Top WordPress Plugins Simplify Event Tracking Setup and Configuration
For many website owners, tracking on-page user events … such as file downloads, button clicks, and outbound link clicks… is an important aspect of understanding visitor behavior and optimizing website content.
This post introduces several top plugins that make website visitor analytics event tracking for WordPress easy to set up and configure.
Last Updated: May 29, 2020
What Are Events in Website Analytics?
A More Detailed View of Visitor Behavior
In website analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics and Matomo, an ‘event’ is an action performed by a user completely within a single website page.
Common examples of analytics events include:
- Downloading a file (PDF, Excel, Word Doc, ZIP file, etc.)
- Clicking on a call-to-action button (CTA)
- Starting or stopping an embedded video player
- Scrolling down to specific points in the page (‘scroll depth’)
All of these user actions are performed ‘within’ a current page or post, and therefore do not cause a new pageview hit to be sent to the analytics platform.
In other words, if we didn’t have analytics events to detect and measure, then many interesting on-page user actions would be invisible to us.
Events, Goals, and Conversions
One of the great things about Events is that they can be tied to Goals in Google Analytics.
As a result, they can also be measured as Conversions in analytics.
This brings new levels of visitor behavior measurement and insights from your website analytics.
All thanks to having analytics events set up and running properly!
Getting Started with Event Tracking
Read on for several of the top WordPress plugins that should be on your short list for adding event tracking to Google Analytics or other analytics platforms.
MonsterInsights Event Tracking
A Leading Google Analytics Plugin with Simple Event Tracking
Without a doubt, the MonsterInsights plugin is a clear leader for adding Google Analytics functionality to a WordPress website.
It also makes it easy to add analytics event tracking.
Here’s a quick overview video for this plugin.
MonsterInsights Video Intro
MonsterInsights and Google Analytics Event Tracking
I’ve used MonsterInsights on multiple websites for many years now.
It’s easy to set up, and I love the fact that it offers good Google Analytics event tracking at the free level (MonsterInsights Lite).
For tracking file downloads as events, see this area of the ‘Engagement’ settings.
For tracking outbound affiliate links, this is available in the ‘Publisher’ settings.
Other external link clicks, including mailto links, are tracked automatically as Google Analytics events.
Event Category, Action, and Label Dimensions
MonsterInsights also properly fills in the three main event tracking dimensions in Google Analytics.
These are the Category, Action, and Label dimensions.
For example, the event category might be ‘outbound-link’, with the event action being the full link URL, and the event label being the anchor text applied to the external link.
MonsterInsights Free vs. Pro Versions
The free level of MonsterInsights is very powerful, and may be all you ever need for a single website.
However, the paid levels add important functionality that many will find very useful. Each level builds upon the features in the lower level(s) and adds more. In other words, you get everything included in the lower level(s), plus the level you’re paying for.
The paid tiers for MonsterInsights are:
For small businesses and publishers who want to push their analytics to the next level for a single website.
This level adds new reporting insights, including scroll tracking events and enhanced link tracking.
MonsterInsights Plus Pricing: $99.50 per year
For ecommerce sites and webmasters with multiple websites needing even more capabilities. Covers up to 5 sites.
The pro level adds support for lots of ecommerce needs, including GA ecommerce reporting and integration with key platforms such as WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, MemberPress, and LifterLMS.
Other features unlocked at this level include form conversion tracking, author, category, and tags tracking, GA custom dimensions, and Google Optimize support.
MonsterInsights Pro Pricing: $199.50 per year
As the name suggests, this tier is for agencies who need advanced analytics functionality for multiple client accounts.
This level adds support for up to 25 websites. Includes premium support, WordPress multisite support, and client management features.
MonsterInsights Agency Pricing: $399.50 per year
If you’re interested in using a full-featured plugin for Google Analytics support, including easy setup for tracking the most common analytics event types, then MonsterInsights is definitely worth checking out.
As I mentioned above, I’ve been using it for years and it’s been working great all along.
The free version (MonsterInsights Lite) is enough for many websites, and the paid tiers are carefully structured and priced to appeal to their target audiences.
Matomo Analytics Event Tracking
Comprehesive Analytics Including Event Tracking
Matomo (formerly Piwik) is an open-source analytics platform that is focused on its customers having 100% ownership of their data, along with user privacy protections.
It is a leading alternative to using Google Analytics for website metrics.
