Track clicks on outbound links in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

by Meike Müller

Everything used to be better! This is not only true for the weather or the prices at the gas station, but also for Google Analytics. It used to be a piece of cake to display all outbound links on a website in a list. But since the introduction of Google Analytics 4, this task is no longer so easy. But don't worry, in this blog post we'll show you how to still find all outbound links in Google Analytics 4. By the way, these are also known as "GA4 Outbound Links".

And the best part? It's still pretty easy! Just know how...

Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google Analytics and offers a number of features and tools to help you track and analyze the behavior of your website visitors.

Want to know which outbound links on your website are clicked on the most?
Then you can learn how to do that in this blog post. If you still have questions, you can of course contact us at any time. We will be happy to help you!


Reading time 3 min

What you can expect in this article:

Step 1: Create your own exploratory data analysis.

The first thing you need to do is create your own exploratory data analysis - what a term. To do this, go to your Google Analytics 4 home page and click on the "Expl. Data Analysis" in the left sidebar. Then click the "Blank" button to create a new exploratory data analysis.



Step 2: Select the segment

Now select the right segment. To do this, click on the plus.


Google Analytics Ansicht Segmente auswählen


In the following view, select "click" as the event. However, we do not want to include all clicks in our segment. Therefore you filter again on the outgoing links. For this purpose, there is a defined parameter that you can use. So you add (via "Add parameter") the parameter "outbound" with the condition "matches exactly (=)" with "true".


Google Analytics Ansicht Parameter definieren


By the way, you can find all available parameters for the event here:

Step 3: Choose the right dimensions

In the next step you have to select the right dimensions to display your outgoing links in a list. Click on the plus and select "Page path and screen class" and "Link URL".

Google Analytics Ansicht Dimensionen auswählen


Step 4: Select the measurements

You want to know the number of clicks on the external links. Therefore add the "Number of events" to the measured values via the plus sign. Here you can also add other measurement values that are interesting for you.

Google Analytics Ansicht Messwerte auswählen


Step 5: Display the results

In order for your table to be generated automatically, you have to drag and drop the segments into the tab settings. Have a look at the screenshot below. For methods and visualizations, everything should already be automatically set to "Free format" and the "Table icon".


Google Analytics Ansicht Ergebnisse anzeigen



Analyzing outbound links on your website can give you important information about which content on your website is most popular and which external websites your visitors visit most often (through your site). With Google Analytics 4, you can easily collect and use this information to optimize your website and better understand your visitors' behavior.


FAQ: Questions and answers about Google Analytics

If you have any further questions, we hope to cover a few more topics in the FAQ below. Otherwise, we are of course always available by phone to answer your individual questions about Google Analytics .

  • Why is it important to track clicks on outbound links?

    Tracking clicks on outbound links in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is essential for you for various reasons:

    • Understanding user behavior: When you track outbound link clicks, you better understand where your website visitors are being directed. This shows you which content or partners are of particular interest to your target audience.
    • Click-through rates: By observing how often an outbound link is clicked, you can calculate the click-through rate (CTR) of that link. A high click-through rate indicates that the link or the offer behind it is very appealing to visitors. A low click-through rate shows you where there is potential for optimization.
    • Search queries and search volume: If your website has a search function, you can analyze whether there is a connection between the search volume for certain terms and the actual clicks on the respective links by comparing the click rates on outbound links with the search queries.
    • Sessions: If you compare the total number of sessions with the number of clicks on specific outbound links, you will see the percentage of users who clicked such a link during their session. This shows you how actively this area is engaged by users.
    • Content and partnership optimization: By seeing which external links are clicked often, you can tailor your content to them or consider boosting existing partnerships or creating new ones to add value for your visitors.

      Tracking clicks on outbound links in GA4 allows you to make informed decisions based on concrete data, optimize the user experience, and continuously improve your website strategy.
  • What exactly is the data collected when an outbound link is clicked?

    Tracking outbound link clicks in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) allows you to capture various data points to better understand your users' behavior and adjust your website strategy accordingly.

    The most basic thing captured in GA4 is, of course, the number of clicks on an outbound link. This gives you a quantitative insight into how often users are accessing external content from your website. In GA4, you can use a specific data view to analyze outbound link clicks in more detail. Here you can view data such as the user's origin, the device used, and other parameters captured along with the click.

    When a user clicks on an outbound link from a search results page on your website, this is also captured in GA4. This gives you insight into which external links are relevant or interesting to users in relation to specific search queries.

    In addition to absolute click counts, GA4 also shows the percentage of clicks on a particular outbound link relative to all clicks on outbound links. This helps you to see which links are particularly popular and which ones are getting less attention.

  • How can I use outbound link click data to improve the user experience on my website?

    Tracking outbound link clicks in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) gives you a valuable perspective on the user behavior of your website visitors. In particular, you can understand which external content or partners are of particular interest to them after visiting your website. A high level of clicks on a particular link could indicate the potential for adding similar content directly to your site or deepening existing partnerships. This would provide visitors with exactly what they're looking for and improve their overall experience on your site.

    In contrast, an outbound link that is rarely clicked despite significant effort could indicate that this content or partner is less relevant to users. In such cases, you might consider reallocating resources and focusing on other areas that are more relevant to users.

    In addition, the data allows you to develop custom content or offers that are more tailored to the specific interests and needs of your visitors. For example, if many visitors click a specific affiliate link, this could be an incentive to offer similar products or services directly on your website.

    Overall, analyzing outbound link clicks opens up a wealth of opportunities for you to target effort into those areas that have the greatest potential to refine and improve the user experience on your website.

  • What is Google Analytics 4 anyway?

    Google Analytics 4, or GA4 for short, is the latest version of Google's well-known web analytics tool. It is a further development of Universal Analytics, the previous version of Google Analytics. GA4 was developed to meet the changing demands of web analytics and offers a number of improvements and new features.

    It is important to note that Google Analytics 4 is a standalone platform and is not backwards compatible with Universal Analytics. This means that some adjustments may need to be made if you want to move to GA4. If you need help with this, we at EXWE are happy to answer your questions by phone or email.

  • What's new in Google Analytics 4?

    Compared to the previous version, Universal Analytics, GA4 brings many innovative new features, some of these new features are:

    Cross-Platform Tracking: GA4 enables seamless tracking of user interactions across multiple platforms, including websites, mobile apps, and other digital channels. This provides a holistic view of user behavior.

    Automated tracking: Some events are automatically captured in GA4 without the need to add additional tracking code. This makes data collection and analysis much easier.

    User-centric view: GA4 allows you to track the behavior of individual users in more detail and create personalized reports. This is useful when you need to better understand the customer journey.

Was ist dein Projekt? Wenn du uns darüber erzählen möchtest, rufen wir dich zurück!

from 04.05.2023

Hello, my name is Meike. I take care of the EXWE back office and am responsible for our social media channels. All of our articles are meant to make your life easier and help you make decisions. Nevertheless, it can happen that something remains unclear, so: If you have questions about this article you can easily reach me at +49 231 93149827.

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