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One of the most important element in Google Analytics 4 or GA4 is events. Their primary purpose is to track and understand the specific interaction or behavior made by a particular person on your website or mobile app. Events can be anything from clicking an external link on a website to filling out a form, etc. Unlike UA where data were tracked as hits, here they are tracked as GA4 automatic events. The thing about events is that they can be customized to track a wide range of data on your website. In this blog, we explain more about events, the different types and how they are used to track data, let’s get started.

ga4 automatic events
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Events: What They Are and How to Use Them

Using events in Google Analytics 4

If you are looking to track the data i.e. the interactions, and leads made by visitors on your website, event tracking is the way to get started. Through tracking, you can get valuable insights and use this data to improve your landing pages and marketing campaigns. Some of the ways in which events are used are listed as follows:

Track form submissions: 

Understanding how marketing campaigns and content influence your buyer’s journeys by tracking data through form submissions. 

Measuring clicks on buttons & links: 

See which buttons on your website or app get the most clicks and help convert more users into leads or sales. 

Analyzing scroll depth: 

Measuring how far users are scrolling down your webpage

How Do Events Work?

So, now you know what events are and what it does but the question still remains, how do these GA4 automatic events work in the background? When a user clicks a particular link on your tagged website that takes them to an external website, the following set of activities happens in the background.

The Different types of events in GA4

There are four different types of events which are listed in the screenshot below. Let’s see what they are and how they can be used to track data.

Automatically collected events 

These events are tracked automatically in Google Analytics 4 and offer basic information on how users interact with your website or app. Some of the GA4 automatic events that are used for tracking and data collection are listed down:

ad_click : when a user clicks an ad

ad_exposure : when at least one ad served by the Mobile Ads SDK is on the screen

ad_impression : when a user sees an ad impression

You can find the complete list of GA4 automatic events that can be collected on the official website here.

Enhanced measurement events

The primary difference between GA4 automatic events and enhanced measurement events is that the former events are collected by default, while the latter can be enabled or disabled. Also, compared to automatically collected events, enhanced measurement events provide more detailed information on users interacting with your website or app.

Some of the enhanced events used for tracking in Google Analytics 4 are listed below. To check out the full list of enhanced events, click here.

video_start : Event-triggered when the embedded video on your website starts playing

file_download : This event is triggered when visitors download a file from your website or app

click : Even triggered when a user clicks a link that leads away from the current domain

Recommended events 

Recommended events in GA4 are the ones recommended by Google for tracking specific types of businesses. These events’ primary purpose is to provide insights into how users interact with your website or app. Using this information, you can improve your marketing campaigns. Unlike other events, recommended events are not automatically triggered or logged unless they are manually implemented. These events are further classified into three different types based on both generic and various business requirements.

  • Generic (For all properties)
  • Online sales
  • Games

Custom events 

ga4 automatic events
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Events: What They Are and How to Use Them

As the name suggests, these events are the ones specifically defined by the user to track a specific purpose. They offer a higher level of customization and usually are not shown in standard reports. Since custom events are the ones created specifically, it is ideal to make sure that the custom event you plan to create is not similar to the ones already collected by automatic events or present in the enhanced measurement or recommended events.

Conversion events & event grouping

In Google Analytics, a conversion event is any interaction made by the user that is valuable to your business. For e.g., a user purchasing from your store or subscribing to your newsletter are examples of conversion events. Also, most of the events that your users trigger on your website or app are usually grouped together and sent, unlike a single event.

Using Events To Track Data

Whatever the event or the event parameters might be, they can primarily be used for tracking data in two ways which are:

  • Using Global Site Tag (gtag.js)
  • Using Google Tag Manager (GTM)

When an event is sent from your website or app, the following reports can be used to verify that Google Analytics has successfully collected the event.

Realtime report

ga4 automatic events
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Events: What They Are and How to Use Them

This report shows the number of times each event was triggered by the users in the last 30 minutes on your website or app. Upon clicking the event, you can also see the event parameters that were sent along with the event.

DebugView report

This report shows you all the events triggered by one user. It’s particularly useful when you want to verify that you have set up an event and event parameters correctly. You must make sure to enable the debug mode before viewing the report.

Winding up

So, there you go. Now you know what events are, and the different types involved such as GA4 automatic events, enhanced events, recommended and custom events. Using GA4 events helps you track user engagement/behavior on your website. Apart from tracking, you can use these events to measure how well your website is performing. You can further improve your website’s user experience and increase your website’s traffic with the information collected.

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