Explainer Highlight Public

Website ‘Event’ Tracking Recommendations (Google Analytics)

Website owners typically want to track at least the following three user actions:

  • Clicks on outbound links
  • Clicks on email addresses
  • Clicks on files to download

In each of these cases, you would ordinarily not have the click data in GA if you didn’t specifically set-up your website’s tracking implementation to track these user actions using Google Analytics “events”.

There are 3 fields available for tracking events in GA:

  • Event Category
  • Event Action
  • Event Label

So what data should you include in your typical website event hits?

What NOT to do When Tracking Events

  • Don’t use an action of “click”. That’s a waste of a field. Of course it’s a click; everything is a click.
  • Don’t use the page path/URL for either the event action or event label. There is already a built-in page field in GA, so there is no sense in wasting one of your few event fields collecting redundant data.

Event Tracking Recommendations

Event Category

For these typical actions, the event categories should be:

  • outbound link
  • email
  • download

Why these?
Because it is about user intent. The user intended to follow an outbound link, intended to email, intended to download a file.

Event Action

The event actions should not be “click”. Instead, use the URL of the outbound link, email address, or file. Of course it was a click; but the real action was the user’s intention to access the particular link, file, or email address in question, so store that URL.

Event Label

The event labels should use the links’ text. This is literally the label the user clicked-on when they decided to click on the link. (After all, what is link text but the label for the URL?) This will also allow you to distinguish between multiple links on the same page (if they have different link text values).

University Roll-Up Considerations

Since the university roll-up will aggregate events from all websites (that send events to the roll-up), we really want them to be consistent. Below is a report illustrating what happens when events are not tracking in a consistent manner.


Account: Mason Google Analytics Roll-Up
Property: Mason Google Analytics Roll-Up
View: [PROD] Mason Roll-Up 2.0 (2015-12-08)
Report: Behavior -> Events -> Top Events
Date Range: June 1, 2017 – June 28, 2017

  • Event categories are not consistent (e.g. “email”, “email link”, “Mails”).