Goals In Google Analytics: A Short Guide

Goals In Google Analytics: A Short Guide

A solid digital measuring plan is built around Google Analytics goals. If you aren’t utilizing goals in Google Analytics, you aren’t getting the most out of the platform.

If you’re utilizing your website to generate business value, you probably have a specific goal in mind that you’d like a visitor to accomplish that represents that value.

In all of its forms and variations, Google Analytics goals are a mechanism to collect data on that value and enable reports to evaluate behavioural, acquisition, and demographic data against that information.

google analytics goals

Goals In Google Analytics: Types And Use Cases

It’s interesting to look at your traffic statistics and see how much of it is organic or social, but what’s even more interesting is to see if those visitors are delivering you commercial value. See, traffic volume may and frequently is a vanity statistic.

You can quantify the value of that traffic by using goals. You can observe whether that traffic is translating into:

  • Leads
  • Customers
  • Trial Signups
  • Email Subscribers
  • Repeat Purchases

You accomplish this by creating Google Analytics goals. In Google Analytics, there are four main methods for putting up goals:

  • Destination (URL)
  • Duration (Time)
  • Pages/visit

A destination goal is simple: it occurs when a specified place on your website is loaded, such as when a visitor visits a Thank You page with a certain URL (such as websit.com/thank-you). Consider it as a user arriving at a certain location.

A duration goal is triggered when a session lasts a certain period or longer. Consider it as a user reaching a specific point in time.

A page per visit goal does exactly what it sounds like: activated when a user visits a certain number of pages or screens during a session. Consider it a user reaching a particular number of locations on your site.

Finally, event goals are when an event occurs. However, they are not the same as goals in terms of how they are set up in Google Analytics or how you may analyze the data.

The Fundamentals Of Setting Up Google Analytics Goals

To begin with, goals, navigate to your Admin panel and select Goals.

You may find the Goals section on the main Admin panel.

Then, to create a new goal, click “+ New Goal.”

To make a new goal, click the red button.

You’ll now be offered a few alternatives, the first of which is to select your target arrangement. You have three basic options for creating goals:

  • Using a goal template
  • Making custom goals
  • Making Smart Goals

To begin, goal templates are likely to be beneficial. These templates are designed to assist you in achieving common business goals such as revenue, acquisition, inquiry, and engagement. They are by far enough for many sites to get you started and gather useful data.

To access relevant templates, modify your property, choose an Industry Category, and save your changes.

Similarly, it’s simple to get started with custom goals. That’s what we’ll use as an example for defining your goals for the rest of the post.

Smart Goals are fascinating. They’re essentially for people who don’t want to set up conversion monitoring and instead use Google’s network of anonymized data to correlate micrometric with high user intent. It was designed for AdWords users, but the general perception in the analytics field is that they are either worthless or ineffective.

How To Create Four Different Types Of Google Analytics Goals (Step By Step)

As previously stated, there are four sorts of Google Analytics goals that you may create:

  • The location (URL)
  • Timeframe (Time)
  • Pages/visit
  • Events

We’ll utilize custom goals in the following examples to demonstrate the various use cases. We’ll go over each one in detail using an example site, but no matter which one you choose, you’ll begin with the following steps:

  1. Decide on the sort of goal you desire (Template, Smart, or Custom).
  2. Click Continue to continue configuring your goal.
  3. Give your goal a distinctive name (you’ll want your team to understand what the goal is measuring).

Select a template, smart goal, or custom goal.

Following then, your setup will be determined by the aim you select (among the four discussed above). We’ll go over each of them in turn, beginning with the most common: destination goals.

Destination Goals

If you pick a destination goal, here’s how you’d put it up:

  1. Select your target URL (for example, /thank-you/).
  2. Determine whether or not to give a monetary value to the goal.
  3. Determine whether you want to create a funnel for your aim.

