Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

How to Track Events Using Google Analytics 4 and Google Tag Manager


In today's data-driven world, understanding user behavior and optimizing digital strategies are crucial for businesses seeking success. To meet this demand, Google has introduced a groundbreaking analytics platform: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). With its advanced capabilities, GA4 revolutionizes the way we track and analyze website and app data, providing businesses…

In today's data-driven world, understanding user behavior and optimizing digital strategies are crucial for businesses seeking success. To meet this demand, Google has introduced a groundbreaking analytics platform: Google Analytics 4 (GA4). With its advanced capabilities, GA4 revolutionizes the way we track and analyze website and app data, providing businesses with invaluable insights into user engagement and enabling data-driven decision-making. GA4 represents a significant leap forward in the evolution of analytics. Unlike its predecessor, Universal Analytics, GA4 adopts a more holistic approach by integrating website analytics with app analytics. This integration enables businesses to gain a comprehensive understanding of user interactions across various digital touchpoints, including websites, mobile apps, and even offline conversions.

Key differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) brings a fresh approach to analytics, introducing several key differences compared to its predecessor, Universal Analytics. Firstly, GA4 enables cross-platform tracking, seamlessly integrating data from websites and mobile apps to provide a unified view of user behavior across platforms. This comprehensive tracking allows businesses to understand the entire customer journey and identify areas for optimization.  Secondly, GA4 incorporates machine learning and AI integration, providing predictive insights and automated data analysis. By leveraging these technologies, GA4 uncovers patterns and trends within user data, empowering businesses to make data-driven decisions.  Lastly, GA4 adopts a privacy-centric approach with features like consent modes and data deletion controls, ensuring businesses track user data responsibly and in compliance with privacy regulations. These key differences make GA4 a powerful and forward-thinking analytics platform, enabling businesses to unlock deeper insights and drive meaningful outcomes.

Tracking using GA4

Tracking user interactions and events on a website or application is crucial for gaining valuable insights into user behavior, optimizing conversions, and making data-driven decisions. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Google Tag Manager (GTM) are powerful tools that can be combined to track events effectively.    GA4 leverages an event-based data model, which allows for more flexible and granular tracking of user interactions. Instead of relying solely on pageviews, GA4 focuses on key events that occur within a user session, such as clicks, video views, or purchases. By capturing these events, GA4 provides businesses with deeper insights into user behavior, enabling them to optimize their digital experiences and drive meaningful outcomes.

Hits vs. Events: Unveiling the Distinction

In GA4, hits and events serve distinct purposes in the realm of tracking user interactions. Hits refer to any data sent to GA4, including pageviews and events. Events, on the other hand, are specific actions or occurrences that users engage in on websites or mobile apps. While hits encompass a broader range of data, events offer a more granular view of user behavior, providing insights into interactions beyond mere pageviews.

Types of Events in GA4

Automatically Collected Events: 

GA4 automatically collects certain events without the need for manual implementation. These events include essential interactions like pageviews, scrolls, video engagement, file downloads, and more. They offer a foundational understanding of user behavior right out of the box.  

Enhanced Measurement Events:

These events provide additional insights by leveraging advanced tracking capabilities. Enhanced measurement events include interactions like outbound clicks, site search, video progress, and form submissions. They offer a more comprehensive view of user engagement, enabling businesses to understand specific user actions in greater detail.  

Recommended Events: 

GA4 provides a set of recommended events based on common industry practices and user interactions. These pre-defined events cover a range of actions, such as adding items to a cart, initiating a checkout, completing a purchase, and more. Implementing recommended events allows businesses to track crucial milestones and gain actionable insights aligned with their industry.  

Custom Events: 

GA4 offers the flexibility to define and track custom events tailored to the specific needs of businesses. Custom events enable tracking of unique actions or interactions that are relevant to a particular website or app. By structuring and implementing custom events, businesses can track user behaviors that align with their specific goals, such as sign-ups, newsletter subscriptions, or content interactions.  

