Google Analytics is one of the best possible tools for monitoring the online performance and success of your business. It grants you access to monumental amounts of data, all collected in one easy-to-use dashboard. It’s even free!
However, while out-of-the-box metrics like total pageviews, devices, and demographics can tell you a lot about how your website is doing and where there’s room for improvement, these basic numbers are often not enough. To really track your site’s success, improve your marketing efforts, and diagnose issues, you need to go a step further – you need to create Google Analytics goals.
What Are Google Analytics Goals?
Goals measure when users complete a designated activity. If you configure them properly, Google Analytics goals can get you a closer look at the essential metrics that really impact your business. While pageviews and other basic data can help show the growth of your business in the online space, they ultimately can’t tell you what sales will look like or which users are likely to set up an appointment or complete a purchase. Goals enable you to successfully predict and track user behavior all the way through your funnel. If you are wondering what you can do with the more basic Google Analytics metrics without additional setup, read our past post here.
What Are the Types of Google Analytics Goals and What Are They Used For?
There are four types of Google Analytics goals – we explain the function and purpose of each one below.
Destination goals – Destination goals track when a visitor arrives on a particular page on your website. These goals are best used for pages that indicate a user has completed a desirable action, so most people put them on confirmation or completion pages – think a “Thank You For Your Purchase” page or “Your Appointment Confirmation” page. A few other places you might want to insert a destination goal include:
- Cart page
- All form confirmations
- Newsletter signup
- Appointment/event registration
- Contact form submission
Duration goals – As the name suggests, duration goals simply measure the amount of time a user spends on your site. These are important because you can set duration goals and then check out which pages and actions that user took – Google analytics tells you the url where each goal was completed, so you can dig into which pages have the longest duration and could lead to long-term customers.
Page goals – This type of goal measures the overall number of pages your users visit before leaving your site. To measure engagement, you can set a minimum goal that might indicate people are finding your site useful.
Event goals – While Google automatically records some events and interactions, the list is far from complete. To get a better handle on the actions people are taking on your site, you can set up event goals to measure downloads, video clicks, form submissions, and visits to external links.
How to Create Google Analytics Goals
To create a new goal in Google Analytics, you will need to navigate to the admin tab, then select goals and add a new goal. For most goals, the process is pretty straightforward. For duration and pages per session goals, you will just need to input whether you want the goal to be defined by a minimum or a maximum and then choose your duration or number of pages. These are the simplest goals to set up. To set up a destination goal in Google Analytics, you will need to select your url match type and your url. The match type defines the specificity with which the user’s destination matches the url you choose. For most users, a head match (where the url must start with the specified value, but does not have to be an exact match of the entire url) will be the best choice. Event goals are a little tricky to set up, because you can choose any one or a combination of the following event conditions: category, action, label, and value. With a little practice, event goals can be very useful for furthering your business goals.
In an era where virtually everyone finds products and services online, Google Analytics has become an invaluable tool. If you aren’t setting goals, it’s time to step it up! Need a hand? We provide setup and consultation for all your Google Analytics needs.