How to Track File Downloads in Google Analytics 4

How to Track Downloads in Google Analytics + WordPress

Want to track downloads of your eBook, PDF, or any other files on your WordPress website in Google Analytics?

When you set up GA4 file download tracking for WordPress, you can see which of your files are being downloaded and when.

In this post, we’ll show you how to track file downloads on your WordPress website with MonsterInsights and Google Analytics. Then, you can use that data to improve your marketing campaigns and your website.

Start Tracking File Downloads Today!

MonsterInsights is the best WordPress Analytics plugin. Get it for free!

Can Google Analytics Track Downloads?

GA4 does have built-in file download event tracking. However, even though you can turn on download tracking, it’s difficult for many users to figure out how those downloads are reported, and where to find that data.

If you do turn on file download tracking, Google Analytics will report those numbers for you in their Events report, which looks something like this:

GA4 Event Reporting

Looking for an easier, faster, better way to see how many users are clicking the download links on your WordPress site?

With MonsterInsights, you can easily start tracking downloads in Google Analytics without having to touch a single line of code or deal with confusing reports.

A few benefits tracking file downloads are:

  • Discover how popular your downloadable resources are
  • Find out which content type you should offer for download more often and which one is a waste of your time
  • Save your time and money by only producing the downloads your audience actually wants
  • Get your data in a super easy-to-read report in your WordPress dashboard

Now let’s take a look at how you can start to track file downloads.

Download Tracking Video Tutorial

How to Track WordPress File Downloads in GA4

  1. Install and Activate MonsterInsights
  2. Sign Up for Google Analytics & Connect to MonsterInsights
  3. Add File Extensions to Track as Downloads
  4. View File Downloads in WordPress
  5. View File Downloads in Google Analytics

The easiest way of tracking file downloads in Google Analytics is by using a WordPress plugin. MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics WordPress plugin, and it makes it very easy to see which files people like to download the most.

Step 1: Install and Activate MonsterInsights

First, you need to download and install MonsterInsights on your WordPress website. You can find the setup file in your account area under the Downloads tab.

download monsterinsights

Next, you’ll have to upload the plugin to your WordPress website. To do that, go to your WordPress admin area and navigate to Plugins » Add New » Upload Plugin.

After that, choose the MonsterInsights file you just downloaded and click the Install Now button.

upload plugin in wordpress

Now activate MonsterInsights by clicking the Activate Plugin button.

activate monsterinsights

Step 2: Sign Up for Google Analytics & Connect to MonsterInsights

Next, you will have to connect Google Analytics to your WordPress website using MonsterInsights.

Before you do that, you’ll need to sign up for a Google Analytics account if you don’t have one already.

After creating an analytics account, you can use MonsterInsights to add the tracking code to your website. The plugin makes it super easy to set up Google Analytics, and you don’t have to touch a single line of code.

Allow Google Analytics Permissions

For more details, refer to our guide on how to set up Google Analytics in WordPress using MonsterInsights.

After the setup, MonsterInsights will enable file download tracking automatically, and downloads will be tracked as events. The best part is that you don’t have to do any further configuration, as MonsterInsights will take care of it.

Step 3: Add More File Extensions to Track as Downloads

If you’d like, you can add more file extensions to track in MonsterInsights.

By default, MonsterInsights tracks downloads of the following file extensions: doc, pdf, ppt, zip, xls, docx, pptx, and xlsx. But you can add more extensions if there are more that you want to track.

To add file extensions in MonsterInsights, go to Insights and then click Settings. Then select Engagement from the top menu and scroll down to File Downloads.


Here you can see the default extensions of files that the plugin will track. Add more extensions that you want to track on your website (separated by commas).

Step 4: View File Downloads in WordPress

Now that your tracking is set up, you’ll be able to start seeing file download reports in WordPress.

To see the report, navigate to Insights » Reports » Publishers and scroll down to see the Top Download Links.

The report will then show you the top download links on your site. You can then use the data to create similar content that gets you the most downloads.

You can also use the data to help you choose content to repurpose.

How to View File Downloads in Google Analytics

To view your file download data in GA4, you’ll want to create a custom explore report.

Need to know how to create a custom report? Check out How to Create Google Analytics 4 Custom Reports (Step by Step).

First, click the plus sign in the Dimensions box and import the following dimensions:

  • File name
  • Link text
  • Page location
  • Event name

Once those are imported, go ahead and drag File name, Link text, and Page location over to the Rows box:

Track file downloads in GA4 - step 1

Now, click the plus sign in the Metrics box and add Event count. Click and drag it over to the Values box:

GA4 file download report - step 2

Finally, click and drag Event name from Dimensions down into the Filters box. Choose exactly matches and input file_download, then click Apply.

GA4 file download tracking step 3

That’s it! You now have a GA4 file downloads report that shows which files were downloaded, what the link text was, and what page the download was on.

Google Analytics download tracking report

How to Track Downloads in Google Analytics FAQ

Do I need Google Tag Manager to track downloads?

Nope. Just install MonsterInsights to avoid any confusing download tracking setup in Google Tag Manager.

How do I track PDF downloads in Analytics?

Simply install MonsterInsights! It will track PDF downloads automatically.

Can you track link clicks in PDF documents?

Yes. You’ll just need to use campaigns.

Can I use event tracking to track downloads in Google Analytics?

Yes you can, although it’s more complicated than installing MonsterInsights. For instructions, read How to Set Up Google Analytics Event Tracking in WordPress.

Start Tracking File Downloads Today!

That’s it!

We hope that you liked our guide on how to track file downloads in WordPress and Google Analytics. If you want, you can also check out our article on how to track links and button clicks in Google Analytics.

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  1. Hi there! You have to have the paid version to track these downloads though, correct? I have the free version and I can’t see anything other than what is under the “overview” heading (like sessions, page views, bounce rate). Please verify! Thank you!

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