Planning and Structuring Events

When structuring events in GA4, careful planning is crucial to ensure effective data analysis and interpretation. Start by defining clear and descriptive event names that accurately represent the actions being tracked. Consistency in naming conventions allows for easy identification and analysis of events in reports. Additionally, utilize event parameters to provide additional context and relevant information about the events. Parameters add depth to the data collected, allowing for more insightful analysis. Consider parameters like product IDs, transaction values, user demographics, or any other relevant data that can enrich the understanding of user behavior.  

Registering and Adding Custom Events to GA4

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to register and add custom events to GA4:  

Define Your Custom Event

Start by clearly defining the specific user actions or interactions you want to track as custom events. Examples could include sign-ups, form submissions, button clicks, video plays, or any other action that is meaningful to your business.  

Set Up Event Parameters

Determine the event parameters that provide additional context and relevant information about the custom event. Parameters are key-value pairs that you can attach to events to enrich the data collected. Examples of parameters could include product IDs, transaction values, user demographics, or any other relevant data that enhances your understanding of user behavior.  

Implement the Tracking Code

To register and track custom events, you need to implement the appropriate tracking code within your website or mobile app. If you are using a website, ensure that you have the GA4 global site tag (gtag.js) installed on all relevant pages. For mobile apps, integrate the GA4 SDK or Firebase SDK with the necessary event tracking code.  

Define Event Name and Parameters

In the tracking code, define the custom event name using the gtag() function for websites or the appropriate method for mobile apps. Provide a descriptive and recognizable name that accurately represents the custom event you are tracking. Additionally, pass the relevant event parameters as key-value pairs along with the event name.  

Verify Event Implementation

Once you have implemented the tracking code and defined the custom event, it's essential to verify if the event is being correctly tracked. You can use the Real-Time reports in GA4 to check if the custom event is triggering and appearing in the live data stream. This step helps ensure that your event implementation is functioning as intended.  

Analyze Custom Events

After successful implementation, you can analyze and gain insights from your custom events in the GA4 interface. Explore the Event reports to understand user behavior, measure conversions, and identify patterns or trends. Leverage the available dimensions, metrics, and filters to segment and analyze the data associated with your custom events.  

Continuously Optimize and Iterate

Regularly review and analyze the performance of your custom events. Identify opportunities for optimization, such as refining event names, adjusting event parameters, or adding additional custom events based on changing business objectives. By continuously iterating and improving your event tracking strategy, you can derive more meaningful insights and drive better business outcomes.  

Modifying Events in the GA4 Interface

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to modify events in the GA4 interface:  

Access the GA4 Interface: 

Log in to your Google Analytics account and navigate to the property associated with your GA4 implementation. Ensure that you have the necessary permissions to modify events within the account.  

Open the Event Configuration: 

In the GA4 interface, locate and click on the "Events" tab or menu option. This will open the Event Configuration section where you can manage and modify your events.

Select the Event to Modify: 

Identify the specific event you want to modify from the list of events displayed in the Event Configuration section. Click on the event to access its settings and details.  

Edit Event Name: 

To modify the event name, locate the field or option that displays the current name of the event. Edit the text to reflect the updated event name you desire. Ensure that the new name accurately represents the action or interaction being tracked.  

Adjust Event Parameters: 

If you need to modify the parameters associated with the event, locate the parameter settings within the event configuration. Depending on the GA4 implementation, you may be able to add, remove, or update the key-value pairs of the event parameters. Make the necessary adjustments to align the parameters with your updated requirements.  

Save Changes: 

After making the desired modifications to the event name and parameters, save the changes to update the event configuration. Look for a "Save" or "Apply" button within the GA4 interface to save your modifications.  

Verify Event Modifications: 

Once the changes are saved, you can verify if the modifications have been successfully applied. Use the Real-Time reports or wait for the updated data to populate in the regular reporting sections of GA4. Confirm that the event name and parameters reflect the modifications you made.  

