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E is for Events

Events are user actions or behaviour on your site that you’ve defined as important to you. The only interaction that Analytics tracks by default is a page view, so if you want to track actions like form submissions, video views, downloads etc. you’ll need to implement Event Tracking.

Why? To know exactly what people are doing on your site. We’ve talked about Bounce Rate before, and how if you haven’t defined an event for that home page video play it might seem that engagement is poor when the opposite is true. You want to get to a point where people can’t sneeze on your site without you knowing what device/source/browser led to that sneeze. Event Tracking will help with that.

Event Tracking used to be a case of adding a bit of Javascript to the element you wanted to track, but there’s a far better way to do it: by using Google Tag Manager. While it’s a little work to set up initially, it’ll make your overall life with Analytics far better, and not just because it’s so easy to set up event tracking.

However you set up implement event tracking, you will need to give some thought to how you define your events. First, decide on a Category. For example, you have a number of videos on your site, so the overall event category will be ‘Videos’. Event categories are grouped together in analytics reports, so make the category consistent and you’ll be able to see and compare user interaction with all your videos.

The next required element of an event is the Action. This is literally the action taken – a click to play, stop or pause in the case of a video.

And the optional Label element of an Event just that – a name for the specific item, so ‘home page video’ or ‘annual report pdf’ would be Labels for the particular item you were tracking as an Event.

There are other elements to an Event (you might want to use Value if the event has a set value), but the important thing is that unless you use Event Tracking, you’re missing out on key insights into your site and how people interact with it.

Next: F is for Filters

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