How to Decide What Events to Track (+15 Examples)
To effectively create your product analytics strategy, you must create an event-tracking framework that works for you.
That means identifying core questions about your product and its users, setting up your event tracking correctly, understanding basic principles and components of event data, and knowing how to read and analyze these events to answer important product and user-related questions.
By tracking the right events for your product, you can answer critical user engagement and flow questions, identify and improve user friction areas, and create better, data-driven product experiences that enable your users to realize your product’s benefits and create better outcomes.
In this article, we’ll cover some primary event setup considerations to remember, share examples of the most critical events that all product teams should be tracking, and walk you through a handful of how to identify what events you need to track and how to implement that event tracking plan.
The Importance of Event Naming
Naming your events is a critical step in maintaining the integrity of your data and helps product teams scale their product analytics and data collection efforts.
Consider your naming convention and create a taxonomy that allows you to sift through your data, identify good and bad data, and standardize your data naming. You need to consider not only the names, but the format and letter stylings of your event naming convention (ie. if you’re going to use lowercase, Title Case, snake_case, etc.)
Client-Side vs Server-Side Events
There are two categories of events: client-side events and server-side events.
- Client-side events (also called front-end events) are page views and button clicks captured on the client side. These events don’t rely on any database interactions or back-end processes. A client-side event is triggered by a tag (like a UTM) and is sent directly from the client to a tag manager. Client-side events rely on cookies and may sometimes slow down your website performance.
- Server-side events (also called back-end events) are events that take place when a web server and a database interaction occurs. Server-side events can replicate client-side events like a page session, but only server-side events can send things such as payment complete. Server-side events are more customizable, secure, and reliable than client-side events. Server-sider events, however typically require more technical, manual work and development resources.
It’s important to know the difference between these two event types during the implementation process – as the configuration and development process to implement each type of tracking typically is owned by different teams.
Types of Event Interactions
Your events can be categorized by three types of action a user performs – a page view, a button click, or a process completed – all depending on the use case of your event. An event can be tracked as any three of these event types and can also be tracked as multiple types.
For example, a user clicks your products refer a friend button and views your referral page. This event can be tracked as a button click or a pageview.
Next is a form field where a user must type in their referral’s email address. If the email address is in the correct format, the submission is recorded in your products database as a new referral and the process is complete.
1. Page viewed
This is a product feature or website page viewed. You want to create a generic Paged Viewed event to track page views that collects information on the user, similar to how Google Analytics tracks page views.
Your page viewed event should include the following event properties:
|Event Name||Event Property||Data Type||Expected Value|
|Page Viewed||device_type||Enum||Desktop, mobile, tablet|
|platform_type||Enum||Android, iOS, web|
|page_name||String||Custom value (page name)|
|utm_source||String||Custom value (where user came from)|
|page_session_length||Number||Time spent on page|
2. Button clicked
Similarly to how we’ve set up page views, you’ll want to set up button clicks with a generic event Button Clicked. Here you can see what event properties to associate with your Button Clicked event:
|Event Name||Event Property||Data Type||Expected Value|
|Button Clicked||device_type||Enum||Desktop, mobile, tablet|
|platform_type||Enum||Android, iOS, web|
3. Process completed
The final type of event is where a process happens as a result of a database interaction where new data is recorded or retrieved. The process is only completed if an interaction is successfully completed.
Why would you need to create a process complete event over a button click or page view? Let’s look at a few examples:
- User signs up for product but doesn’t verify email. If you recorded sign ups only when a user clicks the “sign-up” button, you’ll count all the users who never verified their email (ie. never used the product.)
- User clicks “sign-up” button but failed to fill in all required fields.
In both of these events, a user failed to complete the necessary steps to complete a process – but successfully clicked a button.
19 Examples of Common Events & Their Properties
- User sign-up: Tracks when a new user signs up for your product.
- Email verified: Tracks when a new user verifies their account email.
- User login: Tracks when a user logins to your product.
- User logout: Tracks when a user logs out of your product.
- Pageview: Tracks when a user views a page on your website or app.
- Click: Tracks when a user clicks on a button, link, or other elements on your website or app.
- Form submission: Tracks when a user submits a form on your website or app.
- Purchase: Tracks when a user makes a purchase on your website or app.
- Cart abandonment: Tracks when a user adds an item to their cart but does not complete the purchase.
- Search: Tracks when a user searches on your website or app.
- Video play: Tracks when a user starts playing a video on your website or app.
- Error: Tracks when an error occurs, such as a broken link or a page not loading correctly.
- Feature usage: Tracks when a user uses a specific feature on your website or app.
- Session time: Tracks a user’s time using your product during a session.
- User dropoff: Tracks the page when users drop off or leave the product.
- Session start/end: Tracks when a user starts and ends a session on your website or app.
- Invite sent: Tracks when a user sends a referral invitation to another user.
- Churned: Tracks when a customer or user churns.
- Feedback submitted: Tracks when a user provides feedback through a survey or other feedback mechanism.
To understand how we would set this up, let’s break down a few of these events to see their associate event properties and data type:
|Event Name||Event Property||Data Type|
How to Decide Events to Track & Get Started
Now that you understand the principles of event data and their associated properties, it’s time to choose what events you need or wants to track.
You may already have specific questions, interactions, or events you want to answer or analyze with event data, but by following these steps you’ll be able to create a comprehensive approach to creating your event tracking strategy.
