Google Analytics enhancements utility

Supplementary behaviour (primarily JavaScript) to ease tracking with Google Analytics.

github location npm version



As of 1.1.0-rc.0 this contains gtag and GA4 support. The basics of vf-analytics-google are plug-and-play, but to get the full value out if you need to add (currently) 4 "custom definitions":

  1. event_category
  2. event_type
  3. page_container
  4. vf_analytics

You can see a screenshot of the configuration here and here is Google's documentation on adding the custom dimensions to your GA4 property (this step is not needed in a UA property).

For more info see issue #1428

User actions

This component tracks three types of user engagement as actions in Google Analytics:

  1. General clicks in the browser as "UI" category
  • standard elements like a button details
  • form elements like input select textarea label
  1. Downloads of files as "Downloads" zip|exe|pdf|doc*|xls*|ppt*|mp3|txt|fasta
  2. Emails links as "Email" mailto:
  3. External links as "External links"

Explicit labels can be provided with data attributes:

  • data-vf-analytics-label="A special label"

Meta tags

Track dimensions:

<meta name="vf:page-type" content="category;pageTypeHere">

For GA4 users, be sure to set this when using vfGaIndicateLoaded():

  vfGa4MeasurementId: "G-YOUR-GA4-ID-if_using_gtag"

And add the custom dimension to your property.

Page region tracking

You can track the region of the page where an event occurs:

<div data-vf-google-analytics-region="main-content-area-OR-SOME-OTHER-NAME">
  <a href="//">My link here</a>


  • region names should not be repeated on the same page
  • nested regions are currently not fully supported

Not intended for use with Google Tag Manager

You should not use vf-analytics-google with Google Tag Manager. The combination makes vf-analytics-google unreliable and often leads to race conditions where the gtag tracking may fail to work. This is not an issue with this code, rather it is consistent with most of my reading on best practice. It is summed up well at

Both these tools utilize some common resources that can lead to conflict in some cases. For example, the data layer is one such resource that is used by both tools. Therefore, it is important to be careful while adding both of them together. You will also need to test the implementation of tools by checking whether the correct data is sent to these tools. Overall, the process is doable but complicated. That’s why I would recommend not to install them together on the same page.

That is: if you want to use Google Tag Manager, you should use that for your events. If you want to use gtag.js + custom JS, then vf-google-analytics is good for you. This code will provide particular value if you need a consistent way to collect event data across many websites, which is what we're after.

Verbose logging

<body data-vf-google-analytics-verbose="true">


You should import this component in ./components/vf-component-rollup/scripts.js or your other JS process:

import { vfGaIndicateLoaded } from 'vf-analytics-google/vf-analytics-google';
// Or import directly
// import { vfGaIndicateLoaded } from '../components/raw/vf-analytics-google/vf-analytics-google.js';

let vfGaTrackOptions = {
  vfGaTrackPageLoad: true,
  vfGa4MeasurementId: "G-YOUR-GA4-ID-if_using_gtag"
  vfGaTrackNetwork: {
    serviceProvider: 'dimension2',
    networkDomain: 'dimension3',
    networkType: 'dimension4'

In parallel, you need to load and initialize the Google Analytics script you use (analytics.js or gtag.js). vfGaIndicateLoaded() is the primary function and awaits and checks to see if Google Analytics script has loaded. If it does, sets <body data-vf-google-analytics-loaded='true'>


vfGaIndicateLoaded() accepts these options for object vfGaTrackOptions:

  • Do not track the page load: vfGaTrackOptions.vfGaTrackPageLoad (defaults to true).
    • If you set to false, the function will not track the initial page view. Useful if you track the initial page view with JavaScript in your HTML.
  • Track the users network: vfGaTrackOptions.vfGaTrackNetwork
    • As of February 2020 Google Analytics no longer tracks the network name of visitors
    • A 3rd party tool enables this, follow the setup guide at
      • note there is no need to load, this component includes it for you
    • After configuring your property in Google Analytics, add the configuration below


Utility method to invalidate prior GA check <body data-vf-google-analytics-loaded='false'>


Can be used to directly track events if you wish to use your own event handler.

 * This code tracks the user's clicks in various parts of the site and logs them as GA events.
 * Dev note:
 * add class verbose-analytics to your body for a readout to console on clicks.
 * @param {element} actedOnItem
 * @param {string} customEventName Event action
 * @example
 * jQuery(".analytics-content-footer").on('mousedown', 'a, button', function(e) {
 *   vfGaTrackInteraction(,'Content footer');
 * });
 * /


/* vf-analytics-google template file */

Example of form tracking attributes

<div class="vf-analytics-google">
  /* vf-analytics-google template file */

  <h3>Example of form tracking attributes</h3>
  <input type="radio" name="radio-button-group" id="radio-2" class="vf-form__radio">
  <label for="radio-2" class="vf-form__label" data-vf-analytics-label="A special form option">Form Label</label>

  <input type="radio" name="radio-button-group" id="radio-3" class="vf-form__radio">
  <label for="radio-3" class="vf-form__label" data-vf-analytics-label="I am also a special label">Form Label</label>



Installation info

This repository is distributed with npm. After installing npm, you can install vf-analytics-google with this command.

$ yarn add --dev @visual-framework/vf-analytics-google





  • Fix issue loading scripts and styles for latest site


  • Documentation upgrade


  • New release


  • Update node-html-parser to 5.1.0
  • Use eleventy v1.0.0-beta.8


  • Utilise new vf-navigation--on-this-page.
  • Update project boilerplate links at


  • Documentation updates
  • New release


  • Update milestones and roadmap.


  • Add ELIXIR banner to example EMBL-EBI page.


  • Fixed issue of overlapping menu on VF components site


  • dependency bump


  • Implements updated vf-search markup.
  • Changes a few pages on how it works with nunjucks and markdown.


  • updates Design Tokens homepage.
  • adds neutral colour tokens
  • adds 'status banners' for components in the documentation page.
  • Adds the form options as their own set of components in the list.
  • Updates to use 11ty 0.12.1


  • changes the vf-intro so it's a white background, removes the padding.
  • changes the links in vf-intro to be the 'correct' buttons.


  • small change to cards on homepage


  • dependency bump


  • dependency bump


  • dependency bump


  • dependency bump
  • adds roamap and consultation docs


  • design token documenation now lives in the component libary


  • adds updates blog


  • begin to make more pattern/boilerplate guidance
  • minor templating updates


  • dependency bump


  • uses vf-favicon
  • adds meta attributes


  • run vf-component-assets:everything on local dev
  • remove reference to removed /css/app.css


  • Add 404
  • Fix component CSS generation


  • Also generate per-component CSS with vf-css:generate-component-css


  • Initial release to be used with vf-core 2.2.0


File system location: components/vf-analytics-google

Find an issue on this page? Propose a change or discuss it.