Discover Opportunities to Improve Your Website
If you aren’t fully utilizing Google Analytics (GA), you’re missing out on valuable data that can help you increase the value of your website. Google Analytics provides a rounded view of the traffic to your website. You’ll find the standard metrics for website traffic (sessions, visitors, time on site, or bounce rate), as well as the ability to split out this data by demographic information or other audiences. Google Analytics also can give quite a bit of insight into the performance of PPC, SEO, or Social Media campaigns once those visitors make it to your website.
But Google Analytics isn’t all about looking at the current state of your site. One of the most underutilized features of GA is the use of goals. These are easy ways to identify where website performance is functioning at a high level or identifying areas of opportunity to increase your return on ad spend and ultimately grow your business.
There are four primary goal types: destination, duration, pages/screens per session, and events. Each provides a different layer of customization based on your business goals and digital marketing campaigns. They also provide the ability to uncover the effectiveness in your PPC Advertising or Social Media Advertising strategies and how they are generating leads or sales on your website. Smart Goals can be combined with other settings in your Google Analytics accounts when connecting Google Ads accounts to maximize campaigns for session and conversions. All goals are easily connected and added as a conversion metric in Google Ads to optimize those campaigns, which is very useful when conversion metrics are less easily trackable on your website or landing page.
Destination goals are the most widely used because they track users to a specified page on your website. This could be a landing page, a thank-you page after a contact form is submitted, or even check-out or shopping cart pages for ecommerce websites. To set up Destination Goals, enter your settings. Under Goals, select Destination as the Goal Type.
1. You’ll enter your destination as the URL using only the URL address, which comes after the forward slash, “/.” For example, use /thankyou.html instead of www.example.com/thankyou.html for a web page
2. Select if you want to only track goal completions that match exactly that URL, contain the URL, or use a regular expression of the URL. You can also select this to be case sensitive, although that is not as common of a field.Regular expressions matching allows for flexible matching across subdomains or subdirectories.
This section of the set up also gives you the opportunity to add a dollar value to the goal, which would report back in the data sections of GA as well. In addition, you can add Funnels here to only capture users/sessions that follow a specific path to conversion. This could be useful if you have multiple landing pages that traffic could enter from or exit from before being able to convert.
3. Once your goal is set up, you can verify that your goal would match any traffic from the last seven days. All goals are forward looking; they cannot provide data retroactively.
That’s it! You’ve set up your goal to start tracking web traffic to specific pages.
Duration and Pages per Session Goals
Let’s look at Duration and Pages per Session goals together. They are very similar in nature and set up. If your website has quite a few pages, long articles, or a number of products listed, these goal types will help you identify a goal time for a website session to be valuable or a certain number of pages that users need to visit to make a purchase.
To set up these goals, visit your settings, and under goals, select the Goal Type of Duration or Pages/Screens per Session.
- Enter the desired amount of time or pages per session that you’ll use as the threshold for tracking.
- You also can add a dollar value to the goal, which would report back in the data sections of GA as well. In addition, you can add Funnels here to only capture users/sessions that follow a specific path to conversion. This could be useful if you have multiple landing pages that traffic could enter from or exit from before being able to convert.
- Once your goal is set up, you have the option to verify that your goal would match any traffic from the last seven days. All goals are forward-looking and do not retroactively provide data.
Event goals are more complicated in their setup, but are sometimes the only option to track an action that isn’t not a simple web page visit or tracking the number of pages visited. These could be clickable buttons on your website, like “Submit,” or “Add to Cart,” for example, or links to outside websites. You’ll need the values of two of the four code snippets to make this happen. These tell the goal which button it should monitor and to track each click or press of the button.
To set up this type of goal, in your GA settings under Goals, select the Event Goal Type.
- Enter values into at least two of the fields that correspond to the button values. Find these in the code. Button values include Category, Action, Label, or Value.
- You then have the option to verify that your goal would match any traffic from the last seven days. As with the other goal categories, only forward-facing data is available.
a. All goals are forward looking, they can not provide data retroactively.
*One note of caution, although this tracking is extremely important and can provide a lot of data, the goal will count each completion as a click of the button. This makes having a fast-loading website even more important.
When you’re looking to more clearly define and track success of your website or paid digital efforts, Google Analytics goals can help you identify where there may be gaps or trends. Use them wisely and often to maximize the strategies you have in place. They’ll give you the tools you need to grow your business through your website.
Stay tuned for more information on Google Analytics eCommerce tracking, including revenue and product monitoring, which we’ll cover in a future guide. To learn how you can improve your digital marketing tactics with Google Analytics and expert strategy, contact us at iFocus Marketing!