GTM & GA: Track all outbound links with one tag

We already did download tracking with one tag – now let’s use the same principles to set up outbound link tracking.

Step 1: Enable default variables.

We’ll use the same default variables that we used for downloads, so if you’ve already set that up, you’re all set. If not, enable {{Click URL}} and {{Click Text}}.

Step 2: Set up the GA tag.

Let’s think about how this should look in GA:

  • Event Category: outbound linksThis value can be hard-coded in – the other two are dynamically populated by variables.
  • Event Action: Similar to downloads, the destination URL of the outbound link
    {{Click URL}} contains this value – easy peasy.
  • Event Label: Exactly like with downloads, I like to put the text of whatever the user clicked here
    {{Click Text}} fits the bill for this one.

With everything set up, it looks like this:

Step 3: Create and apply the Trigger.

We’re going to go with the simplest setup for outbound links for now – we want to track:

  • …every time the user clicks
  • …on a link
  • …that does not point to

This is it:
In a later post, I’ll get into some nuances there, but that should work in most cases. Obviously you’ll replace “” with whatever your domain is.

Step 4: Preview & Publish.


Step 5: See data in GA!

Here, I’m looking at the Behavior > Events > Top Events report. I clicked into the “outbound links” category, and I’m viewing the Event Action:

If you want to know where these clicks occurred, just add “Page” as a Secondary Dimension.


Whenever possible, I’m going to try to provide reusable resources that you can download and put into action right away.

GTM Container Export
(includes outbound link tracking only):”

Later this week, we’ll talk about how to implement this when your site spans multiple domains. With a little Javascript, you’ll make your trigger far more flexible, and begin to unlock even more power in GTM. Stay tuned…

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