Recommended Events in GA4

by Napkyn

Google Analytics 4 has been a game-changer for marketers seeking better insight into their target audience and to create better-organized marketing campaigns. One of the biggest differences between GA4 and its earlier iteration is its use of event-based data models. This approach allows you greater flexibility when it comes to events. 

GA4 currently offers four types of events, one of which is “Recommended Events”. Such events are recommended to users based on their needs. This guide will explore the different event types in GA4 and discuss why recommended events are important for businesses.

Overview of Events in GA4

Google Analytics treats events differently from Universal Analytics. The latter platform tracks each individual action performed on a webpage or through mobile apps. Google Analytics 4’s events-based data model collects and sends information on everything as events. This means it goes far beyond tracking just interactions. Marketers will find this events-based data model more useful because it offers them a wide array of data with only a few restrictions on what can’t be collected.

Universal Analytics was generally tedious to use because users were required to set up event tracking individually. GA4 is much faster to use because it collects a wide variety of data and sends it as reports by default. This includes data on page views, user engagement, and outbound clicks.

Universal Analytics sends event data as “hits” and faces many restrictions on the types of hits users are allowed to send. GA4 does away with this “hit” model in favor of events which feature far less restrictions.

Recommended Events

As mentioned earlier, recommended events are one of four event categories in GA4. The other three are enhanced measurement events, automatically collected events, and custom events. This means users have many different types of events to choose from depending on their needs. 

Automatically collected events are usually triggered through simple interactions such as clicking or viewing an ad. The enhanced measurement event feature allows users to have more events without having to configure Google Tag manager. Custom events are events with names and parameters that can be customized. This allows users to collect specific types of information relevant to them.

Recommended events, on the other hand, are events that Google provides automatically based on your needs. Adding recommended events to your website or mobile app helps you measure additional features and behaviour as well as generate more useful reports. They differ from automatic events because they require additional context to be meaningful. Sending recommended events with their prescribed parameters allows you to get more detailed reports and to benefit from future features and integrations as they become available in GA4  Recommended Events List

Google has released the following recommended events for different property types:

Recommended Events for All Properties

These events are usually recommended for a general type of implementation. In other words, they fit into most of the cases and can be re-used for other purposes as well.

EventTriggered When
ad_impressionThe user views an ad impression through an app
join_groupThe user has entered a group for the purpose of measuring the group’s popularity
earn_virtual _currencyThe user has earned virtual currency such as tokens, coins, or gems.
spend_virtual_currencyThe user has spent virtual currency such as tokens, coins, or gems.
loginThe user has logged in
refundThe user has received a refund
purchaseThe user has made a purchase
searchThe user has searched for content on your website
select_contentThe user has selected content
sign_upThe user has signed up to measure each sign-up method’s popularity
tutorial_beginThe user has started a tutorial
tutorial_completeThe user has completed a tutorial

Recommended Events for Online Sales

These events are recommended if you’re looking to measure sales on your site or app. They can also be re-used for other cases such as Education, real estate or travel. It’s important to follow the Online Sales structure because these events will populate the Ecommerce purchase report in GA4; where regular events would not.

EventTriggered When
add_payment_infoThe user has submitted their payment information
add_shipping_infoThe user has submitted their shipping information
add_to_wishlistThe user has added items to their wishlist
add_to_cartThe user has added items to their cart
begin_checkoutThe user has begun the checkout process
generate_leadThe user has submitted a form or requested information
purchaseThe user has completed a purchase
refundThe user has received a refund
remove_from_cartThe user has removed items from their cart
select_itemThe user has selected an item from a list
select_promotionThe user has selected a promotion
view_cartThe user has viewed their cart
view_itemThe user has viewed an item
view_item_listThe user has seen a list of items or offerings
view_promotionThe user has viewed a promotion

Recommended Events for Games

General events recommended for game cases. Just like the Ecommerce ones, these will populate the Games Report in GA4; where regular events will not.

EventTriggered When
earn_virtual_currencyThe user has earned virtual currency such as tokens, coins, or gems.
join_groupThe user has entered a group for the purpose of measuring the group’s popularity
level_endThe user has completed a level in the game
level_startThe user has started a new level in the game
level_upThe user has leveled-up in the game
post_scoreThe user has posted their score
select_contentThe user has selected content
spend_virtual_currencyThe user has spent virtual currency such as tokens, coins, or gems.
tutorial_beginThe user has started a tutorial
tutorial_completeThe user has completed a tutorial
unlock_achievementThe user has unlocked an achievement

What if I don’t get a Case Mentioned Above?

The events mentioned above are recommendations,  NOT rules  you have to follow (aside from a few situations). It is possible to interchange the events and use them in other locations, but you do have to keep in mind that some events will only fill specific reports, but nothing holds you back from borrowing them somewhere else.

How to Set Up Recommended Events

To set up recommended events, you must first create a data stream from your website, then place Google tags on the site. Next,  to set up the event, (Not familiar with working with the gtag.js API?  Contact us, and one of our experts will be happy to help)

You can then view each event and its associated parameters using the Realtime reports and Debugview reports feature. These reports will inform you about every event that has occurred as users trigger them.

Implement Recommended Events Properly with Napkyn

GA4’s recommended events feature will make it much easier for marketers to collect valuable information from their target audience. However, implementing this feature properly is the key to utilizing its full potential. If you need assistance with setting up recommended events on GA4, please contact our experts at Napkyn.


Digital Analytics Consulting & Engineering Company

Napkyn Analytics is a digital analytics consulting and engineering company that provides services across Data Enablement, Data Quality, Data Analysis and Data Activation.

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