How can you tell if your GA4 set-up is collecting all the information you are going to need for your ecommerce site? A great place to start is to compare your “Event report” to the list of Google Analytics “events” below.
Why understanding your events is important
An event is simply any interaction on your site that GA4 records for you.
If you know what is being recorded, then you’ll be able to:
- interpret your GA4 reports
- understand what your GA4 set-up can report on, even if there isn’t a report already set-up for it.
Importantly if you can’t see any of the events below in your GA4 event report, then your GA4 will not be able to report on it for you.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that you’ll only be able to report on an event from the date you start collecting it. So it’s good to think about what you might also want to report on in the future when deciding what events to configure.
Seeing your events
Simply go to your “Events report” in GA4 by going to Reports > Engagement > Events)).
Make sure you can see all the following in your report:
|1||page_view||Each time the page is loaded by the user (or the page is updated automatically). A view will be reported.|
|2||user_engagement||A bit of a Google mystery! but... User engagement is the amount of time someone spends with your web page in focus (i.e. they haven't disapeared off to another browser tab or window) so it measures when users are actively using your site. This leads to the various engagement metrics you'll see in your reports. Much better metrics than the old GA3 "Time on site"!|
|3||session_start||When a user starts using your site. A session initiates when a user views a page when no session is currently active (e.g. their previous session has timed out). By default, a session ends (times out) after 30 minutes of user inactivity. There is no limit to how long a session can last.|
|4||first_visit||The first time a user visits. This will also trigger a session_start and a page_view event at the same time|
|5||scroll||The first time a user reaches the bottom of the page|
|6||click||User clicks a link to a third party site (Outbound clicks)|
|7||view_search_results||Each time a user is presented with a search results page i.e. someone uses your site's search function. Note: many ecommerce sites now have dynamic search where users may get result previews and therefore the search may not be recorded without customisation. See "search" event|
|8||video_start||When a YouTube video, embedded in the right way, starts playing.|
|9||video_progress||When a user watches an embedded YouTube and gets past the 10%, 25%, 50%, and 75% duration time|
|10||video_complete||When a user reaches the end of an embedded YouTube video|
|11||form_start||The first time a user interacts with a form in a session. This could be any form on the site from newsletter sign up in the footer to parts of the checkout process, landing pages and your main contact form|
|12||form_submit||When the user submits a form. This could be any form on the site from newsletter sign up in the footer to parts of the checkout process, landing pages and the main contact form|
|13||login||a user logs in|
|14||sign_up||a user signs up (measures the popularity of each sign-up method e.g. Google account, email). Reserved for account creations rather than subscriptions to an email list|
|15||add_payment_info||a user submits their payment details|
|16||add_shipping_info||a user submits their delivery address|
|17||add_to_cart||a user adds products to their shopping basket|
|18||begin_checkout||a user begins checkout (ie. usually the step after basket)|
|19||purchase||a user completes a purchase. (A purchase is also classed as a conversion)|
|20||refund||a user receives a refund|
|21||remove_from_cart||a user takes a product out of their shopping basket|
|22||select_item||a user selects a product from a list e.g. a user on a category page clicks on a specific product to go through to the product page. Note: your select_item and view_item counts will be very different as not all product page views (view_item) will be preceeded by a category (list) view.|
|23||view_cart||a user views their cart|
|24||view_item||a user views an item (product) i.e. views a product's page|
|25||view_item_list||a user sees a list of items/offerings. Includes category pages, related products, upsells, search results pages|
You may also want some or all of the below set up too:
|1||file_download||when a user clicks a link to download a file (with a common file extension) such as a document, executable file (.exe), presentation, compressed file (.zip), video or audio file|
|2||search||When someone enters a search into your in site search. This is subtly different to the view_search_result event which us triggered when a results page is shown. "search" will only be triggured if you configure it. You'll want to get it configured if you have a dynamic search so you capture all the search terms your customers are using|
|3||share||a user uses a share button on your site e.g. to share your blog post on social media|
|4||add_to_wishlist||a user adds products to their wishlist|
|5||generate_lead||a user submits a form or a request for information in a way that enables a follow-up. Might be useful for tracking offline orders|
|6||select_promotion||a user clicks on an internal promotion (such as a banner promoting a sale)|
|7||view_promotion||an internal promotion (such as a banner promoting a sale) is shown to a user.|
|8||newsletter_subscription_all||When a user signs up to the newsletter via any means (i.e. combines all the other newsletter sign-up types)|
|9||newsletter_subscription_footer||Newsletter sign-up via a footer form|
|10||newsletter_subscription_checkout||Newsletter sign-up as part of the checkout process|
|11||newsletter_subscription_page||Newsletter sign-up from the newsletter page|
|12||brochure_download||User downloads a brochure (All brochure downloads will also trigger a file_download event)|
|13||menu_open||User opens a mega-menu|
|14||menu_item_click||User clicks on a link in the menu|
|15||menu_promo_click||User clicks on a link in the menu that has been given special attention (e.g. a highlight image)|
|16||menu_close||User closes menu without clicking an option|
|17||open_faq||User clicks an FAQ accordion|
Only able to see a small portion of the above events?
(Warning. Build up to the sales pitch!)
You are not alone! There is a common view that GA should just work. This is not helped by Google saying they will set your GA4 property up automatically for you.
GA has never been a “does everything straight out of the box product”. It does, and always has, required a lot of technical configuration to take full advantage of its capabilities. So if you can’t see those events, and want to be able to report on them, you will need to get them configured.
Whilst some web developers may be able to do it for, our experience is that it’s not something they have the specialist knowledge to do well. That’s really not surprising given the number of bases a modern web dev needs to be able to cover.
GA configuration requires a very specific combination of marketing and technical skills. It also requires some pretty forensic levels of testing and issue resolution to make sure you are not only recording the data you need, but that you are also recording it accurately and in a privacy-compliant way.
So can Attacat help?
Well yes. Seeing you asked 😊