A Simple Guide To Event Tracking For WordPress (Without Using Tag Manager!)
Google Analytics is a free way for business owners to track basic website statistics and access simple analytical tools. It can be used to track valuable metrics like page views, session generations and bounce rates.
Google Analytics is so useful that SimilarTech Services estimates that almost 14 million websites around the world take advantage of this free service.
But despite how popular it is, a lot of websites are not optimizing GA’s capability to benefit their business. In today’s fast-paced digital environment, if you don’t know how people are behaving on your site, then you are missing out – and achieving this granular level understanding of user behaviour is possible through event tracking in Google Analytics.
What is Event Tracking in Google Analytics?
Event tracking is a metric in Google Analytics that allows you to measure interactions with specific pages or page content. It is also referred to as Conversion Tracking because it’s a way to see how frequently visitors take a desired action on your site, including click-through rates on a contact form, media downloads, clicking on an email or telephone link, and much more.
Conversion tracking can be particularly useful in determining the success of any online marketing effort. This type of goal setting and measuring allows for easy comparison with conversion rates – so you know if a particular initiative is hitting the mark. Sounds great, right?
Well, there’s a hitch. The problem is that it’s not always intuitive to set up, meaning that many site owners who have installed Google Analytics are still working with an underperforming site when they think they are not. That’s no good. So here’s a simple guide on how WP users can set up event tracking and use it to take their site’s performance to the next level.
How to Set-Up Event Tracking For Your WordPress Site
The easiest way to set up event tracking goals in WP is by installing a handy plugin called WP Google Analytics Events. This clever little plugin allows you to make use of an elements ID or Class tag, so when it’s clicked on it will fire an event off to Google Analytics.
Say, for example, you wanted to track when someone clicks on an email address in the footer of your site. After inspecting the site’s code, you find that the element has a class labeled “footer-email”. In the WP Google Analytics Events plugin, under Click Tracking, enter that class in the Element Name field (making sure the Type is set to class or ID as appropriate).
The next part is assigning an Event Category, Event Action, Event Label & Event Value. Typically, I only worry about the first three. The data you enter here can be pretty much anything you like, so long as you type exactly the same into Google Analytics later. In this example, I would use ‘Footer’ for the category, ‘Email’ for the action, and ‘Click’ for the label.
Setting Up Event Tracking In Google Analytics
Now that you have created your event tracking in the website, you’ll need to add it to Google Analytics. Go to Settings > Goals > New Goal, select Custom, then enter a name for your goal. In this example, something like ‘Footer Email’ would work just fine. Under Type, select ‘Event’. Now we get to the goal details, which is where your previous Category, Action, Label names come in.
Enter them into each field as necessary, being careful to make sure you spell them exactly as you wrote them originally (including correct letter case). Also make sure you’ve set them to ‘Equal to’ using the dropbox to the left of each box.
Hit Save, and you should be done! To verify they’ve worked, head to Real Time > Conversions, click on the link you’re trying to track, and hopefully, you’ll see the conversion tracked in Analytics.
Examples Of What To Track
These are three elements that can be especially valuable to monitor with goal tracking. Here’s a brief run-through of what they are, and why they are valuable.
tel: links are links that open up to a phone number on a mobile platform.
Tracking telephone links can be particularly useful because it provides a smart budget alternative to investing in more costly call tracking services.
mailto: links will open a default mail client and compose a new message template.
Tracking email links is an insider way to monitor the success of any particular campaign by knowing exactly how many people actually responded to it.
Contact Forms are a little different to track. It’s often much easier to track contact form submissions using Destination Tracking (tracking when someone visits a specific URL, such as a thank-you page after submitting a form) than it is to track someone clicking on the Submit button. The reason for this is, if someone clicks on the Submit button without having actually filled out the form, it will still trigger as a Conversion in Analytics, which isn’t ideal.
For WP users using most contact form plug-ins, submitting the form will not usually redirect the user to a new page after submission. A helpful tip is to redirect to a “thank you” page after the submission because it will create an easy destination goal.
How you go about doing this will vary from plugin to plugin – some will have this option available, some will require an additional plugin, and some may even require the plugin’s code to be edited.
Once you’ve set up the redirect, make a note of the URL of page you’ve redirected it to, and when setting up the goal in Analytics, change it from an ‘Event’ to a ‘Destination’ goal and enter the URL.
By using goal tracking to monitor form conversions, WP users can quickly understand how to better optimize forms and identify the pages on your site that are bringing in the most conversions.
The point of event tracking is to provide an in-depth glance at user behaviour by allowing users to monitor how many visitors perform a specific action on a site.
Event tracking provides two killer benefits. Firstly, you get to understand exactly how to structure a site based on what real visitors actually respond to. Secondly, it allows for one of the best ways to create conversion optimized lead generation material like e-books, infographics, white papers, etc.
The takeaway here is that using goal tracking will give you a competitive edge over the regular analytics offerings.