How to Track File Downloads in Google Analytics to Boost Downloads 

It is possible to track files that have been downloaded by your website visitors or users in Google Analytics. This function is usually done to determine the estimation of your eBooks download and other file downloads. Tracking file downloads in Google Analytics cannot be done by default; however, you could adopt some programs or plugins that will make download tracking on your Google Analytics account easy. Our research has shown that MonsterInsights is the best plugin for Google Analytics, and it is endlessly helpful in performing several processes that will not be normally possible without its optimisation. The MonsterInsights plugin offers Google Analytics users a straightforward way to track file downloads on their WordPress site. However, users also have another solution for tracking file downloads: the Google Tag Manager, GMT, and a few other infamous ways. This article will show you a few ways to track file downloads in Google Analytics to Boost downloads, using the best options.

To track file downloads in Google Analytics using the MonsterInsights plugin, follow the below steps

  • Using MonsterInsights, ensure Google  Analytics is properly set up on your WordPress site
  • After the setup and activation of MonsterInsights in your Google Analytics account, file downloads will be tracked automatically with no need for further settings or customisation

  • Using MonsterInsights to track downloads in Google Analytics offers’ tracking of downloads on some file extensions by default (pdf, zip, doc, ppt, xls, docx, xlsx, and pptx); however, you can add more extensions manually.

If you would like to add more file extensions using MonsterInsights plugin in Google Analytics, follow the below steps

  • Navigate to “Insights” on MonsterInsights’ menu
  • Click on “Settings”
  • From the upper menu, select the “Engagement” option
  • Scroll down and select “File downloads.”


  • The file extensions available by default will be displayed. You may add new extensions whose downloads you will like to track on your website by using commas to represent them distinctly

After successful setup, you can track file downloads in Google Analytics. These downloads can be viewed on your WordPress site directly or in Google Analytics. To view directly on WordPress;

  • Navigate to “Insights”
  • Select “Report”
  • Select “Publishers Report”
  • The “Top download links” will be displayed
  • You can scroll down and click on “View All Download Links RLinks to view all downloads from your site


  • You can boost your downloads with this information by using the report to create content similar to the files that are mostly downloaded.

To view reports on file downloads in Google Analytics, follow the steps below;

  • Sign in to your account on Google Analytics
  • Select the website whose tracked file downloads you will like to view

click on google analytics view

If you previously enabled tracking downloads as a pageview, you will find the reports under “All pages.”

  • Navigate to “Behaviour”
  • Select “Site Content”
  • Click on “All pages.”

If your download tracking is enabled as “Events,” you can access the report in your “Events Report.”

  • Go to “Behaviour”
  • Click on “Events” on the left side of the page
  • Four options will be displayed, select “Top Events” to get a detailed downloads report


  • Click on “downloads,” then the tracked downloads in Google Analytics will be shown.

downloads tracking in events report

Using Google Tag Manager is another easy and efficient way to monitor file downloads on your website and boost downloads by improving your website’s content based on your users’ preferences. To track file downloads in Google Analytics with the Google Tag Manager, also known as GTM, follow the steps below;

Google Tag Manager home page

  • After successful connection with Google Analytics, set up an event trigger
  • This trigger automatically records any event that had to do with a visitor clicking on the download link

Google analytics options within google tag manager

  • With the event tracking template in Google Tag Manager, you can set up your trigger function

setting up a link click event to be sent to google analytics

  • Using the trigger, you can fix a regular expression to trigger an event (download), depending on the file extensions

using a regular expression between google analytics and google tag manager

  • By default, this expression signals the trigger to operate when any of the file extensions you approved are present in your site’s URL, and this will record any download event on your site in Google  Analytics

zoomed in on expression used

  • The screenshot below displays a report in Google Analytics from tracking download files with .png extensions

example of download tracking within Google Analytics

There are other ways to track file downloads in Google Analytics, but they are rather tedious, and reports are not as in-depth as using the MonsterInsights plugin or Google Tag Manager. These infamous ways include;

  1. Adding codes manually to the different pdf downloads you will like to track
  2. Auto track in Google Analytics
  3. Using or writing codes to search for links that end with .pdf which will automatically record events download
  4. Using a JavaScript library to trigger event codes.

Our Verdict 

There are several ways to track file downloads in Google Analytics, using MonsterInsights or GTM however, offers you straightforward setups for tracking file downloads and easily comprehensive reports


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