When it comes to tracking your website conversion rate, many small business owners use a tool called Google Analytics. It’s one of the most effective tools for measuring session duration, pages per session, bounce rate, and so much more.
How it works is Google Analytics supplies you a piece of tracking code to put on the pages of your website. It will then start recording how many site visitors you get per day, how they found your website, what parts of your site that they are clicking on and much more.
If you’re already using or thinking about using Google Analytics, one of the most important things you need to do is set up goals.
What are Google Analytics Goals?
Goals represent a completed activity, called a conversion. They measure how well your website fulfils your target objectives.
Having properly configured goals allows Analytics to provide you with critical information, such as the number of conversions and the conversion rate for your website. Without this information, you may struggle to evaluate the effectiveness of your website and marketing campaigns. However, considering how simple it is to set up Google Analytics goals many websites still don’t ever set them up.
To help you set up your goals, we’ve created this short guide explaining the different types of Google Analytics goals, when to use them and how to set them up.
What Goals Should I Create?
There are four goals types you can create for your website, each used for a different kind of action you can measure.
Use destination goals to track when a visitor arrives on a specific page while on your website. These are ideal for tracking conversions where visitors see a thank you or order confirmation page. When users reach these specific pages, you should consider using destination goals.
- Form completion
- Online purchase
- Event registration
- Newsletter signup
If you have an e-commerce website, it’s essential to set up destination goals to track metrics like how many add to carts and checkouts customers completed.
This type of Google Analytics goal is used to measure user engagement on a website. When setting up this goal, you can specify the minimum session time that qualifies as a goal conversion. Any session longer than this amount of time will generate a conversion.
Instead of measuring how much time people spend on your website, this type of Google Analytics goal enables users to track the number of pages visitors visit before leaving. This type of goal is also great for pinpointing sections of your website that may need improvements.
Event goals are for tracking user interactions that Google Analytics don’t normally record. This includes the following interactions:
- External links
- Video plays
- Form submissions
- Downloads (PDFs, ebook, checklists, etc)
How to Create Google Analytics Goals
Once you’ve decided what goals you need to create, your next step is to set up your goals. Here’s what you need to do:
- Sign in to your Google Analytics account.
- Click Admin and go to your desired view.
- In the View column, click Goals.
- Click + NEW GOAL or Import from Gallery to create a new goal.
Then, there are three options you can choose from on how to create your goal. You can use a goal template, create custom goals or create Smart Goals.
If you prefer templates, follow the initial steps above and then:
- Select a Template from the list.
- Then click Next step to continue.
If you want to create custom goals, follow the initial steps above and then:
- Select Custom from the list of options.
- Click Next step and select a goal Type (Destination, Duration, Page or Event).
- Then click Next step to continue setting up your goal.
If your account meets the prerequisites for creating Smart goals, follow the initial steps above and then:
- Select Smart Goals.
- Then click Next step to continue.
NOTE: Google Analytics only allows you to set up 20 goals per reporting view. If + NEW GOAL and Import from Gallery are not visible, this means you have already created the maximum number of goals. If you need to measure more than 20 goals, you need to create an additional view for that property or edit an existing goal you don’t need anymore.
Once you’re done with the goal setup process, you need to click Verify to test your goal. It will then calculate a conversion rate for your goal based on your data from the past week. But remember, this test is not a projection of how well your goal will perform.
Will my goals show data from before they were created?
The simple answer is no. Goals are not retroactive. They’re only tracked as metrics from the day you set them up so make sure that correctly configure all your goals.
Can I edit an existing goal?
Absolutely. You can edit an existing goal by navigating to the goals list and clicking the goal name to edit its configuration.
Can I pause tracking a goal?
Yes. In fact, the process is simple. All you need to do is sign in to Google Analytics, click Admin and go to View. Select Filters and change the Recording status from “on” to “off”.
If you want to delete a goal, you should also follow the steps above since there’s no option to permanently delete a goal in Google Analytics.
How often should I monitor my goal report?
This depends on the amount of traffic you get and how often you share content on your website. You might want to check your report daily, once a week or twice a week.
Now you should have a good understanding of how Google Analytics Goals help optimise your website and how to set them up. If you’re having issues with setting up goals in Analytics, use the goal-setup troubleshooter to identify and resolve any issue.