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I have been given a project document that outlines a huge amount of event tracking through Google Analytics.

It has things like:

  • Carousel navigation events
  • jQuery tab clicks
  • Random link clicks
  • Menu navigation clicks
  • Flash control clicks
  • onBlur for all fields in all forms

My question is: When is it too much? What are the disadvantages (or maybe advantages?) of this? Someone has obviously decided this was fine .. what would their reasoning be? Are there any client-side performance issues?

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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The more analytics data you collect, the more data there is to wade through. This isn't necessarily a problem in and of itself if you know how to sift through the large quantity of data and pull actionable insights from it (i.e. visualization, querying and drilling down through the data, summarizing the data with pivot tables, etc.), however having too much data can present performance problems.

With GA, you don't necessarily need to worry about the performance of your analytics software directly, since it's Google's servers that are doing the data collection and running the data analyses. However, the free edition of GA has some limitations (naturally):

Events Per Session Limit

In addition to general collection limits and quotas, the following limit applies to event tracking in ga.js:

  • The first 10 event hits sent to Google Analytics are tracked immediately, thereafter tracking is rate limited to one event hit per second.

As the number of events in a session approaches the collection limit, additional events might not be tracked. For this reason, you should:

  • avoid scripting a video to send an event for every second played and other highly repetitive event triggers
  • avoid excessive mouse movement tracking
  • avoid time-lapse mechanisms that generate high event counts

(Emphasis mine)

Source: Event Tracking - Web Tracking (ga.js) - Google Analytics — Google Developers

Now, if your client/employer is paying $150k/year for Google Analytics Premium, then you'll have a higher collection quota as well as being able to exceed the GA reporting API request quota of 10k requests per profile per day & 10 concurrent requests per profile.

But overall, I think you should be alright with the custom events you have listed. Even combined, they shouldn't exceed 1 event per second.

Edit: Prasad provides this link, which has much better info on the data collection quotas, including a 500 event limit per session as he mentioned.

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It sounds as if it is actually designed to be hit this much.. I didnt realise it was. Thanks for the info! –  Simon Whitehead Feb 8 '13 at 10:18
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There also is a 500 events per session limit listed here - developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/gajs/… But broadly what Lese is saying makes sense. You should go ahead and implement this mother of a site and see what kind of data you are getting in the GA Events Dashboard. –  Prasad Feb 8 '13 at 12:15
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