In this article, you will learn why it is important to track the events that happen on your website, what the process of doing so is and how to read the information from your Google Analytics account.

Event Tracking Actions

Every action that a customer makes on a website is generically called an “event”. An event can be the press of a button, the completion of a form or playing a video.

Google Analytics defines events as “user interactions with content that can be tracked independently from a web page or a screen load. Downloads, mobile ad clicks, gadgets, Flash elements, AJAX embedded elements, and video plays are all examples of actions you might want to track as Events.”

When recording an event on one of your website pages you must detail the following components to Google Analytics: Category, Action, Label (optional, but recommended), Value (optional). An event hit includes a value for each component, and these values are displayed in your reports.

For example, you might set up a video “play” button on your site so that it sends an event hit with the following values:

Category: “Videos”
Action: “Play”
Label: “Baby’s First Birthday”
Value: “2”

Category

A category is a name that you supply as a way to group objects that you want to track. Typically, you will use the same category name multiple times over relating to UI elements that you want to group under a given category.

Actions

Typically, you will use the action parameter to name the type of event or interaction you want to track for a particular web object. For example, with a single “videos” category, you can track a number of specific events with this parameter, such as:

Time when the video completes load
“Play” button clicks
“Stop” button clicks
“Pause” button clicks

Label

With labels, you can provide additional information for events that you want to track, such as the movie title in the video examples above, or the name of a file when tracking downloads.

Value

Value differs from the other components in that it is an integer rather than a string, so use it to assign a numerical value to a tracked page object. For example, you could use it to provide the time in seconds for a player to load, or you might trigger a dollar value when a specific playback marker is reached on a video player.

If you start tracking the event on your page you can then create reports as this one:

Action  Label:”Gone With the Wind” Label:”Mr Smith Goes to Washington” Totals
Play 10 visits w/Event 5 visits w/Event 15 unique events “Play”
Pause 2 visits w/Event 8 visits w/Event 10 unique events “Pause”
Stop 2 visits w/Event 3 visits w/Event 5 unique events “Stop”
Totals 14 unique events for GWTW 16 unique events for Mr Smith 30 unique events for category “videos”

 

Here is a list of the most common events we track for our clients:

  • Scroll depth – this is very useful when you have a single page website or a lot of content on every page. It is important for you to know if the client notices the full page, and if not, to be sure to move the call-to-actions in the first part of the page or improve the user experience.
  • Playing videos – when you have video content events, as shown above, you can see if the audience is engaging with your content. You can then see if the video has a good position or if it has a good and intuitive title and so on. Nowadays, Video content is king, you just need to find a way to get people see your videos.
  • Hover on Product Order Button – if you are conducting serious research on what people want to buy from your website and what actions they do in correlations with a product you can see the numbers of mouseover on an add to cart button beside the usual add-to-cart action and remove-from-cart.
  • How your client refines their search – you can find what are the most wanted colours of this season, if your clients are discount hunters or if most of your clients wear a shoe size 36 and you don’t have any in stock. Find what client research on your website and provide a better experience for them.
  • Affiliate link clicks – if you are in the affiliate business you already know that affiliation platforms don’t give you all the information you need. We have helped our clients to see exactly what call-to-action was the most pressed, what review was the most convincing and where your traffic go. Choosing the right call-to-action in affiliation is almost of the same importance as getting traffic.

Nowadays, almost, every website has a carousel. If you are tracking the number of resources a carousel uses, then tracking the performance of your carousel is a big thing. You can track events with the banners your clients saw, what banners were pressed and see what banners have the lowest performance so you can make a decision to change them.

Events are sent to Analytics, even the ecommerce interactions as product impressions, adds-to-cart, checkout steps, promotions click and more. All the events in the ecommerce section have these goals: find insights about the customer behaviour to make better acquisitions of stock, better discounts campaigns, a more user-friendly interface and provide a more relevant product listing for the client.

When you start tracking the events people generate on your pages, the information you will gather will be, most likely, very far from what you imagined.

The most important reason why you should start track the events that happen on your website is that all people are different, come on your page from different sources, with different technical skills or experiences with websites. If you want your products or ideas to perform be sure your audience get through all the nodes of your website.

Start learning how to implement events on your website right now and start building your digital strategy today! Need some help doing so? Get in touch with our experts!

Image: Courtesy of blogoscoped.com

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Alexandra

Previously led retail and digital marketing for LEGO Certified Stores and PANDORA. She’s experienced in PPC, affiliate, e-commerce, travel and news websites. She has a Master's degree in economic analysis.

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