GA4 Custom Events | Complete Guide

One of the key aspects of GA4 is the ability to set up custom events, which provide valuable insights into specific user actions. This article aims to demystify the process of setting up custom events in GA4, offering two approaches: using Google Tag Manager (GTM) or directly within the GA4 interface. Whether you prefer the flexibility of GTM or the simplicity of the GA4 interface, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of implementing custom events, enabling you to harness the full potential of GA4 for your business. So, let’s dive in and get started.

GA4 events types

GA4 events refer to specific user interactions or actions tracked and recorded in Google Analytics 4 (GA4). These events provide valuable data about how users engage with your website or app, allowing you to understand user behaviour, measure conversions, and optimise your digital strategy.

There are four main types of events in GA4:

  1. Automatically Collected Events: These events are tracked automatically by GA4 without any additional configuration. They include standard interactions like page views, first visits, and sessions.
  1. Enhanced Measurement Events: GA4 offers enhanced measurement capabilities that automatically track additional events like outbound clicks, site searches, video progress, and more. These events provide deeper insights into user behaviour without requiring manual implementation.
  1. Recommended Events: GA4 provides a set of recommended events that cover common user interactions across various industries. You can easily implement these events to track actions like sign-ups, purchases, form submissions, etc.
  1. Custom Events: Custom events allow you to track and measure user interactions specific to your business or industry. You can define custom event parameters to capture additional details about the event.

By tracking and analysing these events, you can gain insights into user engagement, conversion rates, user journeys, and other key performance indicators. This data helps you make informed decisions, optimise your website or app, and improve the user experience.

Overall, GA4 events provide valuable insights into user behaviour and help you make data-driven decisions to drive the success of your digital presence.

Plan and document your implementation first

Planning and documenting the process is crucial to ensure an effective and organised implementation of custom events in GA4. Firstly, identify your tracking goals and the specific events you want to track. Next, define the event parameters that will provide additional context. Additionally, map out how users will trigger these events on your website or app. To document your implementation, create a tracking plan that outlines event names, parameters, trigger conditions, and implementation notes. Once the plan is in place, proceed with implementing the custom events in GA4. You can ensure consistency and scalability by planning and documenting the implementation of your GA4 custom events. Here’s a sample template you can use for your documentation.

Google Analytics Implementation Specification
Google Analytics Implementation Specification

How to set up custom events in GA4 using its interface

To set up custom events in GA4 using the GA4 interface, in your admin section click on Data Display->Events-> Create Event.

Go to GA4 Events Section
GA4 Events Settings Page

This opens a new window where you need to indicate your parameters and the conditions for your custom event. For example, in the image below, we created a custom event, “contact_page_visted,” to track actions when the contact page is visited. The event here is a page view, so we use the page_view value for the event name. For the condition, we set it to be when the page_location contains “contact.”

Configure custom GA4 event
Configuring a new custom GA4 event to track contact page views

Now, whenever a user visits the contact page, the custom event “contact_page_visited” will be tracked in GA4 with the associated event parameters. You can then analyse and track these events in your GA4 reports. By utilising the GA4 interface to create events, you can avoid the need to allocate additional funds for developers to write codes for this.

How to set up custom events in GA4 using GTM

You can create custom events in GTM when you have already installed your GA4 configuration in GTM. To create a custom event in GTM, you must create an event name and set up triggers; the triggers indicate when the tags should fire. You can also define event parameters that provide more context to your custom event.

To set up custom events in GA4 using GTM (Google Tag Manager), simply create a new tag by going to your GTM container and navigate to the “Tags” section. Click on “New” to create a new tag. Give your tag a descriptive name.

Creating a new tag in GTM
Creating a new tag in GTM

Next, configure the tag by selecting the “Google Analytics: GA4 Event” tag type.

Now, you can enter a unique name for your custom event and add any relevant parameters for your event. You can also use variables to populate the event parameters dynamically. There are some built-in variables that can be used, other times you might need to use a data layer variable and this would require the help of a developer to help push some codes in your source code to help pull the variable value from the data layer. 

Setting up GA4 custom event in GTM
Setting up GA4 custom event in GTM

Finally, set up a trigger. Click on “Triggering” to configure when the tag should fire.

For example, you can set a trigger to fire when a user views a specific page. In our example, we used the “Page View” trigger type and indicated that the tag should fire when a user is on a page whose path contains “/contact.” Now save your tag configuration.

Setting up a GTM trigger for GA4 custom event
Setting up a GTM trigger for the GA4 custom event

Now, whenever a user visits the contact page, the custom event “contact_page_viewed” will be sent to GA4 with the associated event parameters. You can then analyse and track these events in your GA4 reports.

Test new events using GA4 Debug View

You can utilise the Debug View feature to test new events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4). The Debug View enables you to view real-time event data and verify the tracking of your events. Here’s how you can test new events using GA4 Debug View:

#1 Enable Debug View: In the left-hand menu, click on admin, then click on “Debug View” under the “Data Display” section. This will open the Debug View interface.