Monitor and Analyze the Modified Event: 

Going forward, monitor the performance of the modified event using the GA4 interface. Analyze the updated event data to gain insights, measure conversions, and track user behavior based on the modified event configuration.  

Sending Events Using Google Tag Manager

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to send events using Google Tag Manager:  

Set Up Google Tag Manager: 

Ensure that you have Google Tag Manager set up for your website or mobile app. Create a GTM container and install the GTM code snippet on your website or integrate it into your mobile app.  

Create a New Tag: 

In your GTM container, navigate to the "Tags" section and click on "New" to create a new tag.  

Select Tag Configuration: 

Choose the tag configuration type that corresponds to the event you want to send. For example, if you want to track a button click, select the "Google Analytics: GA4 Event" configuration type.  

Configure the Tag: 

Provide a descriptive name for the tag and set the relevant parameters for the event. This may include specifying the event name, event parameters, and other necessary details based on the specific event you want to track.  

Trigger the Tag: 

Assign a trigger to determine when the tag should be fired. Triggers define the conditions that need to be met for the event to be sent. For example, you can set the trigger to fire when a specific button is clicked or when a form is submitted.  

Save the Tag: 

Save the tag configuration once you have set up the necessary parameters and triggers.  

Publish the Container: 

After creating and saving the tag, you need to publish the GTM container to make the changes live on your website or app. Click on "Submit" or "Publish" to publish the container.  

Test and Verify: 

Test the event tracking by visiting your website or app and performing the actions associated with the event. Use tools like the GTM Preview mode or Google Analytics Real-Time reports to ensure that the events are being triggered and sent correctly.  

Event Testing in Real-Time Reports & DebugView in GA4

Here's how you can utilize Real-Time reports and DebugView in GA4 for event testing:  

Real-Time Reports

Real-Time reports in GA4 provide immediate visibility into the events being tracked on your website or app. Follow these steps to test events using Real-Time reports:  

Access Real-Time Reports: 

Log in to your Google Analytics account, navigate to the desired GA4 property, and click on the "Real-Time" tab.  

Select the Event Category: 

In the Real-Time reports, select the appropriate event category or custom event you want to test. This will display real-time data related to the selected event.  

Trigger the Event: 

Perform the action or interaction that should trigger the event you are testing. For example, if you are testing a button click event, click on the relevant button on your website or app.  

Observe Real-Time Data: 

Monitor the Real-Time reports to see if the event is being captured and appearing in the report. Look for the event counts and other relevant metrics to ensure that the event is tracking as expected. Real-Time reports provide immediate feedback on event tracking, allowing you to confirm if the events are firing and appearing in GA4 in real-time.  


DebugView is a feature within GA4 that allows you to see the events being sent to Google Analytics in a debugging interface. Follow these steps to use DebugView for event testing:  

Access DebugView: 

Go to your GA4 property, navigate to the "Admin" section, and select "Data Streams." Click on the appropriate data stream, and under "Measurement Settings," enable the "DebugView" toggle.  

Trigger the Event: 

Perform the action or interaction that should trigger the event you want to test. This will send the event data to Google Analytics.  

Observe DebugView: 

Once the event is triggered, return to the DebugView interface in GA4. You will see the event data displayed, including event names, parameters, and other relevant information. DebugView provides detailed insights into the event data being sent to GA4, allowing you to verify if the events are being properly captured and transmitted.

Checking Events Reports, Engagement, and Conversions in GA4

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) provides comprehensive reports to analyze events, measure user engagement, and track conversions. Here's a guide on how to check these metrics in GA4:  

Access the GA4 Interface: 

Log in to your Google Analytics account and navigate to the GA4 property you want to analyze.  

