Google Analytics is a powerful tool in any search marketing agency’s arsenal. It can provide insight and analysis into your website’s traffic like no other competitor can. Understanding who comes to your website and how they use it can help you make decisions on how to improve your business’s offerings and draw more customers.
Why do I need to set goals in Analytics?
Once you set up your Google Analytics, you need to set goals. They can:
Track how many people “convert” or take an action on your website
Assign value to conversions, which can help determine the business’s bottom line
Help evaluate the success of online campaigns
Provide data on how to improve the effectiveness of ads and landing pages
Traffic is an important metric, but compared to your business goals, traffic can be a vanity number. The more important figure is the money your business makes through certain links or actions taken online.
If you sell clothes, a product purchase can be considered a goal. If you run a blog, a mailing list signup is your goal. You can have more than one goal, but you have to have at least one.
So let’s take a look at the steps involved.
How do I set up a goal on Google Analytics?
Brainstorm your goals
What do you want to track on your website? How many people sign up for your service? The total number of downloads for a certain software product, or contact forms sent in? Think about what your business does and how to track it.
Here is a list of popular goals in Google Analytics:
Contact Us or User Sign Up sheets – One of the most common conversions tracked. An interest or sign up form gives you an email address, which then allows you to repeatedly reach out using drip campaigns.
Bookings, Reservations, Tickets, or Product Sale – Selling an item or a pass to a service has a direct value you can track.
Social bookmarking/ sharing – Track who shares pages on social media, or which of your users come from a particular social network.
File Download – Offering a free resource is a great way to show your company’s expertise in a value-providing way.
Whichever goal best applies to you, you’ll want to set it up in Google Analytics.
Login and go to Goals
Log in to Analytics, then click on the gear in the bottom left to access the Admin panel.
Next, click on Goals, under View.
Click on +New Goal at the top, and this will bring you to the Goal setup page.
Setting up your Goal
Next, from the template, select your goal. Maybe it’s to get reservations for a ticket or to get more people to view a product. Choose the option that best suits the goal you’re trying to track. Don’t worry if you want to track more, you’ll have the opportunity to add more later on. You can also utilize Google’s Smart Goals which help assign the “best sessions” as conversions if you’re not tracking conversions already. You can read more on their official page here. If you can’t find the right one, just click Custom.
Under Goal Description, there are four types:
Destination: a landing page such as “/thank-you.html”
Duration: a requirement for the user to spend a certain amount of time on a page
Pages/ Screens per session: the number of pages per instance of opening the domain
Event: playing a video, tracking a download, etc.
If you were to use destination, include the landing page URL for your web page. Select “Begins with” in the drop down.
Assigning Goal Values and Micro Goals
If you want, you can assign a value for your goal. For example, if you believe a person sending in an application cost $10, you can assign that amount. This can be helpful tracking multiple conversions and how they may affect your balance sheets.
There’s also funnel options to analyze where and when your users enter and exit the website. This involves adding various steps for each screen or page and giving it a title or label. If someone is buying a product for example, maybe putting an object in the shopping cart can count as a “microtransaction.” This helps you pinpoint where customers tend to drop off (maybe they abandon their cart before checkout?) and which pages they spend the most time on.
Finally, verify and save the goal and you’re all set!
Setting a goal isn’t enough. You need to track it weekly and monthly to determine how to improve your conversions. By analyzing how your users interact with your website, where they come from, and who they are, you’re in a better position to deliver the content they’re looking for faster and with more reliability than your competitors.