The easiest way to implement custom event tracking on WordPress

The benefit of using WordPress as your CMS is that there’s an army of people making the source code better and another army of people developing plug-ins to extend its core features.

If you can think of something you need your WordPress site to do, there’s probably a plugin for it.

Successful marketers live and breathe data. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a developer to collect all the data necessary to gain performance insights.

One potentially tricky data source to incorporate into your reporting is custom event tracking, but it’s actually fairly simple to start gathering on WordPress via a free plugin.

What is event tracking?

Event tracking allows you to track a user action on your website that doesn’t generate a page view. (Page view based goals that trigger a page load are very easy to track).

These kind of custom event actions include:

  • Watching a video
  • Downloading a file
  • Scrolling doing a page
  • Interacting with a lightbox
  • etc.

Event tracking reports are useful

Without using event tracking to measure the important actions people take on your website that don’t end in a specific URL destination, you’re only getting part of the picture.

Don’t make important design and content decisions without properly understanding how people interact with your website!

Event tracking really should be part of your analytics arsenal.

The MonsterInsights plugin

MonsterInsights has a Google Analytics plugin for WordPress that you can start using for free.

Once you’ve set it up, you can configure it to track custom events. You don’t have to fly blind anymore!

The custom event tracking with MonsterInsights has a fairly straightforward setup – no Javascript wizardry is required (phew!).

All you need to do is add the variables you want to track to the relevant link.

(If you need a refresher on coding a basic HTML hyperlink, get one here.)

What variables should you add?

Category – data-vars-ga-category

Action – data-vars-ga-action

Label – data-vars-ga-label

The final link should look something like this:

<a href=”” data-vars-ga-category=”Custom Category” data-vars-ga-action=”Custom Action” data-vars-ga-label=”Custom Label” >Example</a>

(There’s a Google guide here for more information on what these variables mean.)

Google Analytics reports for the win

Once you’ve installed the MonsterInsights plugin and configured your most important onsite actions, your Google Analytics-powered conversion reports will light up like a christmas tree.

Sure, more data isn’t necessarily better data, but if you’ve tagged the most important actions that lead to the customer macro conversions that drive your business, you’ve straight away got some more insightful reports.

Understanding how people are actually interacting with the content you’ve created for them allows you to better understand the conversion path they take. i.e. Is your content actually performing the business goals that you hoped they would?

Optimising your content marketing with event tracking

Now that you can measure which content is supporting macro conversions and which isn’t, you can start to create a work plan to update and optimise underperforming content and extend and enhance the content that’s actually driving results.

Maybe you should increase the prominence of the content that drives conversions? Maybe you should simply delete the content that’s getting zero engagement and is essentially cluttering the page?

Whatever actions you choose to take, with command of the data you can continue to run content experiments and have more accurate reporting on what is working and what isn’t.

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