Event Reports:

Navigate to the "Events" section:In the left-hand menu, click on "Events" to access the event reports. Select the Event Category:Choose the specific event category you want to analyze from the list. This will display the related events within that category. Explore Event Details: Click on an individual event to view its details, including event parameters, total events, unique events, event value, and other relevant metrics. Analyze the event data to gain insights into user interactions and behaviors.  

Engagement Reports:

Access the "Engagement" section: In the left-hand menu, click on "Engagement" to explore engagement-related reports. Review User Engagement Metrics: Analyze metrics such as sessions, average engagement time, engagement rate, active users, and more to understand how users engage with your website or app. These reports provide valuable insights into user behavior and their level of engagement.  

Conversion Reports:

Navigate to the "Conversions" section: In the left-hand menu, click on "Conversions" to access conversion-related reports. Explore Goal Conversions: Review the "Goals" report to track the performance of your defined conversion goals. This report provides details on goal completions, conversion rates, and other relevant metrics. Analyze the data to measure the success of your conversion objectives. Track Ecommerce Conversions: If you have set up ecommerce tracking, explore the "Ecommerce" report to monitor sales, revenue, conversion rates, and other ecommerce-related metrics. This report provides insights into the effectiveness of your online transactions and revenue generation.  

Customize and Segment Reports: 

Within each section, you can customize and segment the reports based on various dimensions, such as traffic source, device type, user demographics, and more. This allows you to analyze events, engagement, and conversions from different perspectives, helping you uncover deeper insights.  

Set Date Ranges: 

Use the date range selector at the top right corner of the GA4 interface to specify the time period for which you want to view the reports. This allows you to compare and analyze data over different time periods to identify trends and patterns.  

Mapping Universal Analytics Events to GA4 Events

When transitioning from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), it's important to understand how events in UA correspond to events in GA4. While the event tracking methodology is similar, there are some differences in the terminology and implementation. Here's a guide to help you map Universal Analytics events to GA4 events:  

Event Category: 

In Universal Analytics, events are organized by category. In GA4, events are organized by event name and event parameters. To map the event category from UA to GA4, you can use the event name in GA4 to represent the event category in UA.  

Event Action: 

The event action in Universal Analytics represents the specific action or interaction being tracked. In GA4, this is typically mapped to the event name. Ensure that the event name in GA4 accurately represents the event action from UA.  

Event Label: 

Universal Analytics allows for an optional event label to provide additional context or information about an event. In GA4, this can be mapped to event parameters. You can set specific parameters to capture the same information that was previously included in the event label in UA.  

Event Value: 

Universal Analytics allows for an optional event value to assign a numerical value to an event. In GA4, event values can be mapped to event parameters or custom metrics. Assign the appropriate parameters or metrics to capture the event value in GA4.  

Custom Dimensions: 

If you were using custom dimensions in Universal Analytics to track additional information about events, you can map them to event parameters in GA4. Define the relevant event parameters in GA4 to capture the same custom dimensions data.  

Enhanced Measurement Events: 

GA4 introduces enhanced measurement events that automatically track common interactions without requiring explicit event tracking. These events include page_view, scroll, outbound_click, site_search, and video_engagement. Map the relevant events in UA to the corresponding enhanced measurement events in GA4.  

Custom Events: 

If you have implemented custom events in Universal Analytics, you can create custom events in GA4 to track the same actions or interactions. Define the event name and associated parameters in GA4 to align with your custom event tracking in UA.  

Planning the Event Naming Convention & Structure in GA4

Establishing a well-thought-out event naming convention and structure in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is crucial for consistent and organized event tracking. It allows for easier analysis, reporting, and understanding of user interactions. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you plan the event naming convention and structure in GA4:  

Define your Objectives: 

Clearly outline your tracking objectives and the specific user interactions or actions you want to measure. For example, you may want to track button clicks, form submissions, video views, or downloads. Understanding your objectives will help you define meaningful events.  

Identify Event Categories: 

Start by identifying the broad categories that your events will fall under. Event categories group related events together. For example, if you have events related to user interactions on different website sections, you might have categories like "Homepage," "Products," "Blog," etc.  

