Goals are used in Google Analytics to measure business objectives such as generating revenue (sales, donations, subscriptions, etc.), gaining new subscribers to an email list or members to a website, and tracking any type of measurable action such as contest entries or case study downloads. Common examples of Conversion (or Goal) Tracking include the following:
The steps (or micro conversions) a visitor progresses through in order to achieve the end goal (or macro conversion) are part of what Google Analytics calls the “Goal Funnel.”
- The Goal is the end goal, like filling out a Contact Form and reaching the Thank You page upon submission.
- The Funnel is the series of steps taken to access the form, preview the form then submit the form (click submit).
The Simple Goal Funnel below displays the number of conversions for Newsletter Signups. In the example, you can see 4 people arrived at the Sign Up Form from 2 sources (3 came directly and 1 from an internal page). All 4 signed up (reached the Thank You page) so 0 abandoned the process.
Goal Funnel Reports are accessible in Google Analytics under Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization.
A more advanced Goal Funnel with micro-actions is used to track goals with multiple steps, like a shopping cart or member registration that requires an email opt-in / confirmation email.
Adding Goals or Modifying Goals
The Goal Settings are accessed from the gear icon in the top right corner, under the tabs for Profiles> Goals.
Google Analytics offers 4 sets containing 5 goals each. Best practice is to group goals according to the type of action. For example, Set 1 may contain all goals related to revenue while Set 2 contains all goals related to engagement (newsletter sign up, share/save).
Follow These Steps to Set Up a New Goal
- Create a list of all URLs (or steps) a visitor completes during the course of a particular goal.
- Make note of “required” steps, i.e., does a visitor HAVE to navigate through these steps in order to reach the final URL (the final step, the Thank You page).
- With the URL path information in hand, create a new goal by clicking on the link for the desired Goal Set.
- Provide a descriptive Goal Name, like Newsletter Sign Up Completions.
- Set the goal as Active.
- Select URL Destination (Note: other options as available such as time on site or events).
Set the Goal URL as the final step (the Thank You page).
- DO NOT use the full URL. No http://www.yourdomain.com. Only enter the portion of the URL after .com, .net, .org etc.
- Select Exact match if your URLs are always the same, i.e., there are no unique identifiers at the end of the URL. Use Head Match for URLs where the “head” or beginning of the URL is always the same but a unique identifier is added to the “tail” or end.
- Goal Value is optional but we recommend that you set a value, even an arbitrary one. For example, 100 may be the goal value for a donation while 50 may be the value for a newsletter subscriber. Since business goals range in value, establishing some range within Google Analytics will help you more clearly see which channels or marketing activities generate the most value (vs. the most volume).
If there is a series of steps that leads to a goal completion, track those micro actions in step-by-step order in the Funnel.
- Apply the same URL formatting rules as noted above in the Goal URL.
- Required step is important to flag if you only want to track actions that flow through a particular entrance path. In the case of the Newsletter example below, we want to track the number of visitors who sign up for the newsletter BECAUSE they came from a Survey page. Since people can sign up for the newsletter in various ways, we need to set the Survey landing page as a Required Step.
Conversion tracking (Goal Tracking) in Google Analytics makes it easier to understand which channels are effective at generating revenue, encouraging engagement and measuring overall campaign success.
If you need help determining your goals or what to measure, see these related articles: