Google Analytics Auto Event Tracking Through Tag Manager

During the last Google Analytics Summit hosted in October, which our member Borja Gutiérrez was able to attend, Google presented many new handy features that surely will appear through the following months.

The most commented, and with a big impact from the Google Analytics community, was the inclusion of a new feature to Google Tag Manager. This feature allows measuring some different events automatically, in order to detect specific actions, such as clicks on links, and send those actions to Google Analytics. Through this article we’ll explain everything  you need to know to configure and use it, and in the following posts we will explain every single method of configuring auto event tracking, utilising real examples in order to make it easier to understand.

Before going in detail to Google Tag Manager Auto Event Tracking, it’s important to emphasise that you won’t require any programming or deep technical knowledge to do it.

Google Tag Manager is mainly formed by Tags, Rules and Macros. Let’s explain now which tags, macros and rules we need to utilise auto event tracking.

Tags

Trough the new interface of Google Tag Manager we can utilise four different tags to create listeners and detect if the user did an action, such as a click on a button. These tags will be placed and executed within the page code, but they will be invisible and won’t affect to the performance of the page. As soon as they detect an action, they will execute an event.

These events are Google Tag Managers events and are completely different to Google Analytics events, measured with even tracking. We’ll use Google Tag Manager events to execute Google Analytics events and send information about actions performed.

The four different options of auto event tracking tags are presented in the following screenshot:

auto-event-tracking-tipos-de-tags

  1. Click Listener: this listener will be waiting for any type of click of the user across the page, regardless if the click is on a button or over the content.
  2. Form Submit Listener: this will be waiting for clicks on submit buttons before launching the event. Submit button can be found at the end of a form (registration, login, purchase funnel…).
  3. Link Click Listener: this is similar to the first one, listening for clicks. The difference is that this one will launch the event only if the click is on a button.
  4. Timer Listener: this tag will allow us creating and executing a periodical event, and we can define the period in milliseconds. It can be used for many different purposes, such as to control the bounce rate if our site is one page oriented.

Every single listener will generate a specific event of Google Tag Manager, which we’ll use to send information directly to Gogle Analytics.

Macros

To remind you, macros allow us getting values from the website dynamically, and then use them to amend information when creating our tags. Auto event tracking contains 5 different macros which can be used together with the previous events to send  information about specific elements of the page, such as sending to Google Analytics the name or URL of the link when a user clicks on a specific button.

It’s important to understand that when we are clicking on some in-page element, such as clicking on a button or clicking over the content (even though when it doesn’t drive you to a different page), the exact area in which we clicked is categorised within the page document object model (DOM).  This is the first macro, the element.

The other 4 attributes related to the four existing macros are: ID or unique identifier for the element; Class or category that contains some elements; Target which points where the element is opened (new tab, new windows, etc); and URL or direction to the page that the button is driving you to.

auto-event-tracking-tipos-de-macros

 

  1. Element: this will get the type of DOM element automatically, which will be presented in different categories. This is really useful combined with the Click Listener Tag.
  2. Element Classes: this will get the value of the Class attribute of the element clicked on, if applicable.
  3. Element ID: this will get the value of the ID attribute of the element clicked on, if applicable.
  4. Element Target: this will get the value of the Target attribute of the element clicked on, if applicable.
  5. Element URL: this will get the value of the URL attribute of the element clicked on, if applicable.

Some elements will have all those attributes and some of them not, depending directly on how your website has been developed. It’s important to review first the source code and then identify the element we are going to track to see if the attributes are defined for it, if we want to track a very specific click.

To summarise:

  • Tags will allow us managing different actions and execute Tag Manager Events
  • Macros will let us getting specific values about the elements when the actions happen

At this moment we’ve understand what types of Tag Listeners are available and what macros we can use to get information about the action performed. Now it’s the moment to utilise this information to send information to Google Analytics utilising Event Tracking:

1 – Auto Event Tracking – Click Listener (Coming soon)

2 – Auto Event Tracking – Form Submit Listener (Coming soon)

3 – Auto Event Tracking – Link Click Listener (Coming soon)

4 – Auto Event Tracking – Timer Listener (Coming soon)

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