Event Tracking = Revenue Growth
by Chandler Craig
What is an event?
To make meaningful gains in revenue, you need a deep understanding of your users’ behavior. That understanding is made possible by user events, which we can define as:
Any action a user takes within a software system, like a website or app.
Actions include button clicks, purchases, support requests, and social media shares, among many others.
How do you track events?
It’s possible to build an event tracking platform from scratch to track and store user events. However, it’s more common (and strongly recommended) for companies with fewer engineering resources to use a 3rd party product analytics tool like Google Analytics (GA), Amplitude, or PostHog.
These tools provide code snippets that you add to your website or application. Once the code snippet is in place, it feeds event data to your analytics workspace.
This is a good video on fully implementing Google Analytics.
What are triggers and how do you create them?
Once events are flowing into your workspace, you’ll need to specify what data you’re actually looking to pull out of these events. This specification is called a trigger. If, for example, you want to know when users have clicked on a “book a demo” button on one of your landing pages, GA will let you set conditions to hone in on that specific element in a few ways:
- Element ID: If the element has a unique HTML
$idattribute, you can specify this ID in the trigger's conditions. For instance, if a button's HTML looks like
$<button id="bookADemo">Book a demo</button>, you can set the trigger to fire only when an element with the ID
- Element Classes: If the element is part of a class (or multiple classes), you can use this for your condition. For example, if you have multiple buttons with the class
$cta-button, you can track interactions with all of them using one trigger.
- Element Attributes: Sometimes, it's helpful to target elements based on other attributes, like
$data-attributesor specific properties like
Platforms like PostHog autogenerate events and name them for you. Although this is helpful, you’ll often want to name events in a more thoughtful way.
Why is naming events important?
Naming events appropriately will make all of your marketing processes easier. Taking Dittofeed as an example, our email automation tool requires you to segment your users by whatever attributes make sense for your email campaigns. Segmentation is the primary way to send targeted and effective messages. Events are a type of attribute that, as described earlier, constitute user behavior. So tracking events by a clear, logical name can help you understand what actions users are taking within your product, which can then be used to segment your audience.
How this looks in practice:
- Behavior-Based Segmentation: You have a segment of users who have completed an event you’ve named "Purchase Completed" and another segment of users who have only reached your "Add to Cart" event but did not complete a purchase. Now you can send targeted messages to each group - a thank you message or cross-sell opportunity to the first group, and a cart abandonment reminder to the second.
- Engagement Level Segmentation: You can track events like "Viewed Product" or "Shared on Social Media" to identify highly engaged users. You could then create a segment of these highly engaged users to target with specific messaging.
- Customer Journey Segmentation: Different users will interact with your product in different ways and at different times. By tracking events, you can map out various customer journeys and segment users based on their path. For example, some users might immediately make a purchase ("Visit Site" -> "View Product" -> "Purchase Completed"), while others might take more time to decide ("Visit Site" -> "View Product" -> "Read Reviews" -> "Add to Cart" -> "Purchase Completed"). Each of these paths could represent a different segment.
- Personalization: Event names can also contain information about more specific actions taken by a user, such as the exact product they purchased. This information can be used to further personalize your messaging. If a user triggers the event "Purchased: Winter Coat", you could follow up with messages about winter accessories.
Tracking events by name allows you to better understand user behavior and create effective segments. Segmentation in messaging campaigns provides more relevant messages that resonate with the recipient, increasing the chances of engagement, conversion, and ultimately, revenue.
What is event metadata?
Events also carry associated metadata which can help you get even more specific in your business processes.
Sticking to the concept of segmentation, imagine you wanted to not only segment on a purchase event, but also by which users triggered a purchase event on your mobile app in Los Angeles last month. Guess what? You can do that!
Common types of metadata associated with events include:
- User: User ID or other identifiers that can help you track the actions of individual users or user groups. It might also include demographic information that can provide deeper insight into user behavior.
- Time: Timestamp of when the event occurred. This can be useful for understanding user behavior patterns over time or at specific times of the day, week, or year.
- Platform: Whether the event occurred on a website, in a mobile app, or offline.
- Device: Whether a user is using a mobile device or a desktop computer, what operating system they have, and which browser they use.
- Attribution: Source or campaign that led the user to perform the event. Includes marketing channels (like email, social media, or organic search), specific marketing campaigns, and individual ads.
- Location: Depending on privacy settings and permissions, event tracking may also include geographical information.
How does this equate to revenue growth?
Tracking events allows you to improve user experiences and marketing strategies. It can reveal popular features, areas of high engagement, and bottlenecks where users drop off.
It's also at the core of segmentation, which gives you the power to present users with content/products aligned with their interests, increasing the likelihood of conversion and decreasing churn.
Lastly, event tracking can help you optimize marketing spend by providing insights into which marketing channels/strategies are delivering great ROI. This means you can allocate resources to what's working and eliminate what isn't.