Creating a destination target for a fictitious ecommerce purchase

With Destination goals, you must decide what the destination’s match type signifies. In essence, this is how and to what extent Google Analytics evaluates whether or not to count a goal depending on the URL.

Choosing a match type in a Destination goal

An “Equals to” match is a rule that requires an identical match. Only the precise URL will function, and it must match every letter in the URL without exception.

If you utilize a lot of UTM parameters, you might consider using the “Begins with” match.

This searches identical characters up to and including the character you select. As a result, if you supply “/thank-you,” query parameters will not corrupt your data if you use the “Begins with” match. You can use regular expressions if you’re an analytics expert. These allow you to tailor your target in even more sophisticated ways.

Setting up destination goals also provides you with the desirable and perhaps quite beneficial option of creating goal funnels.

One thing to keep in mind is the issue with URL tracking in Single Page Applications (SPAs).

Goal Funnels

URL goals also allow us to create visual funnels, which allow us to trace a logical user path from the beginning to the end (i.e. your goal). This allows you to examine how many people complete each stage of the intended trip to the goal. Even better, you can observe where people drop off along the process, giving you valuable CRO knowledge when it comes to improving your site.

One important item to remember (and this applies to any data analytics) is to triple-check the correctness of your target funnel. Within Google Analytics, you can occasionally obtain some wacky statistics and big differences from other data reports.

What you need here isn’t necessarily a full-fledged Google Analytics audit (though that never hurts), but you should surely put it through the common sense test: do things appear to make sense? If not, you may have a problem to solve.

Now that we’ve mastered URL Destination goals let’s move on to the less common goal categories.

Duration Goals

If you were to put up a Duration goal, here is how you’d go about it:

  1. Instead of selecting a Destination target, select Duration. Enter your goal and press the proceed button.
  2. Determine the threshold at which you want to fire a goal.
  3. You may optionally put a monetary value to this Duration target.

Set a Duration goal to trigger once a certain amount of session time has passed.

What is the purpose of establishing a Duration goal?

In most circumstances, getting a measure of engagement on your site and analyzing the variations between the most and least engaged users is all that is required. This is a common use case for helping websites and sites with a clear conversion goal.

However, keep in mind that this is often a “micro-metric” that, while it may correlate with a relevant business statistic such as revenue or customer happiness, does not imply that it causes the meaningful metric.

Pages/Screens Per Session Goals

Following that is a “Pages/Screens per session” target, likewise an engagement-based goal.

Here’s how you’d go about it:

Set a “Pages/Screens per session” target to gauge engagement.

Event Goals

Finally, an event goal is an intriguing goal type. You are aware that events are a method of tracking user interactions on a website to understand their behaviour better. There are three elements to an event:

  • Category
  • Action
  • Label

Setting up event goals is a little more difficult than the others since it involves more than just website architecture or Duration/quantity goals; you must also install event monitoring, which may or may not necessitate the assistance of some technical skill. Once you’ve created an event, you may select criteria based on that event to fire a goal (based on its category, action, label, value, etc.).

In Google Analytics, create an event goal.

But when would you want to employ one of these goals? You’ll be putting up Destination goals; they’re by far the most common for a standard website.

Avoiding Mistakes With Google Analytics Goals

This essay has already covered a lot of ground. You should already be able to create goals and avoid the most typical blunders.

While the precise errors differ, you’ll see that most of them boil down to concentration and decreasing complexity. The more you can sit back and decide what is important for your company, the less problem you will have in the long run.

Final Thoughts On Google Analytics Goals

Google Analytics goals are a must if you want to use the tool and get the most out of it. If you don’t use goals, you’re merely treading on the shallow end of what might be an ocean of knowledge.

It’s not difficult to get started. It’s primarily a matter of determining which tasks are critical to your business, which, depending on your industry, might be very simple (e.g. with an ecommerce or lead generation site).

Certain websites don’t have a clear aim, but even in those circumstances, you’ve seen how engagement and event-based goals may help you define and monitor user behaviour. So there are no excuses.