Matomo is used on over 1.4 million websites in over 190 countries. They have cloud-based as well an on-premises options for data storage.
It’s a comprehensive website analytics platform that also offers a ‘tag management’ capability.
Matomo’s Tag Manager allows configuration of event tracking, among other things.
See the first video below for a brief overview of Matomo for WordPress.
Matomo Intro Video
A Tag Manager Approach to Event Tracking
The Matomo approach to analytics event tracking is based on their own tag manager tools. (This is their answer to the Google Tag Manager.)
Event tracking is very powerful and flexible when implemented with a tag manager.
It is, however, less ‘plug and play’ when compared to the MonsterInsights plugin described earlier in this post.
See this video for a brief look at Matomo’s Tag Manager.
Matomo Tag Manager Overview
Matomo pricing varies by tier level and also by cloud vs. on-premises hosting plan selected.
Cloud hosting comes at three levels: Essential, Business, and Enterprise. Pricing here ranges from US $19 per month to $TBD (customized) at the Enterprise level.
Cloud-hosted data is stored in Frankfurt, Germany.
WordPress installations are self-hosted (on premises), so everything runs on your WordPress server.
All core features are included for WordPress installations, including WooCommerce analytics.
Premium options include:
- Search Engine Keywords Performance ($79/year)
- Funnels ($99/year)
- Users Flow ($39/year)
- Heatmap and Session Recording ($119/year)
- Paid Advertising Performance ($89/year)
- Custom Reports ($119/year)
- Forms ($89/year)
- Media Analytics ($89/year)
- Multi-Channel Conversion Attribution ($39/year)
- Cohorts ($59/year)
Optional features that are *not* available for WordPress installations include Activity Log, White Label, A/B Testing, Roll-Up Reporting, and the SAML and LDAP integrations.
For those interested in comprehensive event tracking in a non-Google analytics package, Matomo is a top option for your short list.
Using a tag manager to implement event tracking is very flexible, though it may still seem a bit more complicated than some would like.
In those cases, the WordPress plugins that add simple event tracking to an existing Google Analytics property may be the easiest way to go.
Other Google Analytics Event Tracking Plugins
And now there’s this plugin add-on from WPL Agency that provides easy event tracking for user clicks on several common Elementor widgets, including:
- Button widget
- Icon List widget
- Image widget
- Heading widget
- Form widget submissions
This is a plugin I’m going to test for myself soon. I already use MonsterInsights for basic event tracking, but the added event types provided by Events Tracker for Elementor look really helpful.
This is a simple free plugin for tracking scroll depth and firing related GA events.
I use it on my website today, though a word of caution is in order since it hasn’t been updated recently. I hope the developers are able to keep it current and moving forward.
The Scroll Depth plugin allows firing GA events at:
- Specific page depth breakpoints (25 / 50 / 75 / 100 percent of depth)
- Pixel-based depths
- When selected CSS elements come into the field of view (admin defined)
I currently have it firing events for the percentage-based depths and for a set of custom CSS IDs I’ve defined on various posts and pages.
WP Google Analytics Events
Developed by PineWise, this powerful event tracking plugin lets you configure a wide range of event-firing conditions.
These include user scrolling, embedded video interactions, clicks on call-to-action buttons, email links, other external links, and many other user interactions of interest.
Pro Version Available
There’s a pro version of this plugin as well. It comes via a tiered pricing plan that starts at $79/year for a single website.
The pro version adds expanded functionality for tracking video performance, tracking self-hosted video and audio files, global or selective link tracking, and access to their pro support team.
Another interesting free plugin for event tracking, Komito Analytics handles a wide range of events, including:
- Social network interactions
- Form submissions
- Media plays (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
- Call To Action links (mailto, etc.)
- File downloads and page prints
- Outbound links
- Scroll depth
Simplifying Event Tracking for WordPress Sites
The plugins mentioned above make it much easier to enable analytics event tracking on WordPress websites.
For most WordPress site owners and admins, going the plugin route here is the obvious choice, and the quickest way to gain the extra visitor behavior insights provided by event tracking metrics.
In any case, good luck with your selections and implementation. Please drop a comment below if you have any feedback or other thoughts to add.
Comments and Feedback
What’s your favorite way to track analytics events in WordPress?
Should I add any other options to my discussion above?
Feel free to add your thoughts below!
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