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Event tracking with Google Analytics

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    We’ve got some basic event tracking set up in Google Analytics for the library website at Baruch, but I’m interested in rolling out a more comprehensive scheme that will give us much richer data on clicks and other interactions. Is there anyone here who has set up a system of categories, events, labels, and values in Google Analytic event tracking that help you sift through event data?

    Robin Camille Davis

    Funny you should ask! I just set this up for our library website.

    Currently, we are tracking clicks only (as the event actions), focusing on the homepage’s elements.

    • Category: tab box
      • Labels for everything: “Databases dropdown – articles,” “OneSearch button – books,” “Help – media,” etc.
      • The “- books” denotes which tab it’s in, since the Drupal module doesn’t let me add the tracking code to the tab titles
    • Category: quick links
      • Labels for every link
    • Category: ribbon (grey bar)
      • Labels for every link
    • Category: homepage other
      • Labels for site search, social media icons, hours link

    Our event tracking has only been up for two days. I’m meeting with our library’s Web Committee next week, and with their help I’ll refine our events tracking schema.

    These categories will answer some questions about how users behave on our site. E.g.: From our homepage’s books tab, what’s the split between off-campus users who look for books in OneSearch vs. CUNY+? Which of the two Research Guides links should we keep? And, overall, we’ll know more about how users leave the site, since outbound links aren’t tracked except through events.

    These are all manually added tracking codes, btw — I don’t have the guts to dive into Google Tag Manager. Here’s how our tracked links look:

    And here’s how it shows up in the Google Analytics view:

    I’m curious to know what other folks are up to!


    Thanks, @robincamille! That gave me some ideas that I’m testing out on our Faculty services page. I think that thinking strategically about the scheme of categories and events is going to be a big deal for me, as the choices you make define the kinds of reporting you can get out of GA. The thing I’m wrestling with is how global a category might be and how global an event might be. If you make the event label too granular, it makes it harder to aggregate data across your site. But if you make the event label too global, you may make the category labels to hard to aggregate. It’s that classic problem of classification: lump or split.

    For anyone following along with this thread, I highly recommend a great community of librarians who are interested in user experience that have found a home in Slack. Anyone can join. To get started, go to

    By “librarian,” I should note that I’m using that term very loosely, as the community includes people who work in libraries (in various positions), higher ed, and companies that provide systems and services to libraries. It’s a great bunch of people that share a TON of ideas and resources.

    Junior Tidal

    Years ago I setup event tracking for eResources. It didn’t become useful until recently, when we converted all our proxied links to shortened URLs. It’s much easier to see what databases are being clicked on.



    I recommend using AW Stats to track database usage. It ‘harvests’ EZproxy logs.

    From: Junior Tidal []
    Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 9:58 AM
    To: Klein, Stephen <>
    Subject: [CUNY Academic Commons] Junior Tidal replied to the topic Event tracking with Google Analytics in the forum LACUNY Emerging Technologies Committee

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