Recommended events in Google Analytics
Google Analytics by default implements different types of events, grouped into three categories. Let's have a quick look at recommended events.
by Cesare Ferrari on July 17, 2023
Google Analytics 4, the newest version of the popular analytics software package that was launched on July 1st, is based on events. Events are essentially actions performed on our website by visitors.
When a visitor visits a page, clicks a link, or submits a form, an event is generated and sent to Google analytics.
The analytics software collects these events, processes them, and makes them available to website owners in reports.
events approach lets us gather detailed information about user behavior,
enabling us to understand how users engage with our content and ultimately
measure the effectiveness of our marketing efforts.
Examples of events
Some examples of events measured by Google Analytics are:
- Social share
- Form submission
- Scroll depth
The Social share event tracks when a user shares your web page on social media platforms. This event provides you with insights on which content gets shared the most.
The Form submission event enables you to track when a user submits a form on your website. It's useful for keeping track of lead generation forms, contact forms, or newsletter sign-ups.
The Scroll depth event provides you with details of user engagement by tracking how far a visitor has scrolled down the page, giving you a measure of how interesting and engaging a blog post was to them.
1. Default events
Many events are collected by default by Google Analytics when you set up your account. Examples of default events are a "page visit", or a "link click". These kind of events are useful to any website, and don't need any specific set-up. They are available in our reports without us needing to do any custom configuration.
2. Recommended events
In addition to default events, Google has another set of events called "recommended events".
Recommended events are already set up behind the scene in the analytics software, but are not automatically used to track data.
This is because recommended events require additional configuration on our part to make them meaningful to our specific website.
3. Custom events
There is also a third kind of events called custom events, which are created by us, which we will talk about in future articles.
Recommended events need additional setup
Recommended events are available in the analytics software, but cannot be used as is, and require additional set-up and configuration on our part to make them track meaningful data.
Think of a purchase event. It's important to keep track not only of someone purchasing on our website, but also of what was actually purchased, its quantity, and the total price.
This kind of information varies from site to site, so Google doesn't track it by default.
Instead, Google provides us with a recommended event for tracking purchases, This event gives us the possibility to specify items, quantities, prices, or any other kind of information that makes sense to us to be analyzed and tracked.
Examples of recommended events are:
- generate lead
I already talked of the purchase event needing extra information attached to it in order to be useful.
Another example of event needing extra information is the
generate lead event.
This makes sense because when someone submits a form on our website, we don't just need the data that was sent in the form, but also we need to know which form was submitted since we might have several forms in different locations on our website. We need to keep track of the ones that are more effective.
How can we set up a form that fires a generate lead event?
I am not going into technical details on how to set up a form that fires a
generate lead event in this article, but I am going to give a general overview of the steps to
In this example, I will use Google Tag Manager to create a new tag
that fires a
In a typical scenario, we would have a form that when submitted successfully redirects the user to a thank-you page.
The thank-you page is at a different location, with a URL similar to this:
What we want to do is create a new trigger that fires when the thank-you page URL is loaded.
We can create the trigger in Google Tag Manager, and add a trigger type of
Page view. This is because the trigger will be fired when a specific page is viewed, in our case the
Thank you page.
Once we have a trigger, we create a new tag of type
GA4 event setting the event name to be
generate_lead, because that's the event we want to fire.
As we have seen before,
generate_lead is a recommended event so Google Analytics already knows about it,
and we don't need to create the event itself.
We assign the trigger to the tag we have just created, and we can save and publish it to our Tag Manager container.
At this point, if we preview our implementation, we can see that when we submit
the form, and reach the
Thank you page, a
generate_lead event is fired and
is recorded in Google Analytics ready to be included in our reports.
Google Analytics implements different types of events: default events, recommended events, and custom events.
Default events are set up automatically by Google, and we don't have to configure them. Recommended events are events already known by Google, but need some extra configuration on our part to be meaningful. Custom events are events created by us, that are used to track metrics specific to our own website.
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Photo by William Fortunato