Google Analytics 4 Click Tracking – The Beginners’ Guide

Clicks on buttons and links drive your website visitors closer to the destination you have in mind. However, if you want to know for sure if users “click” with your brand, you need to know where they click on your site. Luckily, GA4 has made basic click tracking quite easy…

On which link will you click?

What is click tracking?

Click tracking collects data from the interactions of visitors with your links and buttons. You can analyze this data to optimize your funnels and the overall customer’s journey on your site.

Tracking clicks on your website provides answers to vital marketing questions:

  • Do people actually click on your links and buttons?
  • Do your buttons and links work as intended?
  • Are the design, copy and placement optimal?
  • Which links and buttons get the most clicks?
  • Do clicks contribute to your business goals?

Let’s have a look at what you can expect from automatic click tracking data in GA4.

GA4 as click tracking tool

You can easily set up basic click tracking in Google Analytics 4, but honestly, there are tools that are better equipped to visualize clicking behavior on your website. For instance, heatmaps and rage click data are two things GA4 doesn’t offer.

In this video, Jeff Sauer reviews 4 of these tools. Although user behavior analytics software cannot replace GA4, it gives data-driven marketers additional valuable insights.

Let’s look at how GA4 presents data from clicks.

Where can you find click tracking reports in GA?

To see your click tracking report in GA4, open Reports > Engagement > Events

Depending on your site and the setup of your property, you will see a myriad of events.

At this point, the terminology may cause some confusion. The event name “click” only refers to outbound clicks. I will get into more details further below.

You may wonder why I also highlighted file_download in the screenshot above.

I will clarify this, but let's first take a step back to get a thorough understanding of the relationship in GA4 between events and clicks.

What types of clicks can you track in GA4?

In Google Analytics 4, you can basically track clicks on hyperlinks and buttons. This differs from heatmap tools, which reveal every pixel a user has clicked on, even if there is no link or action behind it.

Heatmaps show all clicks on your pages

Hyperlinks and buttons are 2 different HTML elements. In the early days of the Internet, they also had different purposes.

  • A hyperlink is normally used for navigational purposes. They lead users to another web page. In their easiest HTML format, they look as follows: <a href=”/your-link/’”>click here</a>.
  • A button is normally used for actions, like submitting a form, or adding a product to your shopping cart. The simplified code looks as follows: <button (do some action)>click here</button>.
Buttons on our chat box for Data Driven Insiders

Nowadays, hyperlinks are often used to open your mailbox, or start a phone call, whereas buttons are also used for navigation.

Buttons are very common for menus

In summary, you can track both links and button clicks in GA4.

How can you track clicks in GA4?

In GA4, you have two options to track your clicks: with or without Google Tag Manager.

The visual below summarizes the differences.

GA4 and GTM click tracking

In this guide, I only deal with the easy part, so let’s move forward with that. But if you want to dive deeper into GTM, you can check out our full GTM guide which will get you up to speed.

GA4 enhanced measurement to track clicks automatically

To automatically track typical clicks in GA4, you need to enable enhanced measurement of events for your property.

How to activate enhanced measurements in GA4?

To check if you have activated the proper enhanced measurements in GA4, click on the Admin clog in the left bottom of your account, and then on Data Streams.

Then, click on your Data Stream.

Now you can see which enhanced measurements are activated for your website.

  • Make sure that the slider is switched on.
  • Click on the clog to activate or deactivate one of the 6 available enhanced measurements.

You can see data flowing into your account for the activated events. Three of them are technically related to the clicking behavior of your visitors.

Track file downloads in GA4

Files are important assets of your marketing. Visitors go crazy about them and even print them out. A paper that is lying on a desk doesn’t disappear when you close your phone or desktop.

GA4 tracks events, including clicks, that are related to standard documents you have uploaded to your website, such as excel, word, powerpoint and pdf files.

Track embedded YouTube video interactions in GA4

Videos are engaging your audience. Compared with texts, videos give your audience a real feeling about your brand.

But as you know, a video is only worth something from the moment a user clicks on play. In GA4, there is no need to set up tracking for videos from YouTube.

Track outbound clicks in GA4

Outbound clicks lead your visitors to other domains. These can be your own sites, or from 3rd parties.

If you have set up enhanced outbound clicks, you can use the data in other reports and explorations, such as in the path exploration.

Please note that if you have enabled cross domain tracking in GA4, links from one domain to another in your property are treated as internal links.

Alas, this is something that GA4 does not track automatically.

GA4 has a lot more events you can track. Depending on the nature of your site, you can have access to recommended events for games or e-commerce.

Signing up, purchasing, entering a next level, joining a group etc are all events triggered by a click

Besides the 3 enhanced measurement events, you will see a ton more events that are the result of visitor clicks.

Key takeaways

  • GA4 can track clicks, but it presents them in a visual less appealing way than user behavior analytics tools.
  • GA4 enhanced measurements allow you to effortlessly track common clicks on your website.
  • You need to enable enhanced measurements in your data stream for outbound clicks, video and file downloads.
  • GA4 then tracks clicks on both links and buttons. You can also integrate GA4's tracking with popular e-commerce platforms like Squarespace for multiple data sources.
  • The “click” event only tracks outbound clicks that lead visitors to another domain.
  • Click behavior data appears in your GA4 Event reports, as well as separate dimensions in reports and explorations.
  • For internal click tracking and more advanced button and link tracking data, you need to use Google Tag Manager.

Thank you for making it to the end of this beginner’s guide to GA4 click tracking. If you are interested in more advanced click tracking configurations with the help of GTM, keep an eye out for our blog.

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