I followed these instructions to use Google Tag Manager to track PDF downloads without having to manually add an onClick to every PDF link on our site and it is now tracking PDF downloads reliably. However, our PDFs are stored on a static asset server, not on the Drupal server, so each PDF download is also an exit. In the analytics, PDF downloads are showing up as relative to the root of the Drupal server: instead of


they show up as


Step 5 in the howto linked above doesn't appear to address this issue (or else I'm mis-reading it). How can I get analytics to recognize that these clicks lead to a different host and are not relative to the root of the main server?


1 Answer 1


In GA reports, your homepage will probably be '/', and 'www.mysite.com/page1' will come out as '/page1'.

This is because Google Analytics usually keeps the primary domain in a different dimension, 'Hostname'.

The issue here is that you're sending the Page View from one domain, and claiming that it comes from another.

In a similar manner to the 'page' and 'title' fields, you can edit the 'hostname' field in the Fields to Set area of GTM.

  • Ah, OK. After adding {{Page Hostname}} to the fields to set, looking at realtime->content, I can see now that the main server is no longer showing up in the report. However, the leading slash is. Instead of http://mainserver/http://staticserver/file.pdf, it shows /http://staticserver/file.pdf. Like you said, / is the root of the main server. Do you know of a smarter way to track PDF clicks that go to another host? The examples I've found seem to be for PDFs on the same host.
    – Riblet
    Jul 25, 2016 at 16:19
  • Are you appending anything to the page path before sending to Google Analytics?
    – J Brazier
    Jul 25, 2016 at 16:21
  • I don't believe so. It's just a UA tag with click text, click URL, and now page hostname, enabled on all pages, firing when the click URL matches \.pdf$.
    – Riblet
    Jul 25, 2016 at 16:24
  • The smarter way to do this is to split the click URL into path and hostname before you feed that information to GA.
    – J Brazier
    Jul 26, 2016 at 9:27
  • The page has native variables for hostname and path, but click only seems to have a unitary variable for ClickURL. Presumably I can put some custom code in to parse ClickURL into the two variables - where would I put that? What would I need to do to ensure that GA receives and understands what the values I'm passing it mean?
    – Riblet
    Jul 26, 2016 at 15:54

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