Goals: make google analytics tell you something useful

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 1.31.29 PMEverybody loves looking at Google Analytics, but for the most part, it doesn’t really tell you anything that helpful. Sure, it’s nice to know how many people visited your website or how much of your traffic comes from phones vs. computers. Beyond the “nice to know” level of that information, wouldn’t it be nice to get something from all that data that can actually help grow your business?

Enter Goals.

This little understood, often overlooked tool within Google Analytics may just be the most powerful reason to have analytics in the first place. Simply put, goals are the way you can ask questions of your website and have it track the answers. If you have an E-Commerce site, you may be familiar with the Conversions section in there to track your online sales (if you do have an online store and you’re not tracking ecommerce data, stop right now, email me, and let me help you get that setup). For everyone else, goals can be setup to automatically track just about anything you can think of on your website.

Example – We want to know how many people look at our Porfolio page and then go to the Web Design page.

To answer that just go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages, click on the web design page, then add a secondary dimension that shows the previous page path. This would give you the answer to that question, but what if that is something you do all the time and want make a report of that “conversion”?

Web Design traffic from Portfolio page

How to create the goal
Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 1.27.46 PMAt the top of your Analytics window are 4 options (Home, Reporting, Customization & Admin). Click the “Admin” option. On the far right of that page is the “View” column, which has a “Goals” option a couple down from the top. Click that link and it will load the Goals page. You should see a big red button that says “NEW GOAL”…click that button. There are some pre-fab goals you can look over to get some more ideas, but for this goal we’re going to build a custom goal (it should be the last one in that list).

  1. Give your goal a name: we’ll use “Porfolio to Web Design” for ours
  2. For the type, select “Destination”, and enter the part of the url after the “.com/”. Ours is “services/web-design
  3. Toggle the “Funnel” option on and enter the steps before that page you are wanting to track. Make sure to toggle the “Required?” to yes.
  4. Click the “Verify” link to make sure everything is setup properly. If this is a relatively new goal or there haven’t been any of them in the last 7 days, this will show 0%…don’t worry, everything should still work just fine.
  5. Click Save to finish it up.

When you start getting goal completions, you can view them by going to Conversions > Goals > Overview. Take a look at one we recently setup for a client.

Analytics Goal Overview

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