Diving Deeper into Google Analytics Events: Zeroing In on A/B Test Candidates

Phillip Koo
June 12, 2019 ·
Diving Deeper into Google Analytics Events: Zeroing In on A/B Test Candidates

In our first article of this series on using Google Analytics to enhance your CRO, we presented the fundamentals of behavior tracking by using Google Analytics Event Tracking and how it can benefit your data in your CRO program.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper to a more practical level and provide 3 ways you can use Event Tracking for some quick wins.

Without Event Tracking, you only have visibility at the site level (page to page clicks and conversions). You don’t have visibility at the page level (what users do on each page).

With Event Tracking, you can collect data on whenever a user interacts with a certain part of your page. The actions can be defined by you.

For example, your page probably contains multiple call-to-actions buttons that lead to a form. You want users to click on the buttons in order to progress through your sales funnel. However, you don’t know which button is actually pressed the most (or the least) often.

Knowing this will give you an idea of which sections on your page are the most effective and which sections need improvements. Or it can prevent you from making a change that might actually hurt your conversion rates.

Which CTA Button Gets the Most Clicks?

To take on the use-case above, you want to first make sure you’re using Google Tag Manager and have the Google Analytics tag already setup on your website. Then, there are a couple of tweaks you have to make to your Page View Tag in Tag Manager to fire and capture events on your page.

Google has a handy article that explains how to do this here accounting for a number of different scenarios.

Once you have the basic tracking elements set up, here’s how you should structure your events.

Let’s say you have 3 identical call-to-action buttons on your page. The following event would fire when your first button is clicked. Let’s say this button is located in Section 1 of your page.

eventCategory: CTA
eventAction: Click
eventLabel: Section 1

Whereas the following event would fire when the second CTA button is clicked. Let’s say this one is located in Section 5 of your page.

eventCategory: CTAevent
Action: Clickevent
Label: Section 5

And so forth…

Tracking Early Indicators of Success

Another way to use Event tracking to make your CRO program more efficient is to track early indicators of success, which will allow you to optimize your traffic earlier on in the process and maximize your ad spend.

For example, let’s say you provide a service and the purpose of your webform is to capture leads. If you know that your lead to conversion ratio is 20% and the average value of your conversions is $3000, you know that every form submission is worth $600 to you.

And say you have a one-page form where the drop-off rate from visitor to submission is 5%. That means each visitor is worth $30.

If you track both page loads and submissions with Events, you’ll get an idea of the financial impact between this form and another. The key, of course, is to be able to quantify the dollar value of each action in the funnel. However, getting a clear picture of the financial impact at each step of the conversion process will allow you to focus on the optimizations that matter most.

To fire Events on page load, you could send the data like so:

eventCategory: Form Drop Off
eventAction: Page Load
eventValue: 30

And to fire Events on form submission, you could send the data like so:

eventCategory: Form Drop Off
eventAction: Form Submit
eventValue: 600

Tracking Key Actions

If you know that a certain feature on your application or website leads visitors to convert such as a price comparison tool, you might be interested to know the percentage of sessions that don’t utilize the tool so that you can find ways to increase usage.

To get that information, you can fire events whenever a user visits your page and whenever a user loads your price comparison tool. Here are two such events:

eventCategory: Price Comparison
eventAction: Page Loadevent

Category: Price Comparison
eventAction: Load Tool

You can even enhance your data by drawing from the previous example and assigning a dollar value to these actions to see the financial impact of the drop off.

Event Reports in Google Analytics

Once you have these events configured, use the Real-Time report and click your buttons to make sure the events are firing correctly.

Then you can create a custom report, through which you can monitor the results, or use one of Google’s standardized reports by navigating to Behavior > Events > Overview.

Any of the standard reports will be sufficient for most users.

Events have two compulsory pieces information: Category and Action.

The Label and Value fields are optional. The Events Overview report starts with one of your Category labels, which should contain generic information about the type of event you’ve decided to track. In the first example above, we’re tracking clicks on CTA buttons. So the Category can be broadly named “CTA.”

The value for the Action label, however, should be more specific. Using for example again, the Action is the actual click, so we’ve used “Click” as the value for the Action label.

By opening up the Events Overview report, you’ll see a count of each Action value against a Category, which will provide insights into which button your users are clicking the most. If a particular button has very little interaction, that may be a sign that users aren’t interacting with that particular section very much, which makes it a good candidate for changes and follow-up A/B testing.

Though both the Category and Action labels are required and the four labels altogether are made for a specific purpose, they’re each simply different dimensions in your Events Overview report that you can freely manipulate according to your scenario.

Originally published June 12, 2019 - Updated April 01, 2024
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Phillip Koo
Phillip Koo Managing Director at Fluent, driving growth for companies in 15+ industries.

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