Advanced Google Analytics: Conversion Goals (Part One)

May 20, 2008 in Analytics, Expert Advice

So you've signup up for Google Analytics. You've grabbed the code, you've pasted it on every page. You're done, right?

Wrong. You've only tapped a portion of the Google Analytics Goodness. Setting up goals in Google Analytics is very easy, and very powerful. You only need to invest a few minutes to avail yourself of this very valuable additional data.

First, let's define goals:

Goals are desired visitor actions on your website.

For example, here are mine from a current venture:

  • Created a profile
  • Joined the email list
  • Made a purchase

Yours might be things like, submitted a sales inquiry, viewed a key page, started or downloaded a free trial, upgraded their account, referred a friend.

Currently, Google Analytics only allows you to select up to four goals so choose wisely.

How goals work:

Goals are actually just a page view. Really, that's it. When you define a goal in GA, you tell it what page view constitutes the completion of a goal, and GA tracks it as a goal.

For example: let's say you want to track purchases.
You just tell GA to track your Receipt.html/ThankYou.html-type-page  and define that goal as "Made a purchase" and as long as you have the GA tracking code snippet on that page, you're done defining that goal.

Let's walk through it:

Step One: Click the "Edit" link on the Google Analytics Website Profiles page.

Step1

Step Two: Click the "Edit" link in the "Settings" column for the first goal (i.e. G1).

Step2

Step Three: Here's where you want to enter the page, that when viewed, constitutes the completion of a goal. (This part is only a tiny bit tricky, so don't freak out.)

Step3_2

Active Goal: leave it marked "On" or it won't track.

Match Type: This is the tricky part, you or your programmer can read the excellent help to find the appropriate one for how your pages work, but if you're not sure, try Head Match. This allows your URL to have additional values after the page file name (e.g. Receipt.aspx?orderid=123), or not, and still be tracked.

Goal Name: You can put whatever you want here, but put something clear and meaningful so you'll know what you're looking at when you view it in your Google Analytics Goals Dashboard.

Scroll to the bottom of this page, click Save Changes and you're done!

Let a little time pass, then head to the GA dashboard and click the Goals nav item to see how things are going.

Viewgoals

Told you it wasn't hard.

Hope that helps motivate you to look closer at goal tracking with GA. It's valuable business intel you'd be crazy not to track.

In future posts we'll cover goal value tracking (track the income from certain goals) as well as funnels, and tracking things that don't have a distinct page view associated with them.

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Thanks. While I see it daily, I have yet to activate goals. I am doing it right now... thanks!

Posted by: Mike Michalowicz | May 21, 2008 8:50:47 AM

Could you please explain how to set up a goal URL for emails generated from the site? Thanks.

Posted by: Suzuki | Jun 12, 2008 9:59:23 AM

Remember, a goal is just a pageview, so whatever page indicates the accomplishment of a goal, that's your goal URL.

Posted by: Carson | Jun 12, 2008 10:02:52 AM

If in the URL you have a diffrent page i mean not in the same website
exemple:
I want the goals for mywebsite1.com
and the url that i want is on mywebsite2.com/thanks.cfm

Can I put in the URL mywebsite2.com/thanks.cfm

Posted by: Laila | Jul 11, 2008 12:06:39 PM

The short answer is no, not unless you have them both in the same GA account. But there are ways to spoof what you want, dig through the GA documentation, this is a common request.

Posted by: Carson McComas | Jul 11, 2008 12:10:01 PM

I am so happy I found this site! saved to my favorites. I am a newbie. As of right now I don't have any goals set up. This is what I want to track on my home page I have where you can make an appointment with me, I would like to track how many people click on it. Then compare how many clicks there are and how many appointments I actually recieve. Can this be done?

Thanks in advance for any help.

TIE

Posted by: TIE | Jul 19, 2008 2:47:59 PM

Yup, just set the click as the goal, wire up the click-tracking javascript and you'll get a number from that. Then you can compare that against your appts made. Good luck!

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Posted by: marketlive | Sep 24, 2008 11:06:54 PM

thanks for all the help!!!!!!

Posted by: Online Sports Betting | Apr 27, 2009 2:51:10 AM

great post ;)

Posted by: Buy Propecia | Jun 1, 2009 1:43:17 AM

Great Post! I am trying to figure out what goals I want, and whatever I can't have as a goal, I'm sticking in events.

Posted by: Joy | Jun 25, 2009 12:29:16 PM

Hi there, I was wondering if you could help me.

My conversion URL is https://www.whatwewishfor.com/registries/tailorWebsite/105 - the number changes for each user.

I set my goal as a 'Head' match and entered '/registries/tailorWebsite/' but it is not working. I think that is right.

If it is right what could the problem be? Is it maybe because the URL is https...

Posted by: Kate | Sep 9, 2009 11:51:02 AM

We are running goals on http://www.gallerized.com/ but I'm not seeing it react to our regular expressions.

Posted by: teekay | Sep 16, 2009 9:22:39 AM

great post!
While I see it daily, I have yet to activate goals
thank you for sharing

Posted by: maca andina | Oct 10, 2009 10:41:29 AM

Thank you for your post. It was most interesting and thoughtful.

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You are correct, I and I presume most are only using a fraction of the power of Analytics. Thanks

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