Learn to Automate Event Tracking in Google Analytics

Last Updated: May 8, 2021

Do you like automation? I do. It speeds up my work.

In the next few minutes I will teach you how to automatically track file downloads, email clicks and external links across a website of any size with very little work from you or your developer and that too FREE of cost.

But first, the million-pound question:

Why you should automate event tracking?

By default, if I have to track file downloads across a website I will add the following event tracking code on all the download links across the website:

<a href=”https://www.abc.com/gu/dw/seo-beginners-guide.pdf” onClick=”_gaq.push ([‘_trackEvent’,’guides’,’download-seo’,’seo-beginners-guide.pdf’,10]);”>Download SEO Beginners Guide</a>

Now if my website has 5000 pages and some 400 pages contain the links to download my ‘SEO Beginners Guide’ then imagine how much work I need to do to track all these downloads.

I will have to manually find all the web pages which contain the download links and then manually place the tracking code on each and every link.

Now imagine I also need to track all the external links on my website and determine how much traffic my website is sending out to other websites (esp. if I am an affiliate). Now how you can do all these tasks without spending weeks/months putting event tracking code on each and every external link?

The answer is event tracking automation.

Even tracking automation begins…

I recently came across this awesome tool which I have been using for a while now.

Meet Analytics Engine.

Through this tool, you can track email clicks, external links, and file downloads across a website of any size in a few minutes. All you have to do is put a little tracking code in the head section of each web page on your site.

Once you have placed the code, ‘analytics engine’ will automatically begin reporting to Google Analytics how visitors are engaging with your contents and you will start seeing additional event categories in your Events Overview Report. For example:

event overview report2


The ‘outbound’ event category tracks all the external links on my website and the ‘download’ event category tracks all the downloads that occurred on my website.

As you can see from the report above, 109 downloads occurred on my website and all the external links on the site were clicked a total of 13,873 times in the last month.

My website doesn’t have any email links. Otherwise, you would have seen a separate event category for that in my report.

Now take a look at this report:

outbound tracking


From Fig.2 you can see the list of top 10 websites that have got traffic from my site eventeducation.com in the last one month.

Such type of tracking is known as exit tracking or outbound links tracking and it can be very useful, especially if you are an affiliate.

I can also determine the pages on my website which are sending the outbound traffic by selecting ‘Event Label’ as my secondary dimension in the report above:

outbound tracking2


So what you need to do, to use this tool?

Step-1: Sign up for the free Lite version. Hey, I am no way associated with the business behind this tool. I just found it and thought of sharing it with you.

Step-2: Copy-paste the tracking code provided by the tool in the head section of all the pages on your website. Wait for a couple of hours and then check your event tracking report in Google Analytics. That’s it.

I have put the same tracking code on my blog and now I can track clicks on virtually any external link on my blog.

The Pro and Enterprise versions of Analytics Engine (which are of course paid versions) provide additional features like form interactions, scroll tracking, cross-domain tagging, custom rules, etc. Its interface makes event tracking pretty much effortless.

So if you are heavily involved in analytics consulting or are a big agency/company then you should consider investing in this tool.

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Himanshu Sharma

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