What is an Event?
Events are the basic building blocks of charts. An event is any action associated with a user. Examples of events you can define in Heap include “Create Account,” “Login,” “Received Transactional Email,” or “Follow A Friend”.
In most other analytics tools, you need to write custom code to track events. However, Heap tracks everything automatically, which means defining events is a lot easier. It also means that every event definition is completely retroactive since Heap has been recording everything from day one.
The best thing about events in Heap is that no matter how you define your event, all of the correct data will be there. This means if you modify an event definition, define an event incorrectly, or want to add to your event, all the data is still readily accessible.
To quickly get started with events, we recommend visiting the Explore events page to define events based on common user actions.
How Many Events Should I Define?
To get started analyzing your data, you only need to define a handful of events that will help you answer specific questions. There is no need to define your entire tracking plan upfront! When new questions come up, you can always define new events. All the data will still be there, even as you add definition further down the road.
Common first charts include:
- Graph: Checkouts per day
- Users View: Active customers (create a segment based on session activity)
- Funnel: Conversion Flow (Sign up, checkout, etc.)
- Retention: Use a key engagement metric (place order, add friend, comment, etc.)
Personal and Shared Events
In Heap, you can define personal and shared events. Personal events are ones that only appear in your Heap dashboard, and by default, are always added to your ‘Personal’ category. You can publish personal events to your shared space at any time.
Shared events can be accessed by your entire team. To stay organized, we recommend naming and organizing all shared events in a way that is helpful for your team, as detailed below.
Event Naming Conventions
Before you get into defining events, it’s essential that you plan a consistent naming convention for your events and categories to help your team understand them.
You can use our Naming Conventions feature to establish and enforce a consistent naming convention for new events. This convention works as a template with pre-selected drop-down items for setting up the event name.
You can also establish a naming convention without using this feature by informing your team members of how events should be named.
Some best practices for naming and organizing events include:
Organize your events into categories, which are essentially folders for events. A category can be a product, feature, or page. We recommend using categories to organize actions your users take in different areas of your product.
Use a standard naming pattern for defining events, such as the Location – Action – Object pattern in the GIF above.
Choose a standard tense (either past or present) for your event names. For example, if you use the present tense, you’ll want to name your event ‘Start Checkout’ instead of ‘Started Checkout’ (past tense).
Add a note to the event to provide context about why it was created and what it’s for. This is also helpful for describing differences between similar events, adding context for when an event is updated, noting if there is an exception that is not accounted for in this event, and more.
To add a note, navigate to Define > Events, click on the event to open up the event details, then click ‘Add Note’. You can add multiple notes to the same event, and edit existing notes.
In addition to planning your event naming convention, we recommend that you also plan a consistent (and similar) naming convention for your charts to provide a better context around the content of the report. The categorization of these charts highly depends on your organizational workflow, though we recommend including a product component or team name as a preface. Examples of charts with this naming convention:
- Marketing – Demo Request Conversion
- Dashboard – Weekly Active Users
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to email@example.com if you have questions on how to best apply these conventions to your organization.