How to get awesome actionable data from your events in Google Analytics

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  • January 14, 2015
Emma Barnes

Emma Barnes

Senior Insights and Analytics Analyst

Hi, I’m Emma and you may remember me from previous “How To” blog posts such as How to identify Kill-Stealing in your Online Campaigns and Content can kill your site: How to fix it. Today, I’ll teach you how to use event tracking to get funnel conversion data.

If you already know about Events and Conversion Funnels, skip to section three where I will take you through a step-by-step guide as to what I’m talk about. Don’t miss out on my Downloadable Excel Guide at the end of this post.

1)   What is an Event?

An Event is whatever you want it to be. Most commonly they are used to track clicks on specific buttons, links or other interactions. There is a full developer guide to Event Tracking for Google Analytics here. You can track events as goals if they affect your bottom line (such as a click that means someone has submitted a form).

To find out what events have been completed on your website by using Google Analytics, you can find this information in the Behaviour report:

What is an event

Event Overview – Shows top-line information about events. How many have been trigged, how many events are usually triggered per session?

Top Events – Gives more details about the specific events that are performed.

Pages – Shows which pages had events triggered on them.

Events Flow – Shows what ordered events are commonly triggered under.

2)   What is a Conversion Funnel?

In Google Analytics, when you set up a goal, you have the option to set up a Goal Funnel, which is able to track at what stage in your check-out procedure users drop out.

You can access this data in the Conversions report:

Conversions report

Once you access it, you will see something like this:

funnel

Where you can immediately see “A lot of people are landing on the ‘contact’ page, but not many are filling in the form”.

The problem is – this only works if the event you are tracking is URL based, as opposed to Event based. Google Analytics doesn’t currently have the ability to display something like this for Event based goals. If you use events rather than URLs to track goals this can be rather difficult to determine.

And that’s what this post is about – being able to simply create your own event goals.

3)   How do I combine these to get awesome actionable data?

By “Awesome Actionable Data” – I specifically mean finding a way to make a Goal Funnel with the event tracking details from Google Analytics.

Tools you will need

  • Google Analytics
  • Event tracking on your website
  • Excel
  • Brain power

I have created a template in Excel which you can download at the end of this blog post.

Or, you can set up your own Excel document.

Step 1

Determine what the steps in your conversion path are.

The example I’ll be using will be buying something from a retailer to be collected from a store. Their form is dynamically generated within one page and events are used to track each stage via button-click tracking.

The steps taken are

  • Select store
  • Enter details
  • Payment
  • Review
  • Submission

Step 2

Understand how the events are labelled. Ideally the event Category for each step should be the same and should relate to the Goal. In this case, each of the above should give you the category Collect from Store. Each step should have a distinct Action that describes what stages of the conversion you are on. For example, ‘select store’ should have the Action “Select Store” and so on.

Step 3

For your chosen time period and data segment, port the following data into Excel:

  • Event action (steps)
  • Total events
  • Unique events

Step 4

Create a table that looks like this in Excel (for the relevant number of steps):

Step Event Name Total Events Unique Events Abandoned Events Repetition Rate Continue Rate Abandon Rate
1
2
3
4
5

 

Fill in the Event Names, Total Events and Unique Events from your Google Analytics Data.

Step 5

Here are the formulae for the other columns, with a brief explanation of what they are:

Abandoned Events – This is the number of people who abandoned the funnel at this stage or earlier. This is calculated by finding the difference between the #unique events for Step 1 and the #unique events for the current step. = (Unique for Step 1-Unque for Current Step)

Repetition Rate ­– This is the % of people who had to repeat that step in the process, by triggering the event more than once. This is calculated by finding the percentage difference of total events and unique events. = (total-unique)/unique

Continue Rate – This is the % of people who continue from that step in the funnel to the next step. This is the ratio of unique events in the next step to unique events in the current step. = next unique/current unique. Note: The final step will be 0% as there is no way to continue after this step.

Abandon RateThis is the % of people who abandoned the funnel at this stage. This is the proportion that did not continue. =1-Continue Rate. Note: the final step will be 100% as there is no way to progress after this stage.

Notes: This is not a perfect process, but provides a best guess. It does not take into consideration people who complete a goal more than once during a visit, for example. Many of these figures will be used for comparison purposes – and proportionally should remain the same.

Step 6

Evaluate your data. Do this however you see fit.

A graph might show you have many people progressed to the end of your funnel:

Most users here did not make it to the end of the funnel

Most users here did not make it to the end of the funnel

Or show which steps are most likely to be “friction” areas for your users.

Many people don’t continue past “Enter Details” and a very high proportion have to repeat the “Review” page.

Many people don’t continue past “Enter Details” and a very high proportion have to repeat the “Review” page.

4)   Downloadable Excel Guide

If you would like to download the Excel Guide (complete with formulae), please complete the form below.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.

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