Google Analytics Conversion and Goal Tracking

Written on 14 May, 2015 by Charlotte MacInnes
Categories Analytics

What is a Google Analytics goal?

An analytics goal is a specific goal completion. A little bit like getting the ball in the hoop; it’s when an action has been marked as complete.

Why do I need it?

If you want to understand the exact behaviour of your online visitors, install Google Analytics goal tracking and discover your conversion rates.

It’s absolutely vital to understand how people are engaging with your brand and where the conversions are coming from. It’s even more important to understand and evaluate why they are not converting to maximise your ROI. You could be investing thousands of dollars per month driving traffic to the site and not really knowing why the phone isn’t ringing.

You may already have goals in place for analytics and see their conversion rate, however, several other goals can significantly contribute to the success of the website – for example, newsletters. Newsletter sign-ups could be a huge factor in the success of the driving revenue to the website, yet if it’s not set as a goal, it is difficult to know where the end completion is coming from.

What can I track?

Pretty much everything!

Through goal tracking, you can monitor the amount of sales, downloads, form completions, phone calls, newsletter sign ups, clicks on a button, engagement goals, events such as watching a video, or clicks on a link.

It is important to think carefully about which conversions you do want to attract, but be specific. You can never have too much data! Simply put…track the actions that drive your business.

How do I set it up?

So you’re sold on the idea? Now you need to put it altogether. Don’t panic… it is extremely easy.

First sign into the Google Analytics portal and go up into the ADMIN panel. From here, click down to ‘goals’.

Click on + NEW GOAL (you can add up to 20 different goals without having to upgrade).

Once you have clicked here, you will need to determine what kind of goal you want to track:

  1. Destination
  2. Duration
  3. Pages per session
  4. Event

A destination means the user has reached a specific URL on your website, for example: /thank-you. You do not need to enter the whole URL structure – just the unique characters that come after the domain. When setting this up, be sure to set ‘EQUALS TO’ in the description.

E-commerce tracking is slightly different and is monitored via each product and price.

A ‘Duration’ goal helps to understand how long people are staying on a specific page and whether or not they are popular with the users. For example, if you are explaining something quickly, then you can you set times of goals that would be approximately less than one minute.

Pages per session will help to determine how many pages people are interacting with. So, for example, if you want the customer to continue to look at different pages, you can set a goal for five pages and this identifies how many they click on after the first interaction with the website (e.g. ‘Home’, ‘About Us’ etc.)

Finally, you can track how many people complete a specific action, which can be viewed as an ‘Event’. This can be things like downloading, sign-ups, or clicking on an external link or video. This goal is slightly more difficult to set up but it can also be the most important. If you are not familiar with Google Analytics it may be worth speaking to a developer who can set it up for you as you will need to prepare ‘Events’ in the code of your westie. When creating this, ensure that you create a category and an action to be identified by Google Analytics by entering them into these fields.


Verifying the goal is really important to do, as this will determine the conversion rate for this goal based on the last 7 days’ worth of data.

You can also revise or edit a goal at any time and switch the recording off if you need to. You can set up goal funnels which allow you to see who is moving through each step of a particular process. Additionally, you can tell exactly who is abandoning the funnel, therefore establishing which areas of the process need to be rectified. Please be aware that funnels are usually used for when the customer has to move through a series of steps, and you are limited to 10 steps in this process.

There are also ways of creating ‘segments’ with Google analytics. This means that within the goal tracking data you can actually break that down further into the channel of traffic this came from, as well as things like people that have bounced off, mobile traffic etc.

How often should I look at the data?

There is only one answer… TOO OFTEN!

Check the data every day to discover new trends, drop offs or sudden decreases and increases in conversions or goals. Get to know your customers and you will significantly increase the chance of converting and getting ahead of your competition.

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