Google Analytics at its default tells you where your visitors are from and where they are going on your website, but it doesn’t tell you what visitors are DOING. Sure, you can build success pages for different links/forms that can tell you that someone clicked a certain link/form, but it doesn’t work for everything and you would need a different success page for literally every link/form that you want to track.
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If you want to track what website visitors are doing, you need to add “Events” into your tracking. This is something that the overwhelming majority of websites we have seen here at Marketing in Color had never set up. Events allow you to track things that aren’t included in Google Analytics; things that you define and have decided on for your business. Today we are going to look at a few Events that should be standard for any new installation of Google Analytics.
Getting Started with Events in Google Analytics
There are a few different ways to add Events to your website, but first let’s look at what an event actually is. Events are defined by Google 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.” How that information is passed back to Google Analytics is by a small piece of code “firing” whenever a visitor takes an action. You get to define the data that piece of code sends back by defining the following:
eventCategory – What the visitor interacted with (for example, a video, an external link, or a phone number)
eventAction – What the visitor did to interact with the event (for example clicking or scrolling)
eventLabel – Helps to define/differentiate different types of actions (for example, which video did they watch, which external link did they click, or which phone number did they call)
eventValue – How much is this event worth to you? This is helpful for macro and micro conversion
You can build Events manually, by using a plugin or by using Google Tag Manager. Tag Manager is our preferred way of implementing tags because you can build variables into your tags, you don’t need to manually update events on your website, and you can quickly/easily define the event fields (Category, Action, Label, Value).
Once you have built and placed your Events, you will be able to see them in Google Analytics, as well as use them in funnels and goals. This gives you valuable data on what people are actually doing on your website so you can customize your content to what is resonating with your visitors, as well as run A/B tests on content/design.
Events for Everyone!
Alright, now that we see what Events are for, why they are useful, and how to make/implement them, lets look at some events that you should implement from the get-go!
Track downloads across your site to see how engaged/interested your visitors are in your content. Downloads can be anything from white papers to forms to images/video content.
See which traffic sources are generating the most newsletter subscriptions and invest more time/money in those sources.
Contact Us links
See how customers are contacting your organization across your entire website, and which pages are generating the most points of contact. You can track forms, email addresses and phone numbers this way, or even links to scheduling calendars.
Social Share Buttons
Everyone wants their content to go viral, but how do you know which content is actually resonating with your readers to the point where they are sharing your content? Tracking share buttons with Events will help you answer this question.
Important Page Clicks
Now this one will vary for every company, but the idea is to track if someone clicks to an important page, such as a “Contact” page, a “Product Info” page, or an “Event Registration” page. This way you can track which internal pages are generating the most clicks, or even which campaigns are getting people the most visitors to the pages that matter for your company.