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How to track file downloads in WordPress using Google Analytics

It is a known fact that Google Analytics doesn’t track files out of the box. But with some additional work from our end, we can make it work. In this article, I will show you how to properly track file downloads on WordPress using Google Analytics.

But before that, let’s see why you must track file downloads on your site.

Why you should track file downloads

Tracking file downloads on your site helps you understand which file downloads are performing the best and which file types are the most downloaded on your site.

For example, let’s assume that you are running an educational resource site. Tracking file downloads can help you find which subject eBooks are being downloaded the most and what type of resource the students are interested in downloading (PDF, DOC, or PPT files). It’ll also give you more insights into their studies pattern.

How to track file downloads on your site

The trick is to make Google Analytics record file downloads as events on your site. We can do this by logging an event whenever someone clicks on the download links on your site. The simplest way to do that is by installing MonsterInsights on your site.

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It can help you track not only file downloads but also forms, AMP pages, and affiliate links. You can read more about it in my MonsterInsights review. Get MonsterInsights from the link below πŸ‘‡

Download MonsterInsights Now

(Comes with 14 days money-back guarantee)

NOTE: If you don’t need all the powerful analytics features offered by MonsterInsights Pro, you can install the lite version of the plugin.

Here are the step by step instructions for you to install MonsterInsights, enable file tracking, and view the tracking reports either from your WordPress dashboard or from your Google Analytics account.

Total Time: 15 minutes

Install and activate MonsterInsights

Go to the ‘Add New’ plugins section on your site, search for MonsterInsights, install and activate the plugin. If you had purchased the Pro version of the plugin, you can download the pro version from your MonsterInsights account and upload it to your website manually.install and activate monsterinsights

Configure MonsterInsights

Set up MonsterInsights on your WordPress site by following the MonsterInsights installation guide.configure monsterinsights wordpress plugin

Enable File Downloads Tracking

By default, MonsterInsights will now start tracking all file downloads on your website automatically. To configure MonsterInsights to track only the file extensions you want, click on the Engagement tab on MonsterInsights Settings page and scroll down to the File Tracking option. Over there, enter the file extensions you need to track as downloads separated by a comma (ex: doc, pdf, ppt).monsterinsights file tracking configuration

View tracking report from the dashboard

NOTE: To view the file tracking report from your WordPress dashboard, you need to be on one of their paid plans (MonsterInsights Plus or above).

Now, navigate to Insights –> Report –> Publishers Report and scroll down to view your download report.downloads panel in monsterinsights publishers report

View tracking reports on Google Analytics

If you are tracking file downloads as page views, you can access the reports by navigating to Behaviour –> Site Content –> All Pages. Or if you’re tracking downloads as events (recommended), you can see the downloads data in your events report (Behavior –> Events).file download tracking in google analytics

View real-time data

You can also view the file download events in real-time from your Google Analytics dashboard. Make sure you choose ‘download’ as your event category to view them specifically.view download events on google analytics in real time

That’s it. You have now successfully configured Google Analytics on your WordPress site to track file downloads.

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