How to track PDF in Google Analytics | PDF Tracking

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Posted by Amish Keshwani | Posted in Google, Web Analytics | Posted on 19-05-2016

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Hello Friends,

Recently, I have come across a real time challenge to track a really important data in Google Analytics. One of my client has a website which offers Online Application From in PDF Format & One has to download it, fill it & send back on given email id. Now, here, for Client, its really important to know that how many people have downloaded the PDF ? There are 3 application forms, so comparison metrics for all 3, Geography details, Traffic channel details for Downloads & many more. But, everything can be available if we are able to track when PDF get downloaded by a visitor. So, to-day’s blog post is all about How to track PDF download in Google Analytics.

How to Track PDF Download in GA :

There are 2 ways we can track PDF download in Google Analytics.

  1. Generate Virtual Pageviews when someone downloads PDF
  2. Set & track Events when someone downloads PDF

Normally, Its really helpful to track PDF downloads as Event. This give you flexibility to categorize & Label the events as per the nature of download.  Beside this, one can look at the source & various metrics available in Google Analytics to trace the individual download as well.  So, to Set & Track event for each & every PDF download, you need to implement following code.

You need to call Track Event in your Google Analytics code.

_trackEvent(category, action, label (Optional), value (optional), noninteraction (optional))

  • category (required) : The name you supply for the group of PDF/Objects you want to track.
  • action (required) : A term used to define the type of user interaction for the web object. (For ex. Downloade/ played)
  • label (optional) : An optional string to provide additional dimensions to the event data. (For ex. Name of PDF file)
  • value (optional) : An integer that you can use to provide numerical data about the user event. (For ex. 1% of course fees)
  • non-interaction (optional) : A boolean that when set to true, indicates that the event hit will not be used in bounce-rate calculation.

Example of Simple Code :
<a href=”#” onClick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘PDF’, ‘Downloaded’, ‘SEO Course App Form’]);”>SEO Course App Form</a>

Reporting :
Once event tracking has been set up and working on your site for a day, then you can go to the Content section of the reports in Google Analytics and view Event Tracking. In the above case, the reports for Events would show PDF as the Category, Downloaded as the Action, and SEO Course App Form as the Label.

With this method, you can track,
  • PDF
  • Documents
  • VIdeo Download
  • Video Play/Pause Events
  • Songs Download event & more

But then, again, here is the challenge, Suppose you have a a very Big University client where there are hundreds PDF to track from millions of pages, What one should do ? Go & set the event code in each & every link ? Sound illogical right ? Well, I am researching on that & very close to solution :)

So, Stay tune, keep googling & keep reading Innovative SEO for the next post on the same topic on How to track hundreds on PDF with automated event tracking :)

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