Tracking events in Intercom gives you a better understanding of how your customers use your product. This understanding lets you send targeted, relevant messages and gives you all the context you need to support your customers.

Note: Intercom tracks some events by default, like page views and interactions with your Help Center, this article is about tracking your own custom events.

There are many ways to send events to Intercom:

  1. The Intercom JavaScript API.

  2. Google tag manager.

  3. Via the REST API.

  4. Through our mobile SDKs.

  5. With apps & integrations like Stripe or Segment.

Event Metadata

Every event you track can also include metadata. This is additional information about each specific occurence of the event. E.g.: If you track a “purchase” event, the metadata could be the name and price of the item purchased.

Metadata is perfect for filtering your customers, and including in messages. Each event can be sent with up to ten pieces of metadata. The following types of data are supported:

  • String: A plain string up to 255 characters long.

  • Number: Positive or negative number.

  • Date: A timestamp which we'll show as a human readable date.

  • Link: An http or https url, which we'll create a link to.

  • Rich link: An http or https link, also sent with a title, which we'll create a link to.

  • Image: An http or https link to an image, which we'll display.

  • Stripe (retail): A Stripe invoice, customer or charge identifier, which we'll create a link to.

  • Monetary (retail): An amount with a currency.

Important:

  • Key names are case insensitive, and can’t contain periods ('.'), dollar signs ('$'), characters like ~`!@#%^&*'{}|\'" or the NULL character.

  • Dashes in key names are not displayed in Intercom. The key is still important for tracking data, while 'invited-friend' and 'invited friend' will both be displayed as Invited friend in the UI, the two fields represent different data.

Read on to learn how to send events with each method. Or, skip to this overview of tracking an event from start to finish.

The Intercom JavaScript API

With the Intercom JavaScript snippet installed in your app or on your website, you can submit events when your users or visitors take actions.

Use the Intercom(‘trackEvent’) method. This automatically associates the event with the currently tracked visitor, lead or user and sends it to Intercom. A simple event would look like this:

This would be tracked like this:

Intercom('trackEvent', ‘upload-complete');

Optionally, you can also include metadata with the event for more granular targeting of event based messages, and inclusion in message content:

This event with metadata:

var metadata = {
duration: 19,
type: “JPEG”,
file_location: "https://external-content.com/example.jpg"
};

Intercom('trackEvent', 'upload-complete', metadata);

Note: To track events with the JavaScript API you’ll need to ensure that the Intercom JavaScript snippet has already successfully loaded on the page.

To Install Intercom, copy the first code snippet in your web installation settings, which is pre-populated with your workspace ID. Then paste the code right before the closing <body/> tag of any page where you want to track events.

Google Tag Manager

If you’ve installed Intercom with Google tag manager, you can use it to track custom events, like this example from our help article, which tracks an event for “Exit intent”. This is perfect for messages you want to send to your site visitors, like example.

Directly via the REST API

You can track events directly via the REST API, using the language of your choice, or one of our supported SDKs:

When tracking an event with the REST API, you can also specify a “created_at” time to define specifically when it took place, which allows you to “catch up” on events that occurred historically.

See our API Documentation for more details.

Note: Events tracked via the API, won’t trigger Banners or Carousels. For these message types, we recommend using the JavaScript api, or one of our mobile SDKs.

From your mobile app using one of our mobile SDKs

You can use any of our mobile SDKs to set up event tracking:

With an app like Segment or Stripe.

Various apps from our app store, will track events for you in Intercom. For example, the Stripe app will track subscription events like recent payments. This is perfect for sending notification messages about account activity.

Browse “Data and enrichment” apps in our app store to find more options.

Event tracking in action

For this example, we’ll track an event with the JavaScript API whenever a customer’s upload is complete, then send them a message each time that happens.

First, the code we need:

This JavaScript tracks an event called “Upload complete” and includes:

  • The file location - “/example.jpg”

  • The type - “JPEG”

  • And how long it took to upload (in minutes) - 19

Now each time the event is tracked, it’s visible in these places:

  • The user profile.

  • In the Inbox (recent events).

  • In your message filters.

  • Filters on the contact list.

Note: When someone first contacts you and is added as a lead in Intercom, you can see any events they’ve tracked as a visitor in the last 90 days before getting in touch.

From Settings > Workspace data > Events we’ll add a description to the event so it’s super clear for all our teammates what it represents:

Now with the event tracked successfully, we can use event based messaging to send them a notification banner each time it occurs. Read this article to learn all about event based messaging.

How do I delete events?

From your workspace’s event settings, open the event and click 'Archive':

Tip: You can always unarchive an event later if you change your mind, but archived events aren't recreated if you track them again.

Best practices for capturing events

Events are most useful for filtering and segmenting your users, and sending targeted messages to your customers.

With that in mind, we have some recommendations on how to get the most out of Events:

  1. Send events which capture meaningful actions. A purchase is a great basis for a conversation as opposed to recording all the clicks that lead up to that purchase. Meaningful events will also make creating filters and auto-messages much easier.

  2. Send the right amount of metadata. Metadata is a great way to contextualise activity, but sending too much can be distracting. Remember that you can always link back to your own systems for more details.

  3. Format your metadata as if it were to be sent to a customer. Metadata is not formatted when included in your messages, so it must be ready to go when it’s received by Intercom.

  4. Use events to understand user to user interactions like invitations and social activity. You can use metadata to provide a rich view of how users are interacting with your business and each other.

  5. Name your events in a way that makes them easily readable in Intercom. Using a past tense verb is one way to make the action more easily understood when it appears in the user activity timeline e.g. "Purchased item", "Created profile" or "Viewed onboarding guide".

What's next?

Read this article to understand when to use custom attributes vs events.

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