By Anna Lewis, Google Analytics Analyst for Search Engine Watch:
The majority of reports in Google Analytics are made up of data that is automatically collected with the basic Google Analytics code on your website.
There are a few areas where you can add additional information into Google Analytics on top of this to get data specific to your website and events is one of them. Its called Events because it is most often used to measure actions (aka, events) happening on your website.
From clicks on a button, to form submissions, video interaction, or scrolling to the bottom of the page, Event Tracking can be used for all manner of activity measurement on your website.
This post will be limited to the Events report. For advice setting up Event Tracking, and some ideas of how to use it check out this Event Tracking blog post.
One handy tip when setting up Event Tracking is to use the Real-Time report for Event Tracking to check that the code is working as you implement it. Once you have your Event Tracking code in place on the activities that you want to track on your website, you will need to head over to the Behavior > Events > Overview report in Google Analytics to start getting familiar with the data you can now analyze.
The Overview contains the summary of the Top Events data, which can be handy to keep an eye on but you may prefer to head straight to the Top Events Report instead as this is where all the details are and you can drill down with ease to analyze the information you’re looking for.
Events have two pieces of compulsory information, Category and Action, as well as the optional Label and Value fields.
The Top Events report starts on the Events Category report as this is where you place the generic information about your event in order to group the data together. For example, all data about your video tracking may be here as Video, alongside your form interaction information which you may have called Forms.
From Category, you can click either the link above the table to see the data by Action or Label, you can filter the information to find what you’re looking for using the search box or you can click one of the links in the results to see the detail about that particular event.
In each report you will see the following data:
- Total Events: Total number of times the event was tracked on your website, if you’re looking at the Category report this is for all Actions and Label combinations for each Category.
- Unique Events: Events of the same type within the same session have been removed from total events to de-duplicate them, this helps you identify events which are triggered multiple times per session or if an event is only important once then this is more important to you than total events.
- Event Value: This is a numeric value totaled up based on any values you fire with your Event Tracking, if 5 events with a value of 10 are collected your report will show a value of 50.
- Average Value: This averages out the value based on how many events fired, so in the above example 50 would be divided by the 5 events, leaving an average value of 10. This is good for gauging performance of certain types of events, like average levels achieved in a game or seconds of video watched.
In addition to the event specific data, you can also use the Site Usage and Ecommerce reports from the links above the graph. These help you understand whether different events improve interaction, engagement, and conversions on the website. This is particularly good for monitoring conversion assisting functionality on your website, whether product videos, live chat, postal options etc, allowing you to understand whether they improve conversions.
One additional benefit of using Event Tracking is that you can set events as Goals and record the ones you choose as conversions. Common uses for this are:
- Tracking form submissions.
- Tracking clicks on email links.
- Tracking outbound affiliate links.
Don’t forget that you can also use events in Advanced Segments to analyze users or sessions that included specific event categories, actions, labels, or values – or a combination of these to help you hone in on the effect of certain website functionality on a conversion journey. Understanding users who hit play a video versus those who didn’t can help you evaluate the value of a video strategy for your website.
This example finds every session where a product video was watched for longer than 30 seconds, based on the information collected on the website. We could compare this to one in which the value is over 60 to see whether we should be making short or longer videos.
Using Event Tracking to measure interaction and conversions on your website is really beneficial for getting a better understanding of how your users are engaging with the content and features of your website in a much more advanced way than the standard reports can manage.
The flexibility of tracking what matters most to you and your site is key to advancing your website and improving everything from small to key conversion points – or micro to macro conversions if you speak the analytics language!