How to track file downloads in Google Analytics

Do you want to know how many times each visitor downloads your ebook or any other file on your website?

MonsterInsights will allow you to accurately track file downloads with the help of Google Analytics. In this post, we will show you how to track file downloads through Google Analytics. At the end of the blog post, you will be able to know which type of content your users like so you can increase its download capacity.

Why Should You Track File Downloads?

If you are offering downloadable resources on your website, you need to know if it is actually being downloaded. Although, Google Analytics doesn’t support file downloads tracking automatically because files can’t request a tracking pixel (a short code snippet needed to track user’s behavior).

This means nothing is recorded in Google Analytics and downloads aren’t tracked.

But this is where MonsterInsights comes in, it will allow you to easily enable file downloads tracking in Google Analytics without touching a single line of code.

Benefits of file download are: 

  1. Knowing how popular your downloadable resources are.
  2. Finding out which type of content you should offer more and which is a time-waster.
  3. Only producing downloads that your audience want saving both time and money

Now, let’s see how we can actually have all these benefits on your WordPress website

How to Track File Downloads on Your Website

You need to first set up Google Analytics in WordPress using MonsterInsights to enable file download tracking.

After that is done, file downloads tracking as events will be enabled automatically. The good news is you don’t have to do any further configuration as MonsterInsights will do that for you.

In Google Analytics, events tracking is used to measure user interactions with content like downloads, mobile ad clicks, video plays, etc.

Add More File Extensions to Track as Downloads

MonsterInsights allows you to track downloads of the following file type by default: doc, pdf, ppt, zip, Xls, Docx, Pptx, and Xlsx. But, you can also track more extensions that you want to track.

To do that, go to Insights and click on Settings. Select Engagement from the top menu and scroll down to File Downloads.

On the upper image, you can see the default extension of files the plugin will track. You can add more extensions that you want to track your site, separated by commas obviously.

How to View File Downloads in WordPress

If you want to view file downloads, sign into your Google Analytics account, and select the website where you would like to track file downloads.

If you have allowed downloads tracking as pageviews, you will be able to find the download reports in the All Pages report with other blog posts and pages. You can access this report by going to Behaviour » Site Content » All Pages.

If you have enabled downloads tracking events, you will be able to see the download data in your events report.

In your even reports, go to Behavior » Events in the left panel. You will now see four different options:

  • Overview: This gives you a summary of the top events of data of your sight.
  • Top Events: This option will show you a list of events that keep your visitors engaged on your site.
  • Pages: This shows you a list of pages where your download resource is hosted. Basically, it is a list of posts and pages where the events occur on your site.
  • Events Flow: The events flow report allows you to see the events that keep your visitors engaged in your site. It also puts in the picture the journey people take to go from one event to another.

If you want a detailed report, click on Top Events:

Next, click on downloads to get a detailed report:

The Anatomy of File Downloads Tracking With MonsterInsights

In your events report, you will be able to see that all file downloads are categorized as download.

For example, take a look at the file downloads tracking report in Google Analytics:

The above is a screenshot of Analytic stats in real-time, this will help you in knowing how downloads data is shown in Google Analytics.

There are also many crucial elements in every event report whether it is downloads, ad clicks, video play, or any other. They are:

  • Event Category: As mentioned above, every file download is shown as downloads.
  • Event Action: It is the complete URL of the file you want to track. For example:

<a href=”http://example.com/my-ebook.pdf”>Download My Ebook</a>

In the above URL, the file action is http://example.com/my-ebook.pdf

  • Event Label: It is the label of a href attribute. In the above example, the event label is Download My Ebook.

I hope you found our guide helpful on how you can track file downloads in Google Analytics!

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