Track

How it works

The track method helps you record events: the things your users do on your site, in your app, and so on.

Each track call records a single event. Each event has a name and properties. For example, if you send a track call when someone starts a video on your website, the name of the event might be Video Started, and the properties might include the title of the video, the length of the video, and so on.

 See our API documentation for code samples

This page can help you better understand when and how to use this API method. But, if you already know how it works and are ready to get started, you can go straight to our Data Pipelines API documentation and start writing code.

A typical call

A typical track call is relatively straightforward. It contains an event name and a properties object. The name is the name of the event you want to track, and the properties are custom values providing extra information about the event.

The call below is based on our JavaScript library, and doesn’t contain the userId or anonymousId of the person performing the event because our JavaScript library automatically captures that information for you. If you use our HTTP API or server libraries, you’ll need to include an identifier for the person performing the event in your request.

While this is the general shape of your call, our libraries actually capture much more information. See the full payload below. You can send additional objects in your call, overriding the information that our source libraries typically capture, but you’ll need to find documentation for your specific library for details.

analytics.track("Course Started", {
  course_in_series: 1,
  course_format: "pass/fail",
  title: "Intro to Customer.io"
});

The full payload

While your requests are typically short, our libraries capture much more information. This helps us provide context, not only for the person performing the event, but the source of the call.

Customer.io and our libraries typically populate integrations and timestamp values as shown in the payload below. If you use our JavaScript or mobile libraries, they’ll also populate context for you. If you use our server-side libraries, you’ll need to populate context yourself.

See common fields for more information about context, integrations, and timestamps in source payloads.

{
  "userId": "AiUGstSDIg",
  "type": "track",
  "event": "Course Started",
  "properties": {
    "course_in_series": 1,
    "course_format": "pass/fail",
    "title": "Intro to Customer.io"
  },
  "integrations": null,
  "messageId": "ajs-f8ca1e4de5024d9430b3928bd8ac6b96",
  "receivedAt": "2015-12-12T19:11:01.266Z",
  "sentAt": "2015-12-12T19:11:01.169Z",
  "timestamp": "2015-12-12T19:11:01.249Z",
  "version": 0,
  "context": {
    "active": true,
    "ip": "108.0.78.21",
    "locale": "string",
    "userAgent": "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_0) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML like Gecko) Chrome/46.0.2490.86 Safari/537.36",
    "channel": "browser",
    "campaign": {
      "name": "string",
      "source": "string",
      "medium": "string",
      "term": "string",
      "content": "string",
    },
    "page": {
      "name": "string",
      "path": "/docs/",
      "referrer": null,
      "search": null,
      "title": "Customer.io Docs",
      "url": "https://customer.io/docs",
      "keywords": [
        "string"
      ]
    },
    "library": {
      "name": "analytics.js",
      "version": "2.11.1"
    }
  },
  "anonymousId": "23adfd82-aa0f-45a7-a756-24f2a7a4c895",
  "originalTimestamp": "2015-12-12T19:11:01.152Z"
}
    • active boolean

      Whether a user is active.

      This is usually used to flag an .identify() call to just update the traits but not “last seen.”

    • channel string
      The channel the event originated from.

      Accepted values:browser,server,mobile

    • ip string
      The user’s IP address. This isn’t captured by our libraries, but by our servers when we receive client-side events (like from our JavaScript source).
    • locale string
      The local string for the current user, e.g. en-US.
    • userAgent string
      The user agent of the device making the request
      • content string
      • medium string
        The type of traffic a person/event originates from, like email, or referral.
      • name string
        The campaign name.
      • source string
        The source of traffic—like the name of your email list, Facebook, Google, etc.
      • term string
        The keyword term(s) a user came from.
      • Additional UTM Parameters* string
      • keywords array of [ strings ]
        A list/array of keywords describing the page’s content. The keywords are likely the same as, or similar to, the keywords you would find in an HTML meta tag for SEO purposes. This property is mainly used by content publishers that rely heavily on pageview tracking. This isn’t automatically collected.
      • name string
        The name of the page. Reserved for future use.
      • path string
        The path portion of the page’s URL. Equivalent to the canonical path which defaults to location.pathname from the DOM API.
      • referrer string
        The previous page’s full URL. Equivalent to document.referrer from the DOM API.
      • search string
        The query string portion of the page’s URL. Equivalent to location.search from the DOM API.
      • title string
        The page’s title. Equivalent to document.title from the DOM API.
      • url string
        A page’s full URL. Segment first looks for the canonical URL. If the canonical URL is not provided, Segment uses location.href from the DOM API.
  • event string
    Required The name of the event
    • Enabled/Disabled integrations* boolean
  • messageId string
    A unique identifier for a Data Pipelines event, ensuring that each individual event is unique.
    • Event Properties* any
      Additional properties that you want to capture in the event. These can take any JSON shape.
  • receivedAt string  (date-time)
    The ISO-8601 timestamp when Data Pipelines receives an event.
  • sentAt string  (date-time)
    The ISO-8601 timestamp when a library sends an event to Data Pipelines.
  • timestamp string  (date-time)
    The ISO-8601 timestamp when the event originally took place. This is mostly useful when you backfill data past events. If you’re not backfilling data, you can leave this field empty and we’ll use the current time or server time.
  • type string
    Required The event type. This is set automatically by the request method/endpoint.

    Accepted values:track

  • userId string
    Required The unique identifier for a person. This value should be unique across systems, so you recognize the same person in your sources and destinations.
  • version number
    The version of the API that received the event, automatically set by Customer.io.

Identifying the person who performed the event

If you use our JavaScript library, track calls automatically use the userId of the identified person or the anonymousId if you haven’t identified a user yet.

If you use our HTTP API or server libraries, you’ll need to include an identifier for the person performing the event in your request. You can use either a userId or an anonymousId. See the specific source library documentation for more information about identifying people in requests.

See the Identify page for more information about User IDs and Anonymous IDs.

Event names

Every track call records a single event—something a person did on your website, in your app, and so on. The event must have a name. We recommend that you use human-readable names for events, so that everyone on your team knows what each event represents.

Don’t use nondescript names like Event 12 or TMDropd. Instead, use unique but recognizable names like Video Started and Order Completed.

Properties

Properties are information you want to record for the events you track. They can be anything that will be useful while analyzing the events later. We recommend that you send properties whenever possible because they give you a more complete picture of what your users do.

We’ve reserved some properties with semantic meanings in Customer.io, and handle them in special ways. For example, we always expect revenue to be a currency value that we send to your downstream destinations that handle revenue tracking.

You should only use the following reserved properties for their intended meaning.

PropertyTypeDescription
revenueNumberAmount of revenue an event resulted in. This should be a decimal value, so a shirt worth $19.99 would result in a revenue of 19.99.
currencyStringCurrency of the revenue an event resulted in. This should be sent in the ISO 4127 format. If this isn’t set, we assume the revenue to be in US dollars.
valueNumberAn abstract “value” to associate with an event. This is typically used in situations where the event doesn’t generate real-dollar revenue, but has an intrinsic value to a marketing team, like newsletter signups.

Different destinations may use these special properties differently. For example, Mixpanel has a track_charges method for accepting revenue. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about those inconsistencies. Just pass along the reserved property (in this example,revenue) and Customer.io will handle all of the destination-specific conversions for you automatically.

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