Determine Event Actions: 

Within each event category, determine the specific actions or interactions you want to track. Event actions should be descriptive and representative of the user action. For example, "Clicked Button," "Submitted Form," "Played Video," "Downloaded eBook," etc.  

Consider Event Labels: 

Event labels provide additional context or information about an event. They are optional but can be valuable for further segmentation and analysis. If you need to capture additional details about an event, determine the relevant event labels you want to include.  

Establish a Naming Structure: 

Create a consistent naming structure for your events to ensure clarity and uniformity. You can use a hierarchical structure by combining the category, action, and label (if applicable) with separators like underscores or periods. For example: "Homepage_ClickedButton" or "Products_PlayedVideo".  

Use Event Parameters: 

GA4 allows you to define event parameters to capture specific details about an event. Plan the parameters you want to include for each event. Parameters can be used to track attributes such as product name, form ID, video duration, or any other relevant information related to the event.  

Document the Convention:

Document the event naming convention and structure in a clear and easily accessible format. This documentation will serve as a reference for all stakeholders involved in implementing and analyzing events. Include examples and guidelines to ensure consistent usage.  

Communicate and Train:

Share the event naming convention with your team members responsible for event tracking and implementation. Conduct training sessions to ensure everyone understands the convention and its importance. This will help maintain consistency across the organization.  

Review and Iterate: 

Regularly review and evaluate your event naming convention to ensure it aligns with your evolving tracking needs. Make adjustments as necessary based on feedback, changes in objectives, or improvements in data analysis requirements.  

Limitations with GA4

While Google Analytics 4 (GA4) provides numerous advantages and improvements over its predecessor, Universal Analytics (UA), it also has some limitations that you should be aware of. Here are some key limitations with GA4:  

Data Retroactive Compatibility: 

GA4 does not offer full retroactive compatibility with UA. It means that you cannot directly import your historical UA data into GA4. GA4 starts collecting data from the moment it is implemented, and historical data from before the implementation cannot be integrated into GA4.  

Reporting Differences: 

The reporting interface and metrics in GA4 differ from UA. If you are accustomed to specific UA reports, you may need to adjust to the new reporting structure in GA4. Some reports available in UA may not have an exact equivalent in GA4, and vice versa.  

Customization Complexity: 

GA4 has a more structured data model compared to the flexible customization options available in UA. Implementing custom tracking and advanced configurations may require more effort and expertise in GA4, particularly if you were accustomed to extensive customization in UA.  

Limited Third-Party Integrations: 

GA4 has limited integrations with third-party tools and platforms compared to UA. Some popular integrations and plugins that were available for UA may not be readily available or fully compatible with GA4 at this time. However, Google continues to expand the list of supported integrations.  

Learning Curve and Documentation: 

As GA4 is a newer version of Google Analytics, the learning resources and documentation might be more limited compared to UA. Finding specific guidance or troubleshooting solutions for GA4 may require more effort and exploration.  

Maturing Ecosystem: 

GA4 is still evolving, and its ecosystem is not as mature as UA. Some features and functionalities that were present in UA may not be fully developed or available in GA4 yet. However, Google actively releases updates and new features to enhance GA4's capabilities.  

Client and Stakeholder Familiarity: 

If your clients, stakeholders, or team members are accustomed to UA, transitioning to GA4 may require education and adjustment. It may take time for everyone to become familiar with the new interface, terminology, and reporting structure.


Tracking events with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Google Tag Manager (GTM) allows you to gather valuable data for analysis. By following the steps outlined, you can implement event tracking successfully. Plan your event naming convention, utilize GTM to deploy tags, and leverage enhanced measurement events in GA4. Test your setup and monitor event reports for insights into user behavior. Despite some limitations and a learning curve, event tracking with GA4 and GTM offers enhanced measurement capabilities for optimizing your digital presence and driving results.    

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