GA4 Event Tracking for Service Businesses

Google Analytics 4 logoUniversal Google Analytics, the tool you’ve probably been using for many years to track your website visits, was retired and replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on July 1, 2023. Subscribers to Analytics 360 (the premium, paid version of Universal Analytics) have until July 1, 2024 to migrate to GA4. While frustrating to have to learn and use a completely new tool that has a steep learning curve, it’s also a huge opportunity. That’s because GA4 is much more powerful than its predecessor and can give you detailed insights into how visitors are interacting with your website if you set it up properly with specific engagement and conversion events.

What’s the big deal about Google Analytics 4 for Service Businesses?

GA4 is the first major overhaul of Google’s web analytics tool since the introduction of Universal Analytics more than a decade ago. Its tracking methodology is so different than Universal Analytics that Google decided to completely dump the old product, despite the very vocal complaints of website owners and marketers. While Universal Analytics focused on tallying visitor numbers, GA4 is built around tracking user engagement. That’s obviously useful for e-commerce sites, but can also be very valuable for service websites and other “brochure” sites. 

Instead of focusing on how many people saw your site, you can now clearly measure how many people engaged with your site and what exactly they did. GA4 can give you detailed insights into what people clicked on, how deep they scrolled, and what conversion actions they took. This empowers you to craft your campaigns and content around what users engage and convert.

Of course, Google has also incorporated machine learning and artificial intelligence into GA4. This helps to automatically spot trends, anomalies, and opportunities, and identify visitor demographics, interests, and likelihood of converting. It can help analyze customer journeys through your website, identify dropoff points, and make recommendations for improvement.

Why is GA4’s data collection model better than Universal Analytics for service businesses?

GA4’s event-based data collection model can give us a much better understanding of user engagement and interest content than Universal Analytics’ session-based tracking. Universal Analytics was useful for tabulating aggregate, general information like page views and sessions, but was very limited in tracking specific user engagement actions within each page and over multiple devices and platforms. GA4 lets you capture specific user actions that you determine to be important, without going afoul of privacy concerns and regulations.

How can service businesses get the most out of GA4?

If you want to get the best results you’ll need to set up engagement and conversion events in GA4. Whether you attempt to set this up yourself or hire a specialist to do it (we offer a GA4 setup service), you’ll want to review your site and identify what actions you want users to perform. Do you have videos, a white paper or lead magnet, frequently asked questions, contact forms, a newsletter signup form, links to social media profiles, and call-to-action buttons?

All of these indicate either engagement or conversion actions and they should be tracked in GA4. That way you can measure interaction with these “events” and track if the number of interactions is increasing or decreasing.

This, rather than the old way that was focused on measuring total aggregate traffic, is a better way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. You can also embed these and other key performance indicators into an easy-to-understand dashboard that you can share with team members to gain actionable insights about your marketing efforts and make quick adjustments that will help you to keep improving.

What non-e-commerce events can you track in GA4?

If a visitor can do it on your site, you can probably track it. Go through your website and think about what actions from a user will give you some insight into his/her interests or intentions. Here are some GA4 event tracking ideas for businesses without online sales (ie., static brochure sites).

  1. Page scrolling. Monitor how far visitors scroll on a page to gauge content engagement and identify areas that may need improvement.
  2. Embedded video views. Assess the popularity of your video content by tracking when visitors watch embedded videos.
  3. File downloads. Measure how often visitors download files such as brochures, reports, whitepapers, or guides to evaluate interest in these resources.
  4. External links. Track external link clicks to identify useful external information sources, measure outgoing affiliate campaigns, or tally offsite conversions.
  5. Page section interactions. Monitor interactions with certain parts of your web page, such as opening frequently asked question accordions or clicking on table of contents sections, to understand common areas of interest or concern.
  6. Call-to-Action buttons. Measure each call to action’s results, do A/B testing, and make adjustments to boost conversions.
  7. Embedded calculator usage. Offering a useful tool like an embedded calculator can be a great way for financial advisors, accountants, and other services businesses to engage visitors. Event tracking can tell you if and how people are actually using these tools.
  8. Social media engagement. Are people clicking on your social media buttons? Keep the conversation going by encouraging connecting with your social profiles.
  9. Email address and phone number. Many clients want to reach out directly but analytics-focused businesses have often avoided showing this information because they made conversions harder to track. Now you can quickly see how many people click to call or email you.
  10. Live chat interactions. Chat can be a great way to engage visitors but requires a significant investment in company time and resources. Knowing what percentage of users engage with your chat can help you measure if it’s worth the effort.
  11. Form submissions or abandonment. Track when visitors fully or partially complete contact forms to measure lead generation, user engagement, and form usability.
  12. Meeting availability on an embedded calendar. Let visitors book meetings with you and track their actions on your embedded calendar. Are people checking your availability but not booking a meeting? With GA4 you can now optimize your scheduling process and measure conversions.

By capturing these events in GA4, you can more deeply understand your target clients and adjust your messaging and focus to better reach and serve them. 

Have an e-commerce business? See “GA4 Event Tracking for E-Commerce.”