Open GA4 DebugView
Step 1: Open GA4 DebugView

#2 Trigger the event: Perform the action on your website or app to trigger the custom event you want to test. For example, if you have set up a custom event for button clicks, click the relevant button. In the Debug View interface, you can observe the real-time capture of event data. Look for the event you triggered and verify that the parameters and values are correct.

Perform the action on your website
Step 2: Perform the action on your website

#3 Check event details: Click on the event in Debug View to access more details. This action will display the specific event parameters and their values, enabling you to verify the accurate tracking of the event.

Track your action in DebugView
Step 3: Track your action in DebugView

By using GA4 Debug View, you can test and validate the tracking of your custom events in real time. This helps you ensure that the events are set up correctly and that the captured data aligns with your expectations. It’s a valuable tool for troubleshooting and confirming the accuracy of your event tracking in GA4. Here’s a detailed article on GA4 Debug View.

Register event parameters as custom definitions

To ensure that the data is visible in your GA4 reports, it is necessary to register your new event parameters as GA4 custom dimensions if they are not already included in the recommended event parameters for recommended events. To register event parameters as custom definitions in Google Analytics 4 (GA4), navigate to GA4 -> Admin -> Custom definitions and create a dimension (or metric) in GA4. In the “Custom Definitions” section, click on the “+ New Custom Dimensions” button.

Register the event parameter as a custom-definition

In the new custom dimension window. Choose the “Event Parameter” option. Fill the other options like the dimension name and description. Click save to finish the registration.

Monitor new custom events in GA4 reports

You can monitor new custom events in GA4 reports by using the “Engagement Report”. To use the “Engagement Reports” simply go to Reports -> Engagement -> Events

Open GA4 Events Report
Open GA4 Events Report

You can also monitor your new custom event by creating an exploration report in GA4. To do this, navigate to the left menu of your GA4 interface and click on “Explore”. From there, you can choose to create a free form exploration or start with a blank report. This will open up the report page.

Import Dimensions and Metrics into GA4 Explorations
Import Dimensions and Metrics into GA4 Explorations

To track events in Explorations, you need to add dimensions and metrics. Click on the “+” sign for dimensions and select the dimensions you want to include, including the custom events you created. Similarly, use the “+” sign beside metrics to select the desired metrics. You can arrange them in rows and columns to track the performance of your custom metrics. If you are new to GA4 explorations, you can refer to this detailed article for more information.

Events report in GA4 Explorations
Events report in GA4 Explorations

GA4 custom events not showing? Here is what to do.

If you’re experiencing issues with your custom events not showing in GA4 reports, here are some steps to help troubleshoot the problem. First, verify your implementation by double-checking that you have correctly implemented the tracking code for your custom events and ensuring that the events are being sent to the right GA4 property and data stream. 

Next, check event parameters to ensure that your custom event parameters are accurately defined and that the parameter names and data types match the custom definitions you created in GA4. Additionally, allow time for processing, as it may take some time for the custom events to appear in GA4 reports. Wait for a few hours or up to 24 hours to allow for data processing and propagation. 

Lastly, review the data filters to ensure that you have actively applied any filters to your GA4 views that might exclude the custom events from the reports, and make adjustments if needed.

By following these steps, you should be able to identify and resolve any issues preventing your custom events from showing up in GA4 reports.

Do you need help to set up GA4 custom events?

Custom events in GA4 offer a powerful way to track and analyse user interactions, providing valuable insights to optimise your digital strategy. However, implementing and troubleshooting custom events can sometimes be challenging, especially if you’re new to GA4, lack technical expertise, or don’t have the time required. That’s where the Vakulski-group analytics agency can be of great assistance. We have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process, ensuring that your custom events are correctly implemented and tracked in GA4. We can help you define the right event parameters, set up the necessary data tracking, and provide ongoing support to ensure accurate data collection.

We’ll help you understand how users behave on your website or app and provide valuable insights to improve your analytics strategy. Don’t worry about the technical details – contact us, and we’ll handle everything! Contact us today to unlock the full potential of your GA4 data!

Final Word

In summary, GA4 custom events offer a valuable opportunity to track and analyse specific user interactions on your website or app. By registering custom event parameters and monitoring them in GA4 reports, you can gain deeper insights into user behaviour, engagement, and conversion.

Custom events allow you to go beyond the standard predefined events and track actions unique to your business or industry. Whether tracking button clicks, form submissions, video views, or any other user action, custom events provide the flexibility to capture and analyse the data that matters most to you.

By properly setting up custom events, you can uncover valuable insights about how users interact with your digital properties. This information can help you identify areas for improvement, optimise user experiences, and make data-driven decisions to drive the success of your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to create GA4 custom events?

To create GA4 custom events, you can use the GA4 interface or Google Tag Manager (GTM) to define and set up specific events based on your requirements.

Why GA4 custom events are not showing?

GA4 custom events may not be showing in reports due to issues with implementation, event parameters, data processing time as it may take a few hours or up to 24 hours for the custom events to appear in GA4 reports.

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