK, as long as you understand why, and don’t either expect it to be comparable to other peoples’ event-free bounce rates, or start telling your boss that you’ve seriously improved the quality of traffic to the site!

I’d like to know more about Events! Where can I read more?

For a more general view of Events read this: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033068

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