Google Analytics Event Tracking Naming Strategy

Whether you’re a marketer, blogger or selling products on your own website, understanding how people interact with your site is vitally important to your success. Are people following the funnel you created? Are your calls-to-action (CTAs) still performing well? How many people are leaving your website to visit your Facebook page? All of these questions and many more can be answered through a proper event tracking strategy in Google Analytics.

One of the mistakes I’ve seen made on a regular basis is that Google Analytics Events and Goals are often set up in a manner that either provide little value, take forever to analyze, or both. I want to keep you from making this same error. This post will focus on an event tracking naming strategy that you can use to gain valuable insight about your website.

Using the same naming conventions for event tracking across all sites you work on allows you to easily read the reports and since you have a go-to list it also makes writing event tracking code very easy.

The last part of this post covers some additional insights into event tracking and how to use Google Analytics events to track and a/b test the CTAs on your website. You won’t want to miss it.

When naming events in Google Analytics, some of the most important aspects to consider are:

  1. Does the event tracking strategy make sense when viewed in a report?
  2. Is it scalable across multiple websites & industries?
  3. Will the information gained provide the marketing team with actionable insights?

Quick Primer on Google Analytics Event Tracking

Google Analytics Events can have four parameters – Category, Action, Label, and Value. The list provided in this post contains event categories, actions and labels. If an event has a value then it should be tracked as a goal in Google Analytics. For the event label I sometimes add additional information which I will illustrate here using the labels for an ordinary text link:

  1. Page Visited
  2. Page Visited – CTA
  3. Page Visited – Location
  4. Page Visited – CTA – Location

An example for the last option would be a label named “Contact Page – Contact Us Now! – Footer” for a text link to www.yoursite.com/contact. The only one mandatory is the Page Visited, the rest are there to provide further detail when needed.

When you export event tracking data from Google Analytics you can then sort by “Location” to see how clicks on links in your Footer compare with clicks on links in your Side Nav or Header. You are also able to compare different CTAs used in various places on your site if you find that information useful. It can also be helpful where there is more than one link to the same page in your content and different text is used for each link.

An example custom report for Google Analytics Analytics Events:

Google Analytics Event Tracking Report

I frequently add Page as a dimension to my reporting as well. In this case I am using a Flat Table type of report best used when you need to export data into a spreadsheet format for analysis. If interested, you can learn more about using Custom Reports in Google Analytics here.

Google Analytics Event Tracking Naming Strategy

PDFs
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'PDFs', 'Downloaded', 'PDF Name');"
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'PDFs', 'Viewed Online', 'PDF Name');"

Videos
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Videos', 'Played', 'Video Name');"
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Videos', 'Paused', 'Video Name');"
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Videos', 'Completed', 'Video Name');"
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Videos', 'Downloaded', 'Video Name');"

Podcasts
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Podcasts', 'Played', 'Video Name');"
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Podcasts', 'Paused', 'Video Name');"
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Podcasts', 'Completed', 'Video Name');"
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Podcasts', 'Downloaded', 'Video Name');"

Outbound Text Links
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Outbound Text Links', 'Clicked', 'www.example.com');"

Outbound Banner Links
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Outbound Banner Links', 'Clicked', 'www.example.com');"

Outbound Button Links
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Outbound Button Links', 'Clicked', 'www.example.com');"

Social Media Links
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Social Media Links', 'Clicked', 'Social Media Name');"

Text Links
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Text Links', 'Clicked', 'Page Visited');"

Button Links
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Button Links', 'Clicked', 'Page Visited');"

Image Links
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Image Links', 'Clicked', 'Page Visited');"

Forms
onsubmit="return ga('send', 'event', 'Forms', 'Submitted', 'Form Name');"

Note: onsubmit and return are used here to ensure you track only forms that were actually submitted.

Email Links
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Email Links', 'Clicked', 'info@example.com');"

Telephone Links
onclick="ga('send', 'event', 'Telephone Links', 'Clicked', '123.456.7890');"

Contact Form Plugins for WordPress

Contact Form 7
on_sent_ok: "ga('send', 'event', 'Forms', 'Submitted', 'Form Name');"

Gravity Forms
There are many ingenious ways mentioned online to track events in Gravity Forms. Some may be better, yet the easiest way I’ve found to track Google Analytics events in Gravity Forms is with the Gravity Forms Google Analytics Event Tracking plugin.

Additional Insights Into This Method

After looking over many examples online, reviewing how I have used event tracking in the past, and thinking about how I would like to use it in the future I settled upon the following categories, actions and labels.

By tracking banner, button, text, and image links separately you can get an idea of which types perform well on a specific site or across multiple sites. The same goes for tracking outbound banner, outbound text & outbound button links. This can be particularly useful if your income is derived from advertising on your website. Instead of running multiple A/B tests on your CTAs simply implement detailed event tracking to see which types of links perform best.

Labels are often where marketers get the most creative so this is where I wanted to think hard about developing naming conventions that could be used across all (or most) sites. For categories like PDFs, Videos, or Podcasts the label would be the piece of content’s name. So if you video is called “101 Ways to Earn Links” that would also be the name of the label.

Tracking CTAs

As previously stated, I sometimes add additional information to the Labels. If you change CTAs often, this is an easy way to keep track of what CTA has had the highest click through rate. It’s really just a simple way to a/b test different CTA copy since you should be tracking CTAs as events anyway.

Tracking the location of links can also be very useful. You may have social media links in the header, sidebar, and footer. Tracking these through events can give you an easy way to report which location gets the most clicks if you’re interested in that information.

Adding CTAs & Location where applicable allows you to get an overview of what types of CTAs and Locations get the most clicks and help drive visitors through the conversion funnel on your website. In order to keep things as simple as possible I only recommend using both when being able to track both provides real value.

A/B Testing CTAs

As mentioned before the label can be used to a/b test different copy. When you use an a/b testing tool you can use this to monitor if the change continues to be more successful than a previous version. Depending on the amount of traffic a site gets you should monitor this as often as once per week or as seldom as once per month. If you notice a steady decline in events for one of your CTAs it may be time to refresh your CTA copy.

For example, let’s suppose after a/b testing the CTA, “Learn More” with “See It Work!” the latter won. A month or two down the road you can quickly take the number of events (clicks) divided by number of pageviews for a given period from the first CTA and compare it with the same calculation for the new CTA. This is an easy way to confirm your test and ensure the winner is still outperforming the old CTA.

I hope you’ve found this information useful. Again, if you have any suggestions please let me know in the comments below.

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Published:February 14, 2017

Analyics Efficiency

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  • ven hudson

    Thanks for sharing the blog. You can also do heatmap tracking with google analytics.