How To Track Pdf Downloads In Google Analytics

It is essential to track PDF downloads in order to gain insight into user’s interactions and engagement with your website. Fortunately, Google Analytics offers the necessary tools for analyzing this data. However, it should be noted that Google Analytics does not automatically track downloads of PDFs, Word and Excel documents, videos, and other files. To assist with this, here is a simple guide to help you set up tracking for PDF downloads. In the event that difficulties are encountered while performing this task, please respond with the error message: “Unable to process the request due to encountered difficulties.”

Create a Google Analytics Account

Firstly, if you don’t have a Google Analytics account, you need to create one. Visit and follow the instructions for setting up a new account.

Set Up Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool that allows you manage and deploy marketing tags (snippets of code or tracking pixels) on your website (or mobile app) without having to modify the code. Here’s a very basic guide on how to set it up:

  1. Head over to and sign in with your Google account.
  2. Create a new account for your website.
  3. Create a new container for your website. Your container holds all your tags for the site.
  4. After the container is created, you’ll be given a GTM code to add to your website. This allows Google Tag Manager to communicate with your website.

Now, let’s get to the main part, tracking PDF downloads.

Tracking PDF Downloads

With Google Analytics set up and Google Tag Manager installed on your website, now you can track PDF downloads. Here are the steps required:

  1. In the Google Tag Manager dashboard, select your website’s container, and then click on ‘Tags’ > ‘New’.
  2. Name your tag (e.g., ‘PDF Download’) and click on ‘Tag Configuration’.
  3. Choose ‘Google Analytics: Universal Analytics’ and enter your Google Analytics Tracking ID.
  4. For ‘Track Type’, choose ‘Event’.
  5. You can put ‘Download’ as the ‘Event Category’, ‘PDF’ as the ‘Event Action’, and ‘Click URL’ as the ‘Event Label’.
  6. Click on ‘Triggering’ and select the trigger you’ve just created.
  7. Save your tag.

Here’s a sample of the source code:

    function() {
        return {
            'event': 'gaEvent',
            'gaEventCategory': 'Download',
            'gaEventAction': 'PDF',
            'gaEventLabel': {{Click URL}}

After these steps, each time a user downloads a PDF on your website, an event will be sent to Google Analytics which you can view and analyze within your Google Analytics dashboard.

This guide should put you on the path to tracking PDF downloads on your site in no time. You can apply the same principles to track other file types as well, not just PDFs.