How to Count Your Outbound Click Stats with Onclick in Google Analytics

This evening I’ve set up my side bar “Find me on” links to track outbound clicks using a javascript onclick event. I’ve set this up mainly out of a curiousity to find out how much of my traffic exits via my WordPress sidebar, and of course an interest in how this type of outbound link tracking works!

My post builds on a great article (and plugin) from Joost De Valk. His article, Checking your outbound click stats is a fantastic run through of how to use the Google Analytics “content drilldown” report to work out where you’re sending traffic (providing you’re tracking the clicks). If you’ve correctly installed his plugin, your comments, downloads, comment author link, article links and blogroll link clicks are all tracked automatically. Those outbound clicks should look like this:

content performance screen in Google Analytics

But what if, like me, you’ve created a bespoke sidebar, that isn’t quite dynamic enough to talk to a plugin like this? Basically, I’ve hard coded my sidebar links and I’d like to be able to track what exit clicks they’re generating.

Tracking your (hardcoded) sidebar link outbound clicks with a javascript onclick event

I’m going to use my “Find me on” links on the right hand side of this blog as the example. In short, I have worked through the HTML in this code and replaced the ordinary link anchor (<a href=) with the onclick event that will trigger the Google Analytics outbound link click tracking:

code example - ordinary html anchor image link

The first snippet of code is my Linkedin profile link. It’s an ordinary bit of code for an image that carries an outbound link in the HTML anchor.

Below is our next snippet. By using firebug in inspect mode, I grabbed the default onclick code from an outbound link from one of my recent articles and carefully replaced the href= url to the one I want to track. You will notice (If you look at an onclick in another article post on this blog) that I have changed the code “/outbound/article/” to “/outbound/sidebar”. This change will separate out click data coming from my sidebar – and will appear neatly in the content drilldown report above.

code example: java onclick outbound link click tracking

Finally, I need to update the first code snippet with this new onlick event. All that needs to be done here is replace the old HTML anchor link with this entire line of code:

Onclick tracking snippet intergrated with old HTML link anchor

This image link will now track just like the rest of the outbound links on my site. Take a look by inspecting the code in my sidebar with firebug. Enjoy! :-)

Srinivas Katam

Do you need help growing your business? Srinivas Katam is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Consultant with over 200 successful SEO and Social Media client engagements completed. I’ve worked with brands across the world as a digital marketing consultant to deliver revenue growth from content-focused inbound marketing campaigns. He is an Innovative Marketer who specializes in digital marketing, specifically in social media, SEO and online strategy.

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