Featured Article

How to Set the Right Google Analytics Goals for Your Business Website


Google Analytics goals help marketers measure how well their website meets target objectives. But do you know the most valuable website actions and conversions to track for your business?

If you’re unsure, or are undertaking a website redesign or rebrand, just ask yourself a simple question: why do you have a website in the first place?

The answer needs to be more specific than, “Because it’s the 21st century.”

Generally speaking, company websites fit into three core categories — ecommerce, lead generation, and content — each of which has a target objective:

  • Ecommerce Website: Goal is for users to buy something.
  • Lead Generation Website: Goal is for users to complete a form.
  • Content Website: Goal is for users to sign up to receive content (email lists, RSS feeds, etc.) or engage with the brand community (add comments, share content, complete surveys, etc).

Once you’ve identified the overarching objective for your website, it’s easy to figure out how to measure your progress with Google Analytics goals.

Related article in Budgeting & PlanningGoogle Analytics for Marketers: How to Track Your Website's PerformanceSeptember 12, 2016 by Kara Burney

The three main types of Google Analytics goals are:

  • Destination Goals: Destination goals allow you to track when visitors reach a particular page or set of pages on your website. Common examples include tracking when visitors reach “thank you,” “order completed,” or “add to cart” pages.
  • Engagement Goals: Engagement goals allow you to track on-site activity, such as the amount of time visitors spend on your site, how many pages they visit, and what actions they take.
  • Event Goals: Event goals allow you to track when visitors perform an action on your site, such as watching a video, sharing a post on social media, or clicking an ad.

Keep in mind that it is entirely possible for different parts of your website to serve different purposes.

For example, the goals for a website’s product pages are often to encourage visitors to complete transactions or submit forms, which are measured using destination goals. However, the purpose of the same website’s blog might be to get a user to read more content and share articles, which would be measured using engagement and event goals, respectively.

How to set up a destination goal
Destination goals equate reaching a particular webpage with a conversion. As discussed, common examples include reaching an order confirmation or “thank you” page. To create a destination goal, designate the final page URL or domain URL structure in the Destination field.

If this is one specific URL, then set the Destination field as Equals to URL. If you want to match a specific URL and account for all UTM parameters associated with it, use the Begins With filter. If you want to match multiple URLs with varying subdomains and/or UTM parameters, use the Regular expression filter.

You can also set up destination goals to match a particular funnel, or a specific sequence of steps on your website. To use this feature, select the Funnel option, and add a step for each additional page you want a user to visit in sequence.

How to set up an engagement goal
Engagement goals fall into two main categories: duration goals, which allow you to set a specific time on site threshold to equal a conversion, and pages per session goals, which allow you to set a goal threshold around the number of pages a visitor views per session.

Put simply, if a visitor spends enough time on your site or clicks through enough pages, then they’ll trigger an engagement conversion.

How to set up an event goals
Event goals measure visitor interactions with your website, such as video views, downloads, and actions (such as pausing a video, for example). To designate which events you want to measure on your website, you must first set up Events, which requires you to add Event tracking code to your website.

How to assign value to a goal in Google Analytics

Google Analytics goals can be assigned monetary values as well. To define the value of a goal, consider the revenue or business impact that results from a web visitor completing the desired action.

Goal value for ecommerce conversions
Let’s say you’re an ecommerce company and you set a destination goal for users who reach the “order submitted” or “thank you” page on your website. The most straightforward value for this goal is the average sales price for your online orders. If your average online order value is $100, then that particular goal completion is worth $100 to your business.

Want to get more granular with ecommerce tracking? Google Analytics also offers the ability to measure revenue from every ecommerce transaction. To enable this functionality, requires users to add ecommerce tracking code to your website and enable it in your Google Analytics instance.

Once enabled, Google Analytics’ ecommerce tracking will record the value of each ecommerce goal completion under Revenue in your ecommerce reports, rather than the Goal Value. In this case, however, it is still advisable to set a destination goal for your “order submitted” thank you page, but leave the goal value blank.

Why? Because this goal will allow you to measure what percentage of website visitors actually complete a purchase.

Goal value for form completions
Assigning values for Google Analytics goals can get more complicated for actions that are not directly linked to purchase. For example, let’s say you run marketing for a B2B enterprise software company. Your website likely serves a lead generation function, where completion of a “Request a Demo” or “Request Pricing” form is a high-value conversion.

However, not every individual who completes one of these key forms will turn into a customer.

To place a monetary value on these goal completions, simply back out the value of your average sales price using your business’s average conversion rates.

For example, if the average sales price for your software is $10,000, but only one percent of people who complete this form result in a sale, then this goal completion is worth $100 on average to your business.

How to use Google Analytics goals to evaluate marketing performance

The TrackMaven marketing analytics platform provides marketing teams with the ability to visualize and report on the metrics found in Google Analytics, including website traffic, conversions, goal completions, goal conversions, goal revenue, and sales by channel. In addition, metrics from a business’s social networks, ads, marketing automation, CRM platforms, and more can be visualized alongside metrics from Google Analytics in order to identify correlations and room for improvement.

Google Analytics data and UTM parameters are the foundations for tracking social media ROI. Learn more at trackmaven.com/social-roi.

Proving the value of social media and content is difficult — but not impossible. We created The Marketer’s Field Guide to Social and Content Marketing Attribution to show you how to prove your impact. Get your free copy now!

Social and Content Marketing Attribution: The Marketer's Field GuideYes! I want this!