Google Analytics: Goals and Conversions

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Last updated May 2015

Most businesses judge the success of their website through sales and enquiries, and Analytics provides a sophisticated tool enabling accurate measurement. While Analytics provides an abundance of useful data on visitor numbers and behaviour, its use as a financial tool really lies in being able to set up business goals or conversions, and even assign them a monetary value.

Setting Up Goals

There are several ways in which you can describe a goal to Google Analytics. To set one up, head into the Admin section of your Google Analytics dashboard and under the Profile section, select Goals.

This will take you to a screen with the current goals set up for that profile. To add a new one, select Create a Goal.

The type you choose depends on how you want to measure success. Destination URLs are the most common, and if you have a “thank you” page that comes after a subscription, booking or contact form, it’s usually an easy way to record the success of that action.

Most of the goal types are simple to set up. Destination requires a URL (without the www. section, e.g. becomes /thanks.html) while Duration and Pages/Screens per visit just require the number you’re aiming to achieve.

Funnels are a way of tracking how many conversions are achieved through a set sequence of pages. This is useful for determining whether your call to actions have been successful, as well as testing whether your pages are logical to follow.

Setting up Event conversions is a little trickier, but it can be used to record many different types of action including downloads or video plays. It’s especially important for media rich websites and requires some additional coding. The official Google guide offers some useful pointers for setting it up, and you can set different categories and labels to track multiple elements on a page. By doing this you record the action of clicking rather than the pageview, so it’s also useful if the media is hosted outside of your website or opens in a new window such as a PDF download.

Conversions Report

Once you’ve set up your goals, it’s time to measure success. Google Analytics has a whole report dedicated to providing in-depth information about conversions and audience behaviour surrounding them.

Under the Conversions section in the left hand menu, select Goals. there are a number of ways you can examine the data that has been gathered.

  • Overview – A summary of your goal completions including conversion rate and any monetary value that has accrued.
  • Goal URLs – Information about the pages on which the goals were completed.
  • Reverse Goal Path– Starting at the page the goal was completed on, the reverse goal path shows how visitors arrived at that point through the website.
  • Funnel Visualisation & Goal Flow – Both designed to show how visitors progress through the site and which pages they clicked to arrive at the goal, but with some subtle differences between them. The Google blog goes into detail about the strength and shortfalls of each report.

You can also build your own customised report that focuses on the areas that are most essential to your business.

Assigning Monetary Value

A crucial part of the conversions metric is assigning a monetary value to your conversions so that you can understand how much value your site is adding to your business. This is absolutely essential if you are using Pay Per Click advertising, as it will show whether or not you are making your money back from your investment. This isn’t always easy to do, but it’s certainly worth it.

For example, if you are tracking website callbacks as a conversion, you might try the following:

  • By studying your data, you know that on average you convert 1 in 10 callbacks to make a sale.
  • You determine that the average sale price you make is $500.
  • You could assign a value of $50 to your Request a Callback goal, because you know that on average you convert 10% of $500.

The key is that you need to update the goal value based on your company historical data, but is worth the effort in tracking your online ROI.

You can use conversion information to determine which pages are most successful in guiding users to the next step, and optimise your website accordingly. Set goals that represent real value for your business, and get data that helps you improve sales and enquiries.

Related Posts: Getting Started, An Introduction To Top Reports, Building A Custom Dashboard, In-Page Analysis, Sharing Data, Social Media



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Katie is a lover of words and art, born and raised in Christchurch. With a BA in English and Japanese, she’s happiest tapping away at her keyboard writing copy or articles, or else working on the latest illustration. To balance the creative side, Katie is also very motivated and a bit of a perfectionist, which helps with her SEO duties. Although her hobbies could probably be described as art, art and more art, she also enjoys long walks, good friends and travel.

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