Originally published May 1st, 2017.
Updated June 20th, 2020

Yep, it sure can. Google Analytics can track link clicks but not without a little customization, first. Let us show you how.

How to track Link Clicks with Google Analytics

Custom Events

To track link clicks in Google Analytics you’ll need to set up custom events. There are a few ways though:

Hot Elements

Event tracking simply applies a hot element on the page and whenever a user clicks on that element, it sends a signal to Google Analytics. This is helpful for tracking:

  • File Downloads
  • Video¬†Engagement
  • External Link Clicks
  • Internal Link Clicks
  • Email Link Clicks

Additionally, when setting up event tracking you will be able to add categories, actions, labels to see specific link information or high-level link click information.

Tracking Link Clicks with Event Tracking vs Virtual Pageviews

You are also able to use virtual pageviews to track link clicks however, this technique may cause problems elsewhere. One of the more common problems is skewing content report data. If you track link clicks with virtual pageviews, then your content reports will show more pages on your site than there actually are.

Viewing your Link Clicking Data

Once logged into Google Analytics, navigate to Behavior > Events > Overview

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There you will be able to view your event categories.

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Click on the category “Links” and select event label and there you will be able to see the specific links clicked on your website. Additionally, by collecting this data you will be able to create custom segments in Google Analytics to view the behavior of these audience members if needed.

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Tracking Specific External Link Clicks

To track specific external link clicks (like a social media profile, partner link, or reference article) we recommend Google Tag Manager Event Tracking. Google Tag Manager allows you to create unique click “variables” and “triggers” to pull in the “click url” to your Google Analytics event field dynamically. Here’s an example of what an External Link Click event could look like in Tag Manager with a trigger example as well:

External Link Click Tag

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External Link Click Trigger

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