Goals in Google Analytics — Why It’s A No-Brainer
In my previous post, Google Analytics A Good Place To Begin Collecting Data, I stress the importance of setting up your data collection system properly (Google Analytics is a great place to start data collection). Then focus on learning how to interpret that data.
You don’t have to be a “Google Analytics Wizard” in order to see many benefits from Google Analytics. However, you have to learn enough to achieve effective results. It’s not enough just to track things and create reports, you have to know what it all means for you and your business growth.
While setting up Google Analytics on your site by placing your code, there is so much more you can do!
Do you remember your initial goals for your business? (Besides making sales!). Why not take out your business plan and review it again. What were the main goals you had in mind? What do you think is important or even crucial to track in order to figure out the health of your business?
In my opinion, in order to track the most important activities taking place on your site, you will need to set up Goals in Google Analytics.
Pageviews, traffic sources, site visitors… are all important, to be sure, but what is even more important?
Here are some things most of us should be tracking:
Email List Signups
Types of Goals You Can Track
Once you know what you want to track, then you have to choose the best option for tracking these things.
- URL Destination Goals: This type of goal tracks specific URLs on your site. Whenever someone goes to the specified URL, they trigger the associated Goal. This is a great choice for Thank You Pages, Cofirmation Pages, and PDF Downloads.
Goal Funnel: A series of pages leading up to the Goal Destination. A great example would be where you take the site visitor through the steps to check out using your shopping cart. This then leads them to the completion of a sale (which is the goal).
Goal Funnels will allow you to see what your potential customers are doing at each step of your marketing process. This is important for your overall effectiveness. Wouldn’t you want to know how many and where your customers are abandoning your shopping cart? This crucial information will point you to exactly where your sales process needs fixing.
I highly recommend that you build a Goal Funnel for your check out/shopping cart to see how many people complete the sales process all the way through to a sale. Find out how many people move through the funnel between the shopping cart (just browsing) to the payment page (actually purchasing and completing a sale). What would this information be worth to you?
When you desire this kind of in-depth information, you have to make it mandatory (select “Required”) so that your potential customer moves through a series of pages to get to the purchase at the end. Your Goal Funnel is limited to 10 total steps. You will have to see if that works for your particular goal. If not, you could split the funnel into two separate goals.
2. Visit Duration Goals: This is very straightforward. This tracks how many people stay on your site for a certain length of time. It’s also useful to track site visits that are below a specific time limit. This data shouldn’t be taken literally.
Let me give you an example. If someone comes to your site and visits a page, a timestamp is generated. If they click and visit a second page, we get another timestamp. But, what if they leave after the second page visit? We cannot at this point know how long they stayed on your site after the second timestamp. These types of Goals when comparing the data over time. Watch for trends to determine actual site effectiveness. This information is particularly important for customer service-type sites.
3. Page/Visits Goals: This goal tracks the number of pages a potential customer sees before they leave your site.
4. Event Goals: In order for Google Analytics to track an event, it will be necessary to a a bit of code to the element you desire to track. (Don’t worry, this is easy. If you want to know how to do this, just click here for The Google Analytics Event Tracking Guide). Keep in mind, you cannot use Event Goals in a funnel. As I stated above, you have to set up a step-by-step series of pages (URLs), including the Goal. If that is not what you are going for, you will have to use virtual pageviews instead.
What is really great is that you can track just about anything with Google Analytics Events. Some of the more important things to track might be:
Video Watching Duration
Social Media Button Clicks
External Link Clicks
You can track just about any interaction on your site from your site visitors with Goal Events. How cool is that?
Now that you see just what data you can collect using Google Analytics Goal Setting, don’t you think it’s worth the time to add these tools to your overall business plan?
How To Get Started With Setting Up Your Goals
In order to start setting up your Goals in Google Analytics, just do this:
- Log in to your Google Analytics Account. Select “Admin.”
- Click on “Goals.”
Just click the red button in the upper left corner, +New Goal.
Follow your business plan, decide what is crucial for your business to track, then implement your plan using Google Analytics Goals.
To your success,