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In Part 2 of the Google Analytics for Beginners Series, we talked about some of the basic metrics that Google Analytics tracks out of the box. In order to really understand how all of this is affecting your business, you’ll want to set up your own goals.
Google Analytics Goals allow you to track things like:
- eCommerce Conversions
- Lead Conversions
- Email Subscriptions
- Account Creations
- Downloads (like when someone registers for one of your opt-ins/lead magnets)
You only get 20 goals in Google Analytics, so use them wisely!
You create goals in the Admin section of your Google Adwords Account. Click on the gearshift in the lower left-hand corner. Then, in the third column, you should find “Goals” under “Views”.
Then, select the red button to create a new goal.
Google Analytics has pre-defined goals that you can import, or you can build your own. The template goals have many general but common activities, like making a reservation, or checking inventory if you’re running an eCommerce site.
After you select your goal (even as a template), you get to start customizing. First, you’ll give your goal a name, and set what type of goal it is.
Destination: Used when someone visits a specific page on your site. This can be a visible page, like your services page, or a hidden page, like a form submission confirmation that they only can see if they completed the form.
- Duration: Used to measure how long a session lasts on your site.
- Pages per Session: Used to measure how many pages a user sees in a single session.
- Event: This goal is used to measure a specific engagement, like watching a video.
One of the most common Google Analytics goal for beginners is destination. It’s a great way to measure how many total conversions you have. Plus, you can leverage goals with your traffic sources to really dive into which sources are driving conversions. Pretty useful, right?
Since you only have 20 goals, you may want to consider having a generic thank you page if you have a lot of opt-ins. Then, deliver your freebie with an email message instead of a landing page. This incentivizes users to confirm their subscription to your list (to get their opt-in) and allows you to measure your goals. You can always analyze which pages were driving conversions and identify your opt-ins from there.
If you’re using UTM parameters to measure more specific campaigns, then you’ll want to use “begins with” as your destination. For example, I created a goal to see how often my “services” page was visited.
A funnel can help you analyze how you expect people to move through your site, and how accurate that prediction is. For a virtual assistant or graphic designer site, I may expect you to visit my homepage, click through to services, and then visit the “contact me” page. My goal would be set for the contact page, with the home and services pages as steps in the funnel.
Creating session length and pages per session goals is straightforward. The biggest decision you need to make is what is considered a successful goal? For most bloggers, you probably want more time on your site and more page views per session. Higher numbers here mean that you’re developing sticky content that people are spending more time on, and they’re digging further into your site. On the other hand, if you’re measuring goals on a customer support site, you may want fewer page views or shorter visits to indicate that people are getting the information they need quickly.
The last method, Event, is the most complex to set up. In order to use an Event Goal, you must first have an Event created. Those events are things like actual PDF downloads, watching a video, using external links, etc. Here’s the Google Guide to Events.
If you’re just getting started with Google Analytics, focus on your destination, duration, and page views per session goals.
For more advanced tips on setting goals, KissMetrics has a great, in-depth article: 4 Google Analytics Goal Types That Are Critical To Your Business.
Read Part 1: Google Analytics for Beginners >>
Read Part 2: Google Analytics Glossary >>
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