Google Analytics Goals represent a completed activity, called a conversion, which measures how well your site accomplishes your business objectives. Properly-configured goals allow Google Analytics to measure the number and rate of conversions, enabling you to evaluate the effectiveness of your website and marketing campaigns.

This post, Google Analytics: How to Define Website Goals, was first published on WebMarketingToday.

Goal Types

Google Analytics lets you define four different goal types:

  • Destination. A specified web page loads. Most commonly, this is the “thank you” page at the end of an ecommerce transaction but could also be the page that appears once a site visitor submits a contact form for a lead generation landing page.
  • Duration. User sessions on your site that last a specified minimum amount of time.
  • Pages Per Session. A defined minimum number of pages load. This metric measures visitor engagement and represents the number of pages a site visitor views per session.
  • Event. The user conducts a specified action, such as viewing a video or clicking on an ad.

Create Goals Using Google Analytics Solutions Gallery

Create goals step-by-step or import them from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery.

You can create goals either step-by-step or by importing them from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery.

Use the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery to find goals.

Google Analytics’ experts like Avinash Kaushik, Justin Cutroni, and the Google Analytics Team, among others, have contributed preconfigured, templated goals, dashboards, reports, and segments to the Solutions Gallery.

You can implement these prototypes in your Google Analytics account by selecting them from the Gallery, or search the Gallery for ideas to create originals of your own.

The Gallery is particularly helpful for goals involving the use of “regular expressions,” where you attempt to match data to an encoded pattern.

Other reasons to use the Gallery include getting ideas for goal-setting metrics you might not have considered and saving time if what you had considered is complicated.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t moderate the solutions in the Gallery for quality or accuracy, so “caveat emptor” if you select a goal by someone you don’t know or trust.

You can search the Gallery for specific keywords and sort by the most popular, latest, or highest-rated. As with most sorting options, be aware of the number of ratings that the “highest rated” Gallery results show. A five-star rating by a single reviewer, for example, isn’t necessarily as good as a 4.5 average rating by a thousand reviewers.

Search the Gallery for specific keywords and sort by the most popular, latest, or highest-rated.

You can also filter the Gallery by ranking on a scale of one to five. This allows you to select a solution that has a higher ranking or open up options to all solutions regardless of their rank.

Filter the Gallery by ranking and category.

When adding a new goal, Google Analytics provides pre-defined configurations for Revenue, Acquisition, Inquiry, or Engagement. You can also create a Custom Goal if you want to set up one specific to your website’s needs.

Choose a pre-defined goal configuration or create a Custom Goal.

Sample Goal: Email Newsletter Signup

Since many sites have email newsletters, we will use an email newsletter sign up with a “thank you” page as the example for the goal setup. You can find the template for “Engagement > Sign up” in the Solutions Gallery, as shown in the image above.

After selecting the sign up template, give the goal a name that explains the conversion objective. In our example, “Newsletter Signup” describes the purpose of the conversion.

We will select the “Destination Goal” since we’ve specified that the newsletter sign up thank you page is how we know the conversion is completed.

Select a goal name that explains the conversion objective.

In addition to entering the thank you page URL in the destination field, you have the option of adding a goal value, which is a monetary amount assigned to the conversion.

Each time a user completes the goal, that number is recorded and then added together with other completed goal values. (You can see it in the Google Analytics reports as listed as “Goal Value.”)

Although assigning a goal value is optional, doing so can help you evaluate the monetary significance of conversions to determine their effect on ROI. Google Analytics also uses goal value data to calculate other metrics, such as ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).

Destination goals offer options to include a Goal Value and a Conversion Funnel.

If using a dollar figure doesn’t seem appropriate, you can utilize a consistent numeric scale to weight and compare conversions. For example, you can give low-value goals a “1” and high-value goals a “10.”

When selecting a Destination Goal, you can also optionally specify the path — called a “conversion funnel” — you expect traffic to take to get to the Destination URL.

When you define steps in the funnel, Google Analytics records where users enter and exit the path on the way toward your goal. You can see the conversion funnel information in the “Funnel Visualization” and “Goal Flow” reports.

Funnel Visualization shows the path that users are expected to take to reach the destination URL.

Goal Flow reports help to see where traffic drops off by Source.