Top 5 Events to Track in Google Analytics For Conversion Rate Optimization

An Intro to Events

As the founder of Gold Tree Consulting, a conversion optimization consulting agency, I am a huge proponent of data use.

There’s a plethora of ways to use data in conversion rate optimization, but today we will be focusing on Events in Google Analytics.

I believe event tracking is one of the simplest and most user friendly ways to gain insights into your users’ behavior on your website.

In this article I am going to discuss how I have used Google Analytics events to educate and guide my CRO testing program, which I’ve harnessed to deliver our clients a 15% increase in conversion rate.

These methods are especially helpful for anyone running an e-commerce business, as they can help generate new conversions and ultimately bring home more revenue.

 

What Are Google Analytics Events

If you’ve never used Google Analytics (or GA) before, there are plenty of online guides on how to get started.

But in a nutshell, it is a powerful, free, and easy data analytics platform that every business can use to track and measure the traffic on their site.

So what are events? Events, according to Google, are “user interactions with content other than page loads (page views).” 

Since they are a subset of user behavior, you can find “Events” under the “Behavior” umbrella when you are navigating through GA. 

GA allows you to pull data and create custom reports based on a variety of events.

So what this means is that an event can be configured to track any type of “interaction” that is happening on your website. 

Interactions include not only clicks or actions of the user’s mouse, but also general actions or interactions the website visitors are conducting throughout their journey on your site. 

You might be wondering what exactly that might include.

Here’s a sneak peek.

Some examples of events (that are separate from the user’s mouse actions) might be things like “Time Spent on Page” or “Auto Video Play Completions.” 

From the titles alone, you can see why a business owner might want to know these things. For example, are users spending one second on your home page, or one minute? Are the interacting with the media you have embedded there?

As you can see, having a custom report on your events can be extremely powerful for understanding your users.

What Information Does A Google Analytics Event Contain

A Google Analytics event can technically contain whatever you want it to contain (with certain restrictions). Events in GA are broken down into three primary categories:

  • Event Category
  • Event Action
  • Event Label

Keep in mind you might see “alternate fields” you can use in your Google Analytics account, but in this article we want to focus solely on these three heavy hitters.

Each of these components contains information that you can further define.

To implement events, I recommend using Google Tag Manager (GTM), as does Google. On the screenshot below you can see how these categories can be configured.

                                           

 
Here is an example of how an event may be configured and what data it might hold:

Call to Action

  • Event Category : “Button Click”
  • Event Action : “{text_value}”
  • Event Label : “ clicked on {page_url}”

 

This would yield the following data in your Google Analytics account:

  • Event Category : “Button Click”
  • Event Action : “BUY NOW”
  • Event Label : “ clicked on /collections/popular”

 

Knowing when and how often users click your “Buy Now” button is a crucial piece of information about your website performance. 

This is just one example of how events can benefit your conversion rates.

Why Events Are Crucial For Conversion Rate Optimization

                                                     

Events are important because they illustrate the steps you need to take as a business owner to increase organic traffic, conversion rates, average order value, and sales. 

Using events allows you to reduce friction points on your website, and therefore provide your users with an overall smoother navigation experience.

Reducing friction requires you to understand both your users’ journey to conversion and what it is that might be getting in their way. 

So, an event is the missing link you need in order to educate your team on what is getting in the way of customers reaching their goal. In other words, what is preventing higher conversion rates.

I would estimate about 70% of my clients do not have any events set up on their Google Analytics account, and the only data they are tracking is page views.

With the help of Google Analytics data and event tracking, I can typically ideate anywhere between 3-5 additional ideas for conversion optimization on any given page because I understand how users are behaving. 

It also gives me a better idea of how to reduce bounce rate because I understand where the page’s “hot spots” and “cold spots” are located.

 

Top 5 Google Analytics Events To Use For Conversion Rate  Optimization

 

                             What is Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the act of tweaking your website landing pages early and often to increase conversion rate. 

We do this through a process called A/B testing. If you’d like a more thorough explanation of A/B testing, please see this article

The general purpose of A/B testing, though, is to play around with different versions of your website, creating an “A” version and a “B” version to see which one performs better when randomly disseminated to users.

A/B testing will highlight identify key performance indicators so your business can unlock maximum growth.

Having these conversion metrics clearly defined from the beginning will also help you identify which events you should be tracking. 

The events listed here are my favorites to use for most brands and businesses, but your business may be unique, and one size most definitely does not fit all!

So when you start tracking events, keep an open mind. Remember that there are more possibilities outside the ones I am presenting today.

                                 

#1: Call to Action (The Button Click)

                                   

The call to action (CTA) event in Google Analytics tracks all button clicks across your website. This is the most basic and probably most effective event to measure funnel points across your website. 

The reason? 

Because call to action components are clicked on much more frequently than any other component of a website. 

Being front and left, call to action buttons are most visible to customers and therefore command the most attention from your traffic. 

Now the question is, which insights can you glean from a call to action button? 

If you are analyzing avenues to optimize your landing pages (home, collections, product) then understanding which CTAs are being clicked or not clicked is key.

If you notice, for example, that a total of 10,000 users are visiting the page and 30% of those users are interacting with your primary CTA located above the fold, while 50% are interacting with a product page that is only available via a navigation link or below the fold, then you have a serious opportunity to improve! 

If your CTA has only 30% engagement, it means one of two things. Either users are looking for something else on your website, or the CTA is not visible enough.

