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Setting Up Goals in Google Analytics

Following on from the previous blog post about conversion tracking, a key part of that process should be the use of goal tracking in Google Analytics. Goals are a key component of most Google Analytics reports and one of the best ways for website owners to determine how well their website is achieving their desired objectives.

Every user of Google Analytics should have at least one goal setup, otherwise many of the reports will include a blank set of columns, and more importantly, some of the core analysis from Analytics will be missing. Goals can be set up in different ways and will mean different things to different websites, but it’s essential to have something in place.

Every website will have an objective, whether it’s to generate online sales, new business enquiries, certain page views, store visits, advertising revenue or newsletter signups. Whatever your objectives are, and whatever you want your site visitors to do, goals should be able to track when these actions have been completed and therefore add valuable conversion data to the main Analytics reports. Users can set up multiple goals, and there is the option to set up to 20 goals in every Analytics view. Goals may be switched off if no longer used, or overwritten if goal settings change in the future.

Perhaps the most common type of goal would be a page destination and typically this would be a confirmation page of a sale or form being completed. It may also take the form of a specific page view, such as some key content on the website, or the contact page or store location page view which may indicate intent, although a confirmed action would be a better type of goal. These types of goals can also be created with funnels, so that users can see the visualisation of the forms being completed and what % of users complete each stage – particularly valuable for an ecommerce store to review the shopping cart process.

Another type of goal that can be used is to track events. These events may require more complex setup but can track more actions on the website than the standard Analytics tracking may do, such as clicks on phone numbers or email links, or off to third party sites like social media content. Event tracking may also be required for form completions if there is not a defined confirmation page / URL shown to the user. Once events have been set up and are tracking, goals can then be created for one or more of these events if they are important targets for site visitors to complete.

Several other types of goal are also possible and indicate user engagement with a website, which may be more important for some sites where specific actions may not be expected. Tracking session duration, or the number of pages viewed per session can be created as goals, with settings defined by above average figures so that around 10% of site visitors may fall into the goal category and therefore indicate where the best visitors come from and what they do on the site.

In our next post, we’ll continue the theme of goals and conversion tracking for this month, and look at goal values. If you’d like to know more about setting up goals in your Google Analytics account, please get in touch.