Event-based data is an incredibly useful tool and can provide a much clearer picture of your customer journey if you have the time and skills to utilize it.
To understand exactly why it can be better, you need to know what came before:
The old way of using analytics was to collect user data based on sessions, which is a group of user interactions with your website that takes place within a given time frame. A single user can open multiple sessions, which can happen on the same day, or occur over several days, weeks, or months.
Sessions end in two ways:
After 30 minutes of inactivity or when the clock strikes midnight.
If a user arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then re-enters via a different campaign.
What Is Tracked With Session-Based Data?
Session-Based Data tracks user flow based on single visits, data like:
- Site visits
- Bounce rate (users visiting a page and leaving without an action)
- Conversion tracking
- What pages the user visited
- What page they exited
Session-based data had two things going for it: it was simple and easy to understand.
You could manually set up event-based data collection, but many people just didn’t bother.
Working alongside session-based data, event-based data are all interactions a user makes on your website, including:
- Button clicks
- Link clicks
- Form submissions
- Video plays
- Watch time
- File downloads
- And more
Event-based data is not limited by time, so session counts are often lower, but much more detailed.
One important thing to understand is that you could actually create events to track with session-based data, but they had to be done manually, and we’re always limited to the session itself.
The Learning Curve
While event-based data analytics can be incredibly useful, it is a different beast than session-based data. It requires more time and skill for it to be effective, but it rewards the effort you put into it.
Setting up and updating events to obtain data is both time-consuming and necessary, and the data itself also requires more time and knowledge to analyze properly.
Commitment Isn’t The Only Option
With Google deciding to sunset Universal Analytics in 2024, you won’t have a choice whether or not to start collecting event-based data if you use Google Analytics. However, there are two pieces of good news for you:
- If you created an account after Oct 2020, you’re likely already using Google Analytics 4, which already uses event-based data.
- Google Analytics 4 also includes a host of AI and machine learning tools built in. This can make analyzing data and creating useful, actionable insights a lot easier.
Event-based data is highly targeted, so it requires more commitment to customize and maximize its effectiveness (like setting up exactly what counts as a conversion). So, your third option is to go all in and dedicate yourself (or hire someone) to get the most out of this incredibly useful tool.