Google Analytics Events

A detailed overview of Google Analytics Events and how they can benefit your business
8 minute read
By Guillaume Wan

1. What are Google Analytics Events?

Events are “interaction hits” in other words, user actions which have been taken on a website or application page such as button clicks, video play, File downloads. They are independent from a page loading and for each Event you have the following structure:

Event Category: Highest level in the structure, often used to group multiple similar interactions which fall under the same group e.g “product-detail” Events.

Event Action: Second level in the structure, typically describing an action which has been executed e.g “promotion-code-clicked”.

Event Label: Last level which is the one bringing the most granular information to your Event e.g product information such as “product-name”.

Value: This is a field which allows a metric to be entered e.g if you want to add a monetary value it is possible to use this field, although it is not compulsory: e.g 5 $. This metric will then be incremented for the same Event.

Important considerations

  • It is essential to point out that Events will affect your bounce rate depending on the tagging setup “Non-Interaction” parameter set to True or False in Google Tag Manager. Therefore if your business is a blog, your bounce rate will be high and will not tell anything about user behaviour. In this case it would be wiser to setup False Non-Interaction scrolling Events to see if users are scrolling down the page to read. This should automatically adjust bounce rate and give you a better user behaviour understanding. Bounce rates are a great indicator to measure user engagement and should be part of any business KPIs.

  • The number of Events during a Session is limited to 500 therefore it is best practice to avoid any repetitive Events such as page timers Event or mouse movement tracking which send excessive amounts of Event and risk to affect your data collection and skew analysis.

2. Where can you find Events data?

Events can be found under the Behaviour section just before the Conversions, after clicking on the main section it expands into several sub sections:

Overview: a summary of all the existing Events shown in the form of scorecards and timeline and total Events metric.

Top Events: Here is where you will find your different Event structure {Event Category, Event Action; Event Label}, along with relevant metrics such as Unique Events (how many of this particular Event occured within a Session.

Pages: This part shows the total number of Events or Unique Events which happened on specific pages. It can be used to measure the level of user engagement.

Events Flow: The Event Flow is useful to see the sequence in which Events are being triggered. You can see which Event is popular first and then which Event is popular next.

3. How to set up Events?

To setup Events, you will need to have a Google Tag Manager (GTM) account and the GTM tracking code installed on all pages of your website. After that you can create a Tag that will be pushing the Event Category, Event Action, Event Label parameters to your Google Analytics account. A tag can be executed if certain user actions are happening, for example the download of a pdf file. Every time the tag executes, the Event information is recorded in Google Analytics under the Events section.

GTM configuration

4. How can you use Events for reporting?

In terms of reporting, there are many tools to choose from, however because Google Data Studio integrates very well with Google Analytics, suggestions in this article mostly (unless otherwise indicated) refer to Data Studio framework and reporting. It is crucial to have properly defined Events on your website since the quality of the collected data will affect your reporting and directly affect your business and marketing strategy in the future. Using reporting tools such as Google Data Studio allows you to have an overview of your website’s performance represented on an A4 page size and conduct a daily monitoring of your Events. Using a fully integrated solution allows businesses to decrease reporting time and speed up campaign optimization which in the long run will yield higher profit margins.

The main reporting features available in Google Data Studio are:

Scorecards (DS) Scorecards show data for a single measure. They also allow you to combine several Events to show a single number which comprises many Events which users have reached within a session. Up and down variations are represented below the Scorecard either to highlight an increase in the value compared to the previous period or versus other time periods.

event scorecrds V3

Tables (DS) Tables are a great way to visualise large data sets. Data Studio allows you to blend data easily which means you can have several Events under a shared dimension within the same table. Heatmaps can also be applied to the table to quickly distinguish high values from low values. Creating custom dimensions using calculated fields will allow you to create more comprehensive reports.

Event tables

Custom Funnel (GA360) Custom Funnels allow you to quickly see the journey that users undertake in order to complete a task. Showing the drop-offs rate along the way at each step as well. If you want to calculate the conversion rate of an Event, for example how many Sessions came from the homepage and how many of these sessions triggered the contact us button Event after visiting the contact page, you could build a custom funnel which allows you to see this information side by side and how many of these Sessions have not triggered this Event.

Event funnel

Building custom funnels will allow you to allocate more resources towards improving the website pages with the highest drop-off and ultimately increase sales figures.

Event flow (GA) The Event flow is the representation of the sequence of Events being triggered by users on the website. The main insight of Event flow chart is if an Event is recurring more than others and if it is recurring multiple times within one Session. You can also apply segments to this chart to see whether users with specific attributes are triggering which type of Events and in what sequence.

Event flow

Why you should implement Google Analytics Events Event path analysis makes it easy to Understand the actions users perform between the steps within a funnel to demonstrate why users did or did not convert. This Event flow chart therefore helps businesses to make calculated decisions. The key here is that businesses will be able to identify hotspots on which website pages and where exactly it is happening on the page and direct their financial resources accordingly.

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Guillaume Wan
Technical Web Analyst, ekino London.
Guillaume is passionate about data and web analytics. He believes that a solid tracking implementation is key to a successful reporting and Digital Marketing strategy.