How To Analyze Google Analytics Event Tracking

25 minutes

Learn how to extract insights from your Google Analytics event tracking data and apply to your conversion optimization strategies.

Brad Redding

Brad Redding is the Founder & CEO of Elevar. Specializing in analytics, tracking, GTM, and conversion optimization.

You’ve put in the effort on tagging your site and pushing this to Google Analytics. Now you’ll learn how to extract insights from this data and apply to your conversion optimization strategies.

Brad Redding:

Now that you’ve learned a lot about what are events in GTM, how to create events, all the different permutations of the steps to come up with evaluating what you want to track on your website, creating your event category, action label nomenclature, but now let’s look at how to analyze the event data inside of Google Analytics. You’re putting all this work in to tag your site, push that data to GA. Now we need to look at how to extract insights out from the data that we have created in GTM and pushed into GA so then you can apply it to your conversion optimization testing, evaluating your third party features and what’s working, not working.

You’ll see inside of Google Analytics under the behavior navigation, all of the event data that we’ve looked at is ultimately going to find its way here into the event sub-category. Once you click into the event sub-category, you will be prompted. It’s a little bit confusing if you haven’t spent a whole lot of time in here, but basically what Google is showing is your event category, event action, event label. I’m giving you a quick summary here. To be honest, I don’t spend a whole lot of time here. This is just a means to the end to potentially get into what I’m looking for or what I’m trying to evaluate, but this is really where you’d start. Let’s take a look at our view full report, which is going to give us all of our event categories.

As you can see, I just clicked into the event categories and now I have the listing of all of the event categories that either I’ve created when I’ve created my tags in GTM and sent that event data to GA or potentially other event categories that were created by potentially Shopify with a native categories or other third parties that are pushing this in for you.

I’m going to rewind real quick just to walk through the event as it’s set up in Google Tag Manager. As we can see here, we have an event that is a main navigation click, where we have the header as our event category, the main nav click with the variable click text as our action, and then we’re recording the page URL in the event label. This is actually running on our own site. And you’ll see, I am currently looking at our event category of header and now I’m able to view all of the event actions, so these are the actual data points or recording of what people are clicking on in our navigation, and you can see how the click text variable has appended, so someone on pricing or features or services, etc., GTM is doing that hard work of capturing the click text that someone’s clicking on and ultimately pushing that in with the event that we can analyze here and I can analyze here in our own Analytics account.

This is really a lesson of driving home the importance of the event category, event action, and potentially the event label, but that naming convention. It’s very easy if someone else on our team were to have to jump in here and try to analyze what’s going on with our navigation. Since we’ve prepended main nav click, let’s go back here to GTM. We’ve prepended the main nav click in front of the click text. It should be very easy for someone to report back and say, “Okay, here’s a number of events that triggered a pricing may nav click or a top nav promo click,” et cetera.

Something that you’re not seeing here that we’ve seen in some of the previous videos is not only are we getting the total number of events or potentially sessions of people that are triggering these events, but the e-commerce data as well. This is a static site, not necessarily a Shopify e-com site. Again, this is our own navigation. If we look at an e-commerce site, so we can see even with our event categories, which largely when I’m looking at event categories, and it really depends on how the buckets are broken up, but the conversion data tied to event categories doesn’t really do a whole lot for me, depending on again, if the categories are just a wide array from different parties. It really starts on lock when we dig into a specific event category so we can view the event actions.

As you can see, by just flipping the explorer to e-commerce, looking at all of our event categories, we can see our sessions, revenue, conversion rate, etc., but now I actually want to jump into our products, so our products event category. And as you can see here, the event actions are now also associated to session, e-commerce data, et cetera. This is much more meaningful when we start digging in a little bit further into our event categories, getting down to the event action label. In this case, we’re looking at product pages and I can see the conversion rate for size fit guide clicks versus preorder, add to cart versus reviews click, et cetera. This is where the analysis really starts to kick in.

As you can see here, there are 94 rows of event actions for this particular category. Let’s say this was 2000 or 3000 rows. Within the event action or event category or even an event label, you can actually filter out, so let’s just click on the advanced tab here, and you can see what we have available to include or exclude. This will give us the available dimensions that we can filter by, and then we have the options to filter. IN this case, if I wanted to exclude anything that had related products click in the event, action name, I can just say, exclude event action containing related, and now I can apply, and we can see that this has significantly brought down the total number of rows. Right now I just have nine rows that I can valuate. Let’s close this out.

