Guides / Building Search UI / Going further / Send insights events

Send events with React InstantSearch Hooks

If you’re using InstantSearch and want to send Insights events, it’s best to do so directly from your React InstantSearch Hooks implementation.

The InstantSearch Insights library allows developers to send click, conversion, and view events. For search-related events, it correlates the event with the queryIDs generated when you’ve set the clickAnalytics parameter to true.

Algolia uses valid search-related events for Click and Conversion Analytics. Click and Conversion Analytics form the foundation for more advanced features like A/B Testing and Dynamic Re-Ranking. Algolia uses all valid events for Personalization. Even if you aren’t planning on implementing Personalization right away, it’s helpful to consider sending events as if you were. This lets you implement Personalization later on with a robust corpus of well-formatted user data.

Requirements

Installing the search-insights library

To send events in InstantSearch, you must first add the search-insights library to your application.

You can load the search-insights library with either the jsDelivr CDN or your static file server. If you choose the latter, you must update the ALGOLIA_INSIGHTS_SRC variable to point to the file URL on your file server.

Load the library by adding this snippet in the <head> of your HTML file.

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<script>
  var ALGOLIA_INSIGHTS_SRC = "https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/search-insights@2.0.3";

  !function(e,a,t,n,s,i,c){e.AlgoliaAnalyticsObject=s,e[s]=e[s]||function(){
  (e[s].queue=e[s].queue||[]).push(arguments)},i=a.createElement(t),c=a.getElementsByTagName(t)[0],
  i.async=1,i.src=n,c.parentNode.insertBefore(i,c)
  }(window,document,"script",ALGOLIA_INSIGHTS_SRC,"aa");
</script>

jsDelivr is a third-party CDN. Algolia can’t provide support for such third-party services.

Using insights with Node.js

$
$
$
npm install search-insights
# or
yarn add search-insights
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const aa = require('search-insights');
// or
import aa from 'search-insights';

Creating the insights middleware

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import { createInsightsMiddleware } from 'instantsearch.js/es/middlewares';

const insightsMiddleware = createInsightsMiddleware({
  insightsClient: aa,
});

Connecting InstantSearch with the insights middleware

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import { createInsightsMiddleware } from 'instantsearch.js/es/middlewares';
import { useInstantSearch } from 'react-instantsearch-hooks-web';
import { useLayoutEffect } from 'react';

function InsightsMiddleware() {
  const { use } = useInstantSearch();

  useLayoutEffect(() => {
    const middleware = createInsightsMiddleware({
      insightsClient: aa,
    });

    return use(middleware);
  }, [use]);

  return null;
}

Retrieving the queryID from the search response

When sending a search-related event to Algolia, you need to include the queryID of the most recent search. By default, the search response doesn’t contain a queryID. To retrieve it, you need to set the clickAnalytics parameter to true. The insights middleware handles this for you.

Setting the userToken

By default, search-insights library sets an anonymous token and stores it in a cookie. It’s best to set the userToken yourself using an internal user identifier. This lets you reliably identify users.

If you use search-insights >= 2.0.0, it doesn’t set an anonymous token automatically and no longer uses cookies by default. If you want to enable it, refer to the insightsInitParams.

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aa('setUserToken', yourUserToken);

If you don’t already have access to that information, you can set it up later from your code. As soon as you’ve set it, the insights middleware ensures that every subsequent search includes a userToken.

Sending default events

When using any of the following connectors, the insights middleware automatically sends default for some user behaviors like selecting a facet or viewing a result.

Sending events from refinement widgets

If you customize a widget using connectors, the insights middleware also sends events. You can turn off this behavior or change the default payload.

Sending events from results widgets

When using any of the following connectors, the insights middleware automatically sends default view events when hits are rendered.

If you customize a widget using connectors, the insights middleware also sends events. You can turn off this behavior or change the default payload.

Sending events

Usually, you want to send events when the user interacts with search results. This means you want to send the events from either the <Hits> or the <InfiniteHits> widget.

This example sets up the <Hits> widget:

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import { InstantSearch, Hits, Highlight } from 'react-instantsearch-hooks-web';

function Hit({ hit, sendEvent }) {
  return (
    <article>
      <h3>
        <Highlight hit={hit} attribute="name" />{' '}
      </h3>
      <button
        type="button"
        onClick={() => {
          sendEvent('click', hit, 'Product Added');
        }}
      >
        Add to cart
      </button>
      <button
        type="button"
        onClick={() => {
          sendEvent('conversion', hit, 'Product Ordered');
        }}
      >
        Order
      </button>
    </article>
  );
}

function App(props) {
  return (
    <InstantSearch {...props}>
      <Hits hitComponent={Hit} />
    </InstantSearch>
  );
}

Once you’ve registered your index with the application ID and the API key, you can start sending events. For examples of the different kinds of events and what user behaviors translate into them, refer to the guide on capturing user behaviors as events.

Insights events (view, click, and conversion) don’t take immediate effect. There’s a delay of from a few minutes up to an hour (depending on whether they’re sent after a search or not and how long after a search they’re sent).

For a better estimation, see how long it takes for Insights events to be taken into account.

Based on the event type you send, you need different data. For example, a conversion event doesn’t need the positions attribute, but the click event does. This is because positions determines the average click position. The integration with InstantSearch handles all this for you. InstantSearch injects:

  • All the necessary data based on the event to send
  • The context of the current query.

If you intend to send these events with the Personalization feature, deciding which events to send and when to send them is vital. Read the guide on capturing user actions as events if you’re unsure about what to send.

Tracking queryID on other pages

Conversion events don’t always happen on a search results page. For example, a user could buy an item from a product detail page, meaning you must pass the queryID to that page.

Advanced insights middle customizations

The insights middleware lets you turn off default events, change the default event payloads, send events from your own custom widgets, and send events to third-party trackers. Check the insights middleware documentation to learn how to do this.

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