Event tracking is not the most common aspect of Google Analytics and can often be overlooked by users. However it can be very useful for many different kinds of site in providing an alternative way to gather data on user trends. What Event Tracking provides is information on when and how users are interacting with various website elements such as file downloads and a variety of page gadgets. Basically, a more advanced profile of user interaction with the more dynamic aspects of your site (i.e. those that don’t take you to another page).
By using this you will be able to get a fuller insight into how accessible and useable these various additions to your site are. This includes Flash-driven elements and video players, embedded AJAX, gadgets, file downloads and loading time for data.
Of course tracking some of these elements will be more useful to some websites than others. Take a software company for instance. If they have free software patch downloads available or PDF files on using their product then they will very likely gain from using event tracking. Through this they will be able to determine the levels of downloads from specific pages and determine the time it is taking for users to achieve these downloads. This could provide further insight into page view trends and time spent on pages. It’s also useful to note that by monitoring the time spent on downloads the webmaster can determine whether download speeds are being limited by the server in some way.
In another example, a site might have a great deal of videos embedded on one page. Without event tracking it would be difficult to gauge why a user is spending a great deal of time on that page. With event tracking you will be well aware of how often users are watching these videos. If you provide a large number of videos on your page you will be able to determine which are less popular than others.
In order to apply event tracking you will have to put in some forethought as there is no specific model for using it.
- Firstly you will have to determine which events you want to track. You may have a wide variety of dynamic elements on your site, but even starting with just one will provide a useful starting point.
- Secondly you should correlate your event tracking with your previous analytics reports. This way you can determine which elements and on which pages your event tracking would be best applied to.
- Finally, ensure that you use a consistent and clear standard for naming for event categories, actions and labels. Doing so will ensure that your information will be easier to understand and will be better organised.