Tracking goals is crucial to understanding how effectively your website’s performance is meeting your business objectives.
Google Analytics (GA) tracks metrics like page views, sessions, and user engagement. But how do you track tangible goals that directly relate to your business objectives?
Google Analytics goals enable you to measure your website’s success at achieving a certain objective. It also allows you to track metrics like:
- How many visitors added items to their cart
- How many customers subscribed to your newsletter
- How many customers purchased a product from your website
- The number of visitors who completed a specific task on your website, such as downloading a file or signing up for an email list
In order to properly set up your Google Analytics goals, you must first understand the types of goals available.
Types of Google Analytics Goals
Google Analytics is only as good as the goals you set. You have to set up what it is you actually want to track in order for it to be useful.
Google Analytics will then create conversion-related metrics that help you measure goal conversion and monitor the path customers take toward goal completion.
Conversion simply means a user completes an action you’ve defined in your Analytics setup.
Google Analytics offers four types of goals: Destination, Event, Duration, and Pages/Screens per Session.
1. Destination Goals
Destination goals are the most straightforward type of goal, as they measure how many visitors reach a certain page or URL on your website.
So every time a visitor reaches the designated page or URL, it counts as a successful conversion.
This goal is best used to track visitors landing on your thank you pages, cart pages, or other pages indicating a successful transaction.
When setting up a Destination goal, you’ll need to specify the specific destination you’d like to track (i.e., the page URL or a specific part of it). You can also set up multiple destination goals if you’d like to track multiple pages.
Later in this article, we will show you how to set a destination goal in Google Analytics.
2. Event Goals
Event goals enable you to track specific user interactions on your website. These interactions include clicking a button, watching a video, filling out a form, or downloading a file.
You need to set up a separate Event goal for each interaction you want to track.
When setting up an Event goal, you’ll need to specify the event category, action, and label.
The category is the type of interaction (e.g., video, button clicks). The action is what the user does (e.g., play, pause). The label is the specific item or object interacted with (e.g., video title).
This type of goal is a bit complicated to set up, but you can check out this guide from Google for more detailed instructions.
3. Duration Goals
Duration goals measure how much time visitors spend on your website. It’s best used to measure engagement and evaluate whether or not users spend enough time on your website.
Unlike website traffic tracking, where you measure the number of visitors, Duration goals measure how long those visitors stick around, whether they stay five minutes or ten seconds.
This is essential in understanding whether your website is engaging enough for users to stay on it, which can greatly indicate its success.
You are also able to see which pages are the most engaging. You can then optimize the pages that have low engagement and ensure those that are engaging are up to date.
When setting up a Duration goal, you will need to specify the time limit you want to measure (i.e., how long a visitor needs to stay on your website for it to count as a successful conversion).
4. Pages/Screens per Session Goals
Pages/Screens per Session goals measure how many pages or screens visitors view during a single visit to your website.
These goals can help determine the navigation paths visitors take on your website and how much information they consume.
It’s a great way to measure the effectiveness of your website design, content structure, navigation paths, and more. It can also be used to optimize the user experience for visitors.
This goal is especially useful for SaaS and eCommerce websites, as it can help you track the customer journey and identify areas for improvement.
When setting up a Pages/Screens per Session goal, you will need to specify how many pages or screens visitors must visit before the goal is considered complete.
By understanding the value of each type of goal, you can better measure your website’s success and optimize it according to user behavior.
How to Create Google Analytics Goals
To access Google Analytics goals:
Step 1: Sign in to your Google Analytics account, https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/
Step 2: Click “Admin.” Then under View, click “Goals.”
Step 3: Click the “+New Goal” button.
Step 4: Next, you will see the “Goal Setup” page.
Google Analytics provides you with pre-made goal templates specific to your industry. This makes it easy to get started and ensures that you track your business’s right metrics.
However, you can also choose the “Custom” option to create your template from scratch.
Choose the goal you want to track that resonates with your business objectives and click “Continue.”
Items on the Goal Setup Template
This goal allows you to track revenue generated from your website (completed purchases and pre-order requests). You can set it up by specifying the total revenue or tracking individual products or services sold on your website.
Acquisition tracks successful sign-ups and accounts created. Tracking these metrics can help you understand the effectiveness of your website’s onboarding process and conversion rate.
You can also track how many users are interested enough to return to your website and complete a purchase.
Inquiry goals track visitors that want to know your location, read reviews, view upcoming events, and make other inquiries on your website.
This goal is useful as these actions will show that users are interested in your products or services and are likely to convert to paying customers.
How many users played a video, downloaded a PDF, or interacted with your website in any way?
Or how many users shared your content, liked a post, or commented on your blog?
Engagement goals measure user engagement on your website and give you insight into how users interact with your content.
This is important as it helps you understand what content resonates best with your audience, allowing you to optimize your website better.
Step 5: In this step, you are directed to the Goal Description page, where you choose one of the goal types – Destination, Duration, Pages/Screen per Session, or Event. The user’s action triggers the goal type.
In this example, we will choose the Destination type. This is triggered when the user reaches a page or destination URL. Click “Continue.”
Step 6: You will then be asked to fill out the Goal details, which is the destination URL. This is the URL that triggers the goal type.
In the destination box, you have three ways to format the destination URL:
- Equals – this is one exact destination. For example, https://store.com/thank-you.
- Begins with – this is for goal URLs that are in one family and bearing the same format. For example, Begins with /purchased. This may include different pages like /purchased-12345, /purchased-12346, and /purchased-12347.
- Regular expression – this is for different goal URLs that are in one family and bearing different formats. For example, /receipt. This means that all URLs preceding this can be variable.
Click the “Verify this Goal” button to make sure the destination URL is correct, and Google Analytics will be able to track data. Click Save.
Your goal should now be live, and you can monitor its performance in your Google Analytics.
You can also specify the monetary amount to the goal. Click on “Value” to toggle the value function on and enter the amount. However, this value function is only good if each conversion is worth a consistent amount.
The funnel option lets you track the steps users take before they convert. This is useful for understanding where people drop out in their journey and adjusting conversion paths accordingly.
When you turn on the funnel option, the Goal Setup Template will ask for a series of steps that must be taken before a user reaches their destination. You can also specify the URL of each step, allowing Google Analytics to track each step along the way.
NOTE: The funnel option can only be used with the Destination Goal type.
How to See Your Goal Metrics
Once you set your goals, you can view the results in real time in Google Analytics.
Click the Reporting tab and select Conversions in the left sidebar menu. Select Goals from the dropdown menu and then Overview. Here, you can view your goal summary, individual goal performance, and other reports like Acquisition reports.
To see the funnel visualization, under Goals, click Funnel Visualization. Here, you can see the funnel steps users took before they converted.
Setting up goals in Google Analytics gives insight into how your users interact with your website and what content resonates best with them. This helps you optimize your website to drive conversions.
And with the funnel option, you can track each step in the user journey to understand drop-off points and make the necessary adjustments.