1. List out all product and user-related questions you want to analyze
First, start by listing your burning questions to help provide direction with what data and events you need to capture.
Burning questions are the questions you want to know about your customers, users, and their product usage. This can be simple questions such as, “how many users have logged in this week” or “how many orders were placed last month” – or can be more complex and specific such as “how many repeat users used a promo code more than once this year”.
Examples of burning questions for your product include product adoption KPIs, benchmarks, growth trends, sales metrics, and more, such as:
- How can I increase sign-ups?
- How can I reduce customer churn?
- What is my product’s time-to-value?
- How long does it take my users to find value?
- What are the user flows and paths post sign-up?
- Where (and why) are users churning?
- What features are most used?
- What features convert freemium users to paid users?
- What features are least used?
- Where are friction points in my user flows?
- What landing pages are driving the most sign-ups?
2. Identify actions and data signals that answer these burning questions
Next, we can start to think about what actions and events could potentially act as a signal for answering these questions. After listing out your burning questions, you and your product team should brainstorm a few of the following actions and connect potential data signals that answer those questions:
|Actions a user takes to sign up for a product.|
|Actions a user takes to complete user onboarding.|
|Actions users take to realize a product’s value or their “aha!” moment.|
|Actions that signal user dropoff or friction points.|
|Actions that signal high product adoption.|
|Actions that signal potential risk of customer churn.|
The idea here is to take real-life situations for your product and further explore the various stages that event data can help shed light on.
3. Convert questions and signals into data events and properties
Now that you have your product questions and data signals that suggest an action has been taken that provides answers to those questions, you can convert those signals into data events and event properties.
For example, let’s look at the data signals for “actions a user takes that experienced their “aha!” moment”.
|Action/Burning Question||Data Signal||Event Name||Event Properties|
What are the actions a user takes to complete user onboarding successfully?
How successful is my onboarding flow?
|Signed up||Signed Up||signed_up|
|Verified email||Email Verified||email_verified|
|Watched welcome video||Viewed Welcome Video||welcome_video_view|
|Finished product tour||Finished Product Tour||product_tour_success|
|Used email design editor feature||Used Email Editor||feature_use_email_editor|
This allows product teams to create user journey flows to understand overall conversion and identify where users are dropping off or experiencing friction that is negatively impacting the success rate of your core product actions.
4. Implement a product analytics and event tracking tool
Your developers and engineering team can create, define, and manage your event tracking code and logic – but this:
- Relies heavily on engineering resources and developer support to implement, manage, update, and monitor.
- Is time-consuming to plan and implement as it requires going through a requirements and development phase with engineering.
An alternative that most B2B SaaS, consumer applications, and online web applications use is an auto-capture, no-code implementation product analytics tool.
These SaaS platforms allow product teams to insert a code snippet into a product or website that auto-captures all user events. This allows product teams to be agile with what they’re tracking, implement an analytics strategy quickly, make updates themselves, and take full control of product experimentation and user testing.
With a no-code product analytics tool, you can quickly start monitoring and analyzing the key events and actions that help you answer core product questions, and improve your overall product experience.
Analyze user behavior and track product usage with Whatfix Analytics
Enable your product managers to easily track and analyze user behavior and product usage with Whatfix Analytics, a no-code event tracking solution. With Whatfix Analytics, capture all user actions without engineering support, understand product usage, identify dropoff areas, understand feature adoption, map user journeys, build user cohorts, and make data-driven product decisions.
5. Analyze, iterate, and deliver better user experiences and products
Finally, it’s time to start analyzing the data you’ve captured to unlock key insights, product friction areas, poor user flows, and more. This will allow you to understand better your user journey, adoption, and current state of your product.
With the insights you’ve uncovered, you can start to ideate how you will address key product issues or improve on friction areas.
With Whatfix, you can track your product analytics and event data, and its no-code digital adoption platform empowers product managers to create in-app guidance, interactive flows, user journeys, and self-help content to address issues.
Examples of ways to address product friction points and flow issues include:
- Users not achieving their “aha!” moment? Create an interactive flow that walks users step-by-step through your core process to help them realize your product’s full potential.
- Is your user onboarding process not effective? Create segmented product tours and task lists that provides cohorts of customers or users with role-based guided onboarding.
- Experiencing poor feature adoption? Drive awareness with in-app pop-ups and beacons that draw users’ attention to the underutilized feature.
- Have a high volume of incoming customer support tickets? Create an in-app self-help wiki featuring documentation, in-app flows, and third-party links that answer common product questions, right inside your application
At the end of the day, event tracking is a technical project that requires a great deal of planning, nuance, critical thinking, debate, brainstorming, and questioning. You know your product the best, what its current issues are, and its user friction points.
Product managers for any type of product – whether that is a B2B SaaS platform, a consumer mobile app, or a website or web app – need the infrastructure and technology that enables them to capture and analyze event data without the need for engineering support or technical expertise.
With Whatfix, product managers are empowered with a codeless product analytics tool to quickly start collecting user actions and events, and then analyze them with pre-built reports such as trend insights, funnel insights, user flows, dashboards, and cohorts.
What makes Whatfix unique is that it empowers product managers to take an actionable next step, by creating, experimenting, and launching new in-app experiences such as product tours, step-by-step walkthroughs, task lists, tooltips, self-help wikis, field validations, and more – all with a no-code editor that can build branded, native-appearing user experiences, tutorials, messages, pop-ups, and screens.