Chapter 6: Google Analytics 4 Event Tracking: Ultimate Guide

Chapter 6: Google Analytics 4 Event Tracking: Ultimate Guide

Unlike Universal Analytics, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) implements an event-based tracking model to obtain and report traffic data.

This development is crucial because GA4’s approach provides a more robust picture of user interactions and events. It allows for better data collection and deeper user-behavior insights.

In this chapter, we will take a deep dive into Google Analytics 4 event tracking, the various event types, and how to configure them. 

Let's begin.  

Table of Contents 

  • What is a Google Analytics 4 Event?
  • Types of Google Analytics 4 Events
  • Steps to Set Up an Event in Google Analytics 4
  • Simplify Visualizing Google Analytics 4 Event Tracking Data with Polymer
  • People Also Ask
  • Ready to Track Your Google Analytics 4 Events?

What is a Google Analytics 4 Event?

A Google Analytics 4 event is basically any user interaction on a website or mobile app. 

Google Analytics 4 uses event-based tracking to measure audience interactions on your website. Unlike Universal Analytics which tracks metrics via "hits," Google Analytics 4 counts everything as events. 

This allows Google Analytics to track valuable traffic data without relying on third-party cookies.

Must-read: Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics: 10 Key Differences

Types of Google Analytics 4 Events

To make the most out of Google Analytics 4, the first step is understanding Google Analytics 4 metrics and dimensions. 

Let's start with the different event types. 

Events in Google Analytics 4 fall under these categories: 

Automatically collected events

Google Analytics 4 tracks automatically collected events by default. They don't need any setup and are triggered through simple user interactions, like: 

  • Outbound clicks (click)
  • Ad clicks (ad_click)
  • First-time form interactions (form_start)
  • In-app purchases (in_app_purchase)
  • Video plays (video_start)
  • Add impressions (ad_impression)

Tip: If you are still using Universal Analytics, check out our guide on how to upgrade to Google Analytics 4.

Enhanced measurement events

Google Analytics enhanced measurement events give you more insights into how users interact and respond to your website. All the events in this category can be turned on at once or individually through the Google Analytics admin page. 

  • Scrolls (scroll)
  • Site searches (view_search_results)
  • Video engagement (video_start)
  • File downloads (file_download)
  • Form submissions (form_submit)

Recommended events

On Google Analytics 4, recommended events are manually created but come with pre-defined parameters. This event category is useful if you want to obtain additional insights on specific user workflows. 

  • Content shares (share)
  • Registrations (sign_up)
  • Refunds (refund)
  • Purchases (purchase)
  • Checkouts (begin_checkout)

Custom event tracking

Lastly, custom events let you define your own event names and parameters. Only create custom events if the metric you want to track doesn't have a matching automatically collected event, enhanced measurement event, or recommended event. 

Must-read: Google Analytics 4 for SaaS/Product: Complete Guide

Steps to Set Up an Event in Google Analytics 4

When setting up a Google Analytics 4 property, you have the option to enable specific enhanced measurement events right away. 

Start by setting up a data stream that applies to your property. 

For example, to collect event data from a website, click Web under "Choose a platform." 

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All enhanced measurement events are enabled by default. To handpick events, click Configure enhanced measurement (gear icon).

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On the enhanced measurement panel, use the toggle switches to enable or disable events individually. 

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When done, click Save and your enhanced measurement events are set. 

Next up, you can set up custom events through the Google Analytics 4 dashboard

From the main menu, go to the Admin settings page. 

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Under the "Property" column, click Events.

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On the next page, click Create event in the top-right corner. Keep in mind that you can also modify events in this window. 

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In the "Create events" window, click Create and start building your event. 

Give your custom event a name and set the conditions and parameters in the form below. 

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Finally, you can set up recommended events through Google Tag Manager. It's an essential tool if you want to use advanced Google Analytics 4 features. 

From your main workspace, go to Tags and click New

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Click on Tag Configuration and select Google Analytics: GA4 Event under "Choose tag type." 

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In the "Configuration Tag" drop-down menu, choose your Google tag. When done, continue creating your recommended event by specifying a predefined event name. 

For example, to use the recommended event for signups, enter the predefined event name "sign_up." 

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Click here for a complete list of all predefined event names for recommended events.

For the event parameters, see this page for the required and optional parameter values. 

For example, signup events let you add optional parameters for the specific signup methods used. 

Just use the predefined parameter "method" and add an event value that identifies the signup method. 

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With the correct recommended event name and parameters specified, proceed to configure your event's trigger. 

Click Triggering and then click the "plus" icon in the top-right corner. Give your trigger a name and click Trigger Configuration to continue. 

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Build your trigger using the predefined trigger types, including page views, clicks, user engagement actions, and so on. 

The available trigger configuration settings depend on the trigger type you selected. For example, if you use the "Page View" trigger type, you can choose between "All Page Views" or "Some Page Views." 

A typical strategy is to use "Some Page Views" and set the trigger to fire whenever a specific page URL is used. 

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Remember, recommended events can be implemented in a variety of ways. For more information on tag configurations, triggers, and parameters, read this post

Must-read: How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 eCommerce Tracking

Simplify Visualizing Google Analytics 4 Event Tracking Data with Polymer

You can use Google Analytics 4 reporting templates to make your website traffic data more readable and organized. 

However, a Business Intelligence (BI) tool like Polymer takes your data tracking to a whole new level

Polymer lets you connect multiple data sources while visually organizing and generating custom reports in a single dashboard.

You can generate visual funnels, pie charts, scatter plots, pivot tables, ROI calculators, and more. 

The best part is you can do all that in minutes and without writing a single line of code.

With Polymer, some of the supported data channels you can combine with Google Analytics 4 are: 

  • Facebook Ads
  • Google Sheets
  • Airtable
  • Zendesk
  • Jira
  • Linear

While using Google Analytics 4 reports and Analysis Hub is already user-friendly, Polymer provides a more powerful interface for consolidating and highlighting key data.

Must-read: Google Analytics 4: A Complete Guide

People Also Ask

How many events can be tracked in Google Analytics 4?

Google Analytics 4 lets you track events without limits for web properties (app properties are limited to 500 distinctly-named events). However, the data collection for each event has limitations in terms of parameters, user properties, and so on. 

Why are my Google Analytics 4 events not showing?

Make sure you configure Google Tag Manager and connect your Google Analytics property correctly. When creating recommended or custom events, use the preview tool to check if it triggers correctly.

Which part of your Google Analytics 4 property allows you to manage events?

Google Analytics 4 has a designated "Events" section on the admin settings page. Some event management features can also be done through Google Tag Manager.

Ready to Track Your Google Analytics 4 Events?

The best way to track your Google Analytics 4 data is through Polymer—a powerful, flexible, and cost-effective platform for data management. 

Polymer lets you sift through your data, highlight key insights, and build eye-catching dashboards without writing a single line of code. Best of all, you can use Polymer for 14 days without spending a single cent.

Click here to start your 14-day free trial.

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See for yourself how fast and easy it is to uncover profitable insights hidden in your data. Get started today, free for 7 days.

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