How to Track File Downloads in Google Analytics (The Easy Way)

Want to track how many times visitors download your ebook or any other files? MonsterInsights lets you accurately track your file downloads with Google Analytics. In this post, we’ll show you how to properly track file downloads in Google Analytics.

Why Should You Track File Downloads?

If you’re offering downloadable resources to your visitors, you’ll need to know if they’re actually downloading them. Out of the box, Google Analytics doesn’t support file downloads tracking because those files can’t request a tracking pixel. Due to the fact, nothing is recorded in Analytics’ database and downloads aren’t tracked.

With the MonsterInsights plugin, you can easily enable file downloads tracking in Google Analytics without having to touch a single line of code.

A few benefits of file downloads tracking are:

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  • You can discover how popular your downloadable resources are.
  • You can determine which you should offer more of – and which one is a waste of your time.
  • You can save your time and money by only producing the downloads your audience actually wants.

Prerequisites to Properly Track File downloads:

  • The PDF is not linked to directly from an email program — rather the customer will need to click to a webpage that loads MonsterInsights, and on that page click the link so MonsterInsights can track the click.
  • The domain of the PDF link need to be the same as the domain the user is on (or a subdomain). PDFs on external domains (such as Amazon S3) will be seen by the tracker as external link clicks.

How to Track File Downloads on Your Website

To enable file downloads tracking, the first thing you need to do is to properly set up Google Analytics in WordPress using MonsterInsights. After the setup, file downloads tracking will be enabled automatically without any further configuration.

File downloads will be tracked as events.

In Google Analytics, events tracking are used to measure user interactions with content like downloads, mobile ad clicks, video plays, etc.

Add More File Extensions to Track as Downloads

By default, MonsterInsights lets you track downloads of the following file extensions: doc, exe, js, pdf, ppt, tgz, zip, xls.

To track downloads of more file extensions, you just need to add it to the Extensions of files to track as downloads field, separated by a comma.

download tracking

Then, click Save.

How to View File Downloads in WordPress

Prerequisites: To view file downloads in WordPress, you’ll need to have the Plus level tier or higher of MonsterInsights.

Step 1: Then, navigate to Insights » Report » Publishers Report.

Step 2: Scroll down to see your downloads.

Downloads Panel in MonsterInsights Publishers Report

How to View File Downloads in Google Analytics

To view file downloads, log in to your Google Analytics account and select the website where you’d like to track file downloads.

click on google analytics view

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

This report can be accessed by navigating to Behaviour » Site Content » All Pages.

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

In your event reports, navigate to Behavior » Events in the left panel. You’ll now see four different options.

  • Overview: It gives you a summary of top events data of your site
  • Top Events: It shows you a list of events that keep your visitors engaged on your site
  • Pages: It shows you a list of pages in which your downloadable resource is hosted. In other words, it is a list of posts and pages where the events occur on your site.
  • Events Flow: The events flow report helps you discover which events keep your visitors engaged with your site. It also visualizes the path users take from one popular event to another.

To get a detailed report, click on Top Events.


Then, click downloads to get a detailed report.

downloads tracking in events report

The Anatomy of File Downloads Tracking With MonsterInsights

In your events report, you can see that all file downloads are being categorized as download.

For example, take a look at the file downloads tracking report in Google Analytics below.

event category download

It is a screenshot of real-time Analytics stats, so you can figure out how downloads data are being shown in Google Analytics.

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

  • Event category: As mentioned, every file downloads 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.

That’s it!

We hope this guide helped you to track and view file downloads in Google Analytics.

If you’re looking to boost the number of downloads, you might want to promote your downloadable resources in your high converting posts and pages. You can learn how to identify your high converting landing pages in Google Analytics. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more Google Analytics tutorials.

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