Example of a Call to Action event:

Call to Action

  • Event Category : “Button Click”
  • Event Action : “{text_value}”
  • Event Label : “ clicked on {page_url}”

The data in Google Analytics might look like this:

  • Event Category : “Button Click”
  • Event Action : “BUY NOW”
  • Event Label : “ clicked on /collections/popular”

Try showing your website to an unbiased third party. Is your CTA placement obvious and intuitive? Can they tell where they are supposed to be clicking? If the answer is no to either of these questions, play around with the placement of your CTA until it’s perfect.

           

                                

#2: Internal Link Clicks

                                    

Building upon the CTA, the Google Analytics internal link click is meant to cover everything else across the site.

The internal link click tracks when a user clicks on a component that brings them to another page WITHIN your website, thus making it “internal.”

It’s worth noting that there are also external link clicks. This is a link takes a user off your website completely and onto another site. External links are used when you’re referencing another company or product, so more often than not you will see them in a blog rather than an ecommerce site.

But getting back to internal link clicks…

This event normally covers all navigation links, hyperlinks in copy, header links, and so on. 

Internal link clicks are important because they track movement, just like the CTA. Knowing how users navigate across your website is key to understanding where the friction might be.

Again, let’s say 10,000 users are visiting your page and 50% are navigating to a product from the home page. If you had the internal link and CTA events set up, you would be able to see how organic traffic is being driven to that product page. 

If you notice your CTA is driving less traffic than your navigation bar or a component that is much further down on the page, you have an opportunity to optimize how users are finding your popular product.

How?

By moving your CTA front and left!

Below is an example of how this might look in Google Analytics:

Internal Link Click

  • Event Category : “Internal Link Click”
  • Event Action : “Clicked on {text_value}” or “Clicked from {url}”
  • Event Label : “ Went to {exiting_page_url}”

NOTE: these “values” (text_value) are things you can define in GTM instance. 

                                               

#3: Scroll Depth

Scroll depth is meant to measure the “distance” or amount a user scrolls down a landing page. 

Once you set up this event in Google Analytics, make sure to measure at least at 25% intervals. This way you can see if users are traveling a quarter, halfway, 3/4, or fully down the page. So the event would be configured like this:

Scroll Depth

  • Event Category : “Scroll Depth”
  • Event Action : “{page_url}”
  • Event Label : “ {scroll_depth_threshold}”

Which would look like this in Google Analytics:

  • Event Category : “Scroll Depth”
  • Event Action : “/product-xyz”
  • Event Label : “50”

The event label should contain the value of the scroll depth, and you can measure different levels depending on your business’ needs. For most purposes I recommend 25%, 50%, 75%, 90%, 100% so you can see the bounce rate at different points of your website.

This comes in handy on product pages especially. 

If you have a beautifully built product page with tons of information, graphics, videos, and reviews, you may not know what is actually being seen by your users. 

What they see is all dependent on the configuration of your page and how far down they scroll.

                                       

       

Let’s take the screenshot above as an example. 

If this product page has a video embedded 50% of the way down, only 62% of users are seeing that content. 

If the reviews are at 75% of the way down, then only 43% of your user traffic is seeing them. 

As you can see, knowing where traffic stops scrolling on different pages will allow you to AB test various landing page layouts. Then, you can identify the components you want to lift closer to the top to increase conversions.

In summary, you want to place your CTA or media where there is high traffic to increase the chances of users engaging with it.

                                       

 #4: Form Submissions

                                   

Google Analytics recognizes a form submission as any time a user submits a form across the website. 

So what is a form? This is usually a piece of personal information you collect from the user, such as their email address, home address, phone number, etc.

This is useful for B2B companies collecting leads, or websites that have a newsletter. So if leads or emails contribute significant revenue to your business, you should prioritize and optimize for form submissions.

Normally the structure and data would look like this:

Call to Action

  • Event Category : “Form Submission”
  • Event Action : “Submitted from {page_url}”
  • Event Label : “ Form {form_id}”

The data in Google Analytics might look like this:

  • Event Category : “Form Submission”
  • Event Action : “Submitted from blog/article123”
  • Event Label : “Form 20”

If you can use Google Analytics to understand which forms are getting the most attention, or “thriving” on specific pages, you may be able to duplicate that success on other landing pages, or at the very least avoid avoid making the same mistake twice.

                                 

 #5: Campaign, Coupons, Affiliates

Another key source of conversion, revenue, and growth comes from offers!

Offers come in the form of campaigns, discounts, or affiliate programs.

Understanding how each of these is impacting your conversion rate is crucial for unlocking additional growth. 

This event is meant to scale with your offers as you add more of them, so any new offer should be captured by this event.

Campaign

  • Event Category : “Affiliate Add On”
  • Event Action : “Added On”
  • Event Label : “ {affiliate_link}”

The data in Google Analytics might look like this:

  • Event Category : “Affiliate Add On”
  • Event Action : “Added On”
  • Event Label : “summer-bash-deal”

It may seem counterintuitive that discounts lead to higher revenue, but by leveraging this event in Google Analytics you will see the power they have in getting customers to increase expenditure. 

You can also compare campaigns and see if some succeeded while others fell short. 

Here “success” is the amount of revenue that’s associated with this specific campaign and the pages where it worked better than others. 

For example, did the summer-bash deal work best on the home page or the product page? How about your semi-annual sale or Black Friday deal? This information is useful for understanding how to improve offer pages in the future.

 

 

Conclusion

As you focus on conversion optimization moving forward, focus on setting up these 5 events in your Google Analytics.

  1. Call to Action
  2. Internal Link Clicks
  3. Scroll Depth
  4. Form Submission
  5. Campaigns

They will give you a wealth of data for optimizing your site.

Remember, if any of this seems too confusing or time consuming, you can always consult the help of an outside agency.

For more information check out our article “Why outsource AB testing.

Now you are ready for maximal conversion optimization using events in Google Analytics!

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