How To Set Google Analytics Goals
A goal is a completed action on-site – or the completion of a defined objective. Goals often have a monetary value, such as a purchase, but a goal value can be given to any kind of goal. Goals can also relate to engagement and behaviour onsite, such as downloading a brochure, watching a video or making a phone call.
Goals help marketers and businesses understand if their traffic is completing the actions they want them to or if their website is performing and reaching the objectives it needs.
Goal completions help estimate whether campaigns are driving relevant, quality traffic to the website, and which channels are helping to reach more goals, thus helping you to understand more about how the channels and campaigns are contributing to goal completions.
In Google Analytics, there are four types of goals.
- The first, probably the most commonly used is for visitors reaching a certain URL Destination – or a defined page. This can be a booking confirmation page, transaction completion page, or submission success page.
- There are two goals based on user engagement – time-on-site and sessions per visit.
- Goals can also be set up based on events and can be easily customized based on the events set up on your website. They are often click-based and can help track actions such as PDF downloads, form submissions, video views and more.
Goals should be set up as soon as possible on a website and before any paid activity begins. This is to ensure that you can gather the right information and help with analysis as soon as possible.
If goals aren’t set up when campaigns or activity starts, there will be limited conversion data available. In this example, the goals were only in place from late May, and there was no goal data before this.
The same goes for eCommerce tracking. Neither goals nor e-commerce data can be applied retrospectively to reports, so tracking and therefore analysis can only begin the following set-up.
The main benefit for setting up goals is to allow marketers to analyze and compare how different channels and campaigns are performing and how each is contributing to website objectives.
You can see the most valuable channels through analyzing return on investment, and get a good understanding of conversion rates. Campaign analysis allows you to work on return on ad spend as well.
The assisted conversions report allows marketers to understand and compare how different channels perform as converting and supporting conversion channels through the full user journey.
It provides details on the number of conversions, as well as value, of each channel as the last click and assisted conversion. This is very important when understanding the full user journey and how each channel works as part of that, and in the decision-making process.
This report can be found under Multi-Channel Funnels in the Conversion section of the reports.
Google Analytics provides four default goal templates which encompass the majority of goals that would be set up. These are:
- Revenue-based goals – for tracking reservations, purchases, etc.
- Acquisition based goals – for tracking sign-ups or account creations
- Inquiry-based goals – for visitors contacting you through your website or getting estimates
- Engagement based goals – for actions such as adding products to favourites, playing media and sharing or contributing to content
Goals are set up in the admin section of Google Analytics.
To set up a goal you need to:
- Add a goal name
- Select a goal type
- Define the goal conditions
Next, add a description to your goal. Insert a name for your goal and select the type of goal – destination, duration, pages/screens per session or a smart goal.
If you have Google Ads linked to your analytics account, you can incorporate automated goals from Google Ads, called Smart Goals.
You can use one of those templates, or choose a custom set-up. Either way, the next step is to define the type (such as URL destination, engagement metric or event as mentioned earlier) and then a funnel, if relevant.
Once you have your goal set up, before saving, you can verify the goal. This will check how many conversions these settings would have had in the previous seven days and indicated whether or not the goal is set up correctly. If it says no conversions, but you are sure there should be, you can recheck and update settings as there may have been an error.
While Google Analytics provides a lot of great information and insights for analysis, it is not fully comprehensive when analyzing campaigns from different channels. You should always remember to analyze your campaigns in the platform used to run those campaigns, such as YouTube, Facebook or DoubleClick, for the specific information and insights available to that channel and platform.
A limitation of Google Analytics is that it only provides insights into what happens after a session is recorded on the website – once a user reaches the website, what actions they take (like how many pages they viewed and which ones, as well as how they interacted with content) and if they convert or not.
Google Analytics is great for assessing overall results and trends across all channels, comparing how different audiences from different campaigns engage with content, analyzing conversions and user journeys onsite, and comparing ROI from different campaigns.
These are some of the real benefits behind Google Analytics, and using it over time and analyzing how reports change with activity changes can help understand positive and negative impacts.
You can use specific campaign tools, such as Facebook, DoubleClick and YouTube Analytics, to provide greater insight into how the campaign is performing for specific ads, messaging, targeting and keywords – elements that don’t impact or record onsite and therefore insights that cannot be obtained in Google Analytics.
These additional insights include understanding how many impressions your ads are getting, what sort of engagement they might be having, click-through rates per ad and message, costs per click versus impression and channel engagement. These insights help you understand how you can optimize those campaigns and that ad content to bring better results.
I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.
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