Track File Downloads in Google Analytics

Track File Downloads in Google Analytics

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Easily Track File Downloads in Google Analytics

So you have a new eBook and you wake up one day thinking: “I want to track how many times visitors have downloaded my ebook.”  And then other thought hits you…  “And what about purchases of my Tractor Pull Bingo Worksheet on my Appalachia Al’s website?”

Let me tell you partner, MonsterInsights provides you with the ability to track your file downloads using Google Analytics.  We all know how in-depth Google Analytics can be.  Google Analytics dives so deep you would think they are drilling for oil.

Stay with me, and in just a few minutes I will show you how to track file downloads in Google Analytics.  It is my hope that after reading this you will know the type of content your users like, with the intention of using this information to increase the number of downloads of your products.

Tracking File Downloads

Do you offer downloadable resources to your visitors?  What we discuss in this short article will give you all you need to know of the downloading activity on your site.

As you may know files can’t request a tracking pixel, which is our favorite short code snippet needed to track users’ behavior.  And of course, to have automatic file downloads tracking with Google Analytics we need to do some razzling and some dazzling with the pixels and the codes and what not.  Now without our pixelated codes and such nothing is recorded in Google Analytics and the downloads are not tracked.

Enter our friends at MonsterInsights, they enable the aforementioned razzling and dazzling as we can effortlessly enable the file downloads tracking in Google Analytics and we don’t have to touch a single line of code.  I don’t know about you, but it seems that if I touch one line of code I touch 37 lines all with one single key stroke.


Alright, enough about my code crushing skills let us discuss a few of the benefits of file downloads tracking:

  • Popularity and demand for your downloadable resources.
  • Discover which products provide the most and the least amount of return.
  • Maximize your content creation efforts by focusing on popular topics.
  • Develop materials which should have the greatest impacts and downloads.

How to Track File Downloads on Your Website

Before we get too far into this topic we do have an article you will love called Track Form Conversion Sources.  Just stick a pin in that one for later as tracking form conversions will excite your inner marketer – guaranteed!

Now back to the download tracker.  To enable file downloads tracking, we must first properly set up Google analytics in WordPress using our good friend MonsterInsights.

Once the setup is complete, file downloads tracking will be enabled automatically and they will be tracked as events.  MonsterInsights being what it is will take care of all configuration and we are in business.

Just a little FYI, in Google Analytics, events tracking are what we are after.  They are used to measure user interactions with content like downloads, mobile ad clicks, video plays, and such.


Add More File Extensions to Track as Downloads

One very helpful way MonsterInsights enables you to track downloads is via file extensions: doc, pdf, ppt, zip, xls, docx, pptx, and xlsx – yes, these are the defaults and yes you can add more extentions.  Below, you can see the default extensions of files that the plugin will track.  Want to add more extensions  Add the file extentions you want to track on your website, just separate by commas.


Easy File Download Tracking in Google Analytics


It is easy to add file extensions in MonsterInsights.

Start out at Insights, click Settings, select Engagement from the top menu, scroll down to File Downloads.

Viewing File Downloads in WordPress

Once we have the tracking set up, we can view our Top Downloads report by following these steps:

Step 1: Go to Insights, then Report , and then Publishers Report.

Step 2: Simply scroll down to see your downloads.


Easy File Download Tracking in Google Analytics


Your report will then show the top download links on your site.  This information can be used as a guide to create similar content that gets you maximum downloads.  One other thing, you can use this information to modify products that isn’t meeting the needs of your consumers.

Viewing File Downloads in Google Analytics

Need to view file downloads?  No problem, it is easy.  Simply log in to your Google Analytics account and select the website where you need to track file downloads.


Easy File Download Tracking in Google Analytics


We can enable download tracking as page views or as events.

If you have already enabled downloads tracking as pageviews, then you can find out the downloads report in the All Pages report along with other blog posts and pages.

Here is how to access this report: Head over to Behaviour, then select Site Content, then click on All Pages.

If you’ve enabled downloads tracking as events, you can see the downloads data in your events report.

In your event reports, start at Behavior, then select Events in the left panel.  Now you have four different options.

  • Overview – A summary of your site’s top events data.
  • Top Events – List of events where visitors stay engaged.
  • Pages – The pages on your site where the events occur.
  • Events Flow – This shows which events are most engaging visitors


Have a look. Want a detailed report, click on Top Events.


Easy File Download Tracking in Google Analytics


Once you are ready, click downloads to get a detailed report.


Easy File Download Tracking in Google Analytics


File Downloads Tracking With MonsterInsights


When you look at the Events Report.  Here you can see that all file downloads are categorized as download.

MonsterInsights provides a real-time Analytics stats, and it is an easier way to visualize the downloads data being shown in Google Analytics.

There are several important components in every event report whether it be downloads, ad clicks, video play or any other.  Here they are:

  • Event category: As mentioned, every file download is categorized as downloads.
  • Event action: It is the full URL of the file you’d like to track.

For example: <a href=””>Download My Ebook</a>

Here, the event action is:

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

Well, there it is. This is really helpful and valuable information.

We hope that you liked our guide on how to track file downloads in Google Analytics.


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