A Step-By-Step Guide to Configuring Goals in Google Analytics

2018/06/15 08:00

Guide to setup goals in Google Analytics

A basic guide to understanding Google Analytics goals and how to set them up.

While adding a simple UA-code to your website is a great start for tracking activity on your website, Goals take things one step further.

The Goal functionality in Google Analytics allows website owners to track how many users landed on a particular page, stayed on their site for a specified amount of time and triggered a conversion or event.

Goals offer additional, valuable information on the user journey throughout your site and what’s possibly preventing customers from converting or spending more time on your site.

Key Types of Goals

Below is a list of the types of goals that you will be able to choose from:

  • Visit Duration Goals. This goal is ideal for businesses that would like to track users who are spending a specified amount of time on their websites. Businesses that are looking to improve customer service levels by answering queries as quickly as possible would really benefit from this goal.
  • URL Destination Goals. This goal will track how many of your website visitors ended up on a particular page. Examples of pages include subscription confirmation, download confirmation and thank you pages.
  • Pages per Visit Goals. Businesses that want to track the number of pages that a visitor sees before they leave their website would benefit from this goal.
  • Event Goals. Event goals are triggered when a website visitor takes a specific action on a site such as downloading a Pdf, watching a video or clicking on a social media share button. Events need to be setup individually before they can be linked to goals.

Linking Goals to Funnels

If you really want to get an in-depth view of the customer journey on your site, it helps to use goals in conjunction with funnels.

Basically, a funnel will outline the steps that a user would take in order to reach a particular goal. Funnels allow you to track the user journey and discover where visitors are dropping off or spending too much time.

You can even choose to link multiple goals to one funnel if a user needs to take multiple actions during the user journey.

Goals and funnels are particularly useful to e-commerce website owners as it allows them to track and optimise individual product pages in order to increase turnover.

Setting Up Goals in Google Analytics

Below are the steps to follow to set up a goal in Google Analytics:

1. Start by logging into Google Analytics, heading to the Admin section and clicking on Goals

2. Next, click on the red + NEW GOAL button

3. You will now be presented with several goal templates that you can choose from

4. Once you have selected the appropriate template you will be asked to name your goal and to link it to one of the above-mentioned goal types (Visit Duration, URL Destination, Pages per Visit and Events). It’s important to note that Event goals do require some additional setup and some coding but Google Tag Manager is a really useful tool that makes this process a lot easier.

5. These are the setup options that you will be presented with depending on the type of goal you chose:

a) Destination URL: You will need to specify whether the destination URL should match the exact URL that people visit (Equals to), if the pages people visit should only begin with your destination URL (Begins with) or if your destination URL should meet a specific sequence pattern (Regex). Regex is by far the more complicated option to set up.

b) Duration: You will need to specify how much time a visitor should’ve spent on a page before a goal is triggered. You will have the option to insert time in hours, minutes and seconds. You will also have the option of connecting a monetary value to this goal.

c) Pages/Screens per Session: A goal will only trigger when a visitor has visited more than ‘x’ number of pages on your site. Again, you will have the option to connect this goal to a monetary value.

d) Event: This type of goal will only be triggered when all conditions are met including:

  • Category – The name of the group of events you want to track. Eg: Promo Videos
  • Action – The name of the event that you want to track. Eg: Play or Pause
  • Label – The name of the web page element that you want to track. Eg: Video Title
  • Value – A numerical value linked to the event you want to track. Eg: Video Length

As mentioned, you will need to use Google Tag Manager to set up the various events for your site, a task that will probably take up most of your time and may require the assistance of a developer.

6) If you’re happy with the setup of your goal, you can click on the Verify this Goal link to make sure that it is firing correctly. You may find that you need to make adjustments, particularly if you’re setting up Event goals for the first time.

7) If the goal is firing correctly you can save your goal so that it can start tracking.

Tracking Goals in Google Analytics

Once you’ve set up your goals, you will be able to track them by clicking on the Conversions menu item, Goals and Overview.

The Funnel Visualisation menu will show you how your goals are performing within the overall user journey so that you can optimise the relevant pages and processes.

By tracking your goals, you will also be able to see which of your products are performing the best in order to take the learnings from those product pages and apply them to the rest.

Overall, Google Analytics Goals are one of the most useful reports that you can set up on your website.

What types of goals will you be tracking?