Now let’s go back to a different category, so go back up to our all event categories, and now let’s take a look at this category, the Elevar funnel. These are a set number of event actions that we have set up to look at things like collection page views. We want to look at conversion rate for collection page views as a whole. We want to look at the product view after collection page views of somebody that is viewing a collection page and then clicks into view a product, what’s the conversion rate there. This is a much smaller, consolidated list of event actions that falls under the bucket of Elevar funnel.

What can we start doing here with this list? Let’s say we wanted to look at our collection page view, so we have the global e-commerce conversion rate for this particular event action of 2.22%. But I want to look at this page. This particular event action that I configured, I have page URL, the page URL variable, which we’ll look at here. This page URL variable is set, so now we can actually look at our collection page view. If I click into the event, action, this will now give us a list of all of the URLs that have triggered this event and I can see the conversion rate for these specific collection pages.

You might be wondering, why are you sending an event, in this case, for a collection page view? If you’ve ever looked at your site content and all pages report, let’s just open this up in another tab here, you’ll see your page report does not actually give you a conversion rate number. This is a hit-based metric versus a session-based metric, which events are. The only pages on your site that you can actually get a conversion rate, the only time you can get a conversion rate for pages is when you’re looking at a landing page, because a landing page is a session-based metric and you can view conversion rates for that.

Now, if I wanted to look at all of my different pages and look at my collection pages and evaluate conversion rate, it’s not available. There’s no special e-commerce tab up here. I’d have to rely on page value as the metric to try to understand how a particular collection page is performing. If we go back here, this is really one of the reasons and one of the power behind using page URL as your event label, so you can evaluate a specific event action, like a collection page view or like a size click or size guide, which we’ll look at in a second. Using page URL as the event label, I can now evaluate those interactions or those event actions across that page and I can see conversion rate, I can see per session value, and as you can see here, we have a pretty stark difference where one collection page has a less than 1% conversion rate where the one right below it or couple of below that have a 3 to 4% conversion rate.

I could pull this into, okay, are there specific campaigns that are driving to this collection page that are performing poorly? Is a feature too high in my main navigation? Do I need to deemphasize it, or is it featured in the hero banner on my homepage? Whatever it might be, this will start to give you some of that data they can play around with and start applying to your own business.

The next question you might have potentially is, “Well, why not just go to the page report on the events?” We’ve looked at this in a previous session, but the page report really has the same problem if we are just looking at our all pages. The page report does contain pages that have triggered events, you can see the events here, but you don’t have the e-commerce tab up top here to switch to, and again, it’s the same reasons. It’s because the page is giving us more of a hit-based metric, we can’t actually associate conversion rate or revenue-based metric or e-commerce-based metrics to our page report under events. This is going to give us total events and we can start potentially clicking in to see the different events for these.

Now let’s look at another feature of the events report and events UI within Google Analytics, and this is looking at our secondary dimension, so let’s look again here. I’m going to click into a product page event category, and we’ll look at our event action, and now we can actually see in this example, we’ll switch over to our e-commerce tab. Iin this example, we have some thumbnail image clicks that are being generated, and there’s a couple other events that are in here, so we’re going to use two different features here. I’m going to exclude an event action containing thumbnail, and then we’ll apply.

And now we can see another set of event actions where we do have some variables appended to the end, so this is a complete the outfit click. Let’s just take this complete the outfit click, and I want to see all the different pages that this applied to within this report, so we can use a secondary dimension looking at event label, applying to the same real report, and now we have our event action and our event label, which is showing all of the URLs that are associated that triggered this particular event.

Now, the secondary dimension, you can really apply almost anything to this.  If you wanted to look at potentially source medium, and we can evaluate the number of sessions based on the source medium for this particular user. We can do that. This is really where you can just start spending a lot of time answering some of your questions by picking out the event action that you wanted to evaluate, looking at potentially the source of the traffic, the page that the event is happening on, combining different filters or secondary dimensions to that event action, and ultimately using that to apply to an AB test or to a change in your Facebook marketing campaign, whatever it might be.

That’s an overview of taking our event data, our events that we have set up in Google Tag Manager, sending that to Google Analytics and ultimately extracting out not necessarily just our event-based data, but really starting to dig into our conversion-based data so we can understand what behavior is either helping conversion, hurting conversions, and ultimately capping that off with some actions we can take with AB testing or campaign management.


Google Analytics Lessons: