Tracking events is essential for gaining insights into how users interact with your website.
Implementing recommended events in GA4 is a relatively straightforward process, and it can provide you with valuable insights into how your users are interacting with your website or app. This information serves multiple purposes like improving your user experience, increasing conversions, and boosting your bottom line.
In this comprehensive guide contributed by Tagmate, we’ll walk through how to implement a recommended event in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) using Google Tag Manager:
What are Events and Why are They Important?
Events allow you to track actions taken by users beyond just pageviews. Any interaction you want to measure can be set up as an event in GA.
Common examples include:
- Button clicks
- Downloading files
- Watching videos
- Clicking links
- Submitting forms
- Adding items to a shopping cart
- Making purchases
Without events, you only have pageviews to understand user behavior. But pageviews alone don’t provide the full picture.
Events give you granular data to answer critical questions like:
- What content is resonating with users?
- Where are users dropping off in a conversion funnel?
- How effectively are calls-to-action driving actions?
- What journey does a user take before converting?
Pageviews show you where users go. Events show you what they do.
This makes events invaluable for gaining actionable insights to optimize the user experience.
How Events Work in Google Analytics
Some basic events like pageviews and outbound link clicks are tracked automatically in GA.
But for other types of actions, you need to manually configure event tracking. This involves sending an event hit to Google Analytics by triggering a bit of code.
Here’s what a basic GA event hit contains:
- Category - Typically the object or component involved
- Action - The type of interaction
- Label - Additional context (optional)
- Value - A numeric value associated with the event (optional)
For example, a video play event could have:
- Category = Videos
- Action = Play
- Label = Learn GA4 Video
- Value = 0
When this event hits GA, it will show up in your reports with the category, action, label, and value specified.
Analytics will aggregate all events of that type to show metrics like total events, unique events, event value, etc.
Segmenting and filtering on these event dimensions allows you to dig into the data. This is how events unlock powerful insights into user behavior.
Implementing a Recommended Share Event
Now that we understand events, let’s walk through implementing one in GA4 using Google Tag Manager.
We’ll track a “Share” event on a social media share button click. Share is a recommended event type that comes predefined in GA.
Here are the steps:
- Identify the share button
- Create a GA4 event tag
- Add a click trigger
- Test in Preview mode
- Publish and confirm
Identifying the Share Button
First, we need to identify the specific button that triggers the share action.
Looking at the page source, we see the share button has this CSS class:
<button class="twitter-share-button">Share on Twitter</button>
We’ll use the twitter-share-button class to precisely target this button in Google Tag Manager.
Creating the GA4 Event Tag
Next, we’ll create a tag that fires the GA4 event on click.
In Google Tag Manager, create a new tag and select the GA4 Event tag type.
Configure the event tag as follows:
Name: GA4 Event Share Twitter
This name clearly identifies what the tag does.
Track Type: Event
Configuration: The GA4 configuration for your site
This specifies which GA4 property to send the event data to.
Event Name: Share
The Share event name comes predefined in GA4.
- Name: Method
- Value: Twitter
This adds context that the share was to Twitter specifically. The event parameters allow you to add details like this.
That covers the key configurations needed for the event tag.
Adding a Click Trigger
The tag alone won’t fire without a trigger attached. We need to specify when exactly the event should be sent to GA4.
Create a new Click trigger, configured as follows:
Name: Click - Twitter Share Button
Again, a clear descriptive name.
Trigger Type: Click - Just Links
This detects clicks on link elements specifically.
Fire On: Links that contain twitter-share-button
This precisely targets just the Twitter share button using the CSS class we identified.
Now the event tag will fire each time the intended share button is clicked.
Testing in Preview Mode
Before publishing the changes, it's critical to test and debug in GTM’s live Preview mode.
Preview mode lets you replicate the live tagging on your site to confirm everything works as expected before going fully live.
Follow these steps to test:
- Get the GTM preview URL
- Install the Tag Assistant browser extension
- Click the Twitter share button on your site
- Inspect if the GA4 event fired correctly
The tag assistant will show you all tag activity triggered as you interact with your page.
Verify that clicking the share button does indeed fire the GA4 Share event with the proper parameters.
Preview mode helps catch any mistakes so you can fix them before your changes impact data collection on your live site.
Publishing and Validating
Once Preview mode testing confirms the tagging is working properly, publish the changes in Google Tag Manager.
On your live site, click the Twitter share button again.
Go into Google Analytics Real Time reports and verify the Share event appears there with the proper Twitter method specified.
With that, you’ve successfully implemented the share event tracking!
Now your reports will contain useful metrics like:
- Total social shares
- Top shared pages
- Share rates over time
- Share performance by channel (Twitter, Facebook etc.)
This information can guide decisions around social strategy, content creation, and more.
Configuring events in Google Analytics 4 takes just a few steps:
- Identify the element associated with the event.
- Create a GA4 event tag to track it.
- Attach a trigger to fire the tag precisely when the event occurs.
- Thoroughly test in Preview mode.
- Publish the changes and confirm live data collection.
Following this straightforward process allows you to easily track any valuable user actions on your site.
Events are the foundation of understanding user behavior beyond simple pageviews. Leveraging events gives you granular data to optimize the customer experience and promote business growth.
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