How to set up goals in Google Analytics?

How to set up goals in Google Analytics Web analytics

Goals in Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools with which you can set up tracking of any criterion: from the number of visitors who are interested in a video on any page of a web resource, to the number of those who placed the product in the basket.

Information! One of the most important skills of an Internet marketer is the ability to work with goals in Google Analytics. Tracking them gives access to information about which of the advertising channels used is more profitable, allows you to form audience segments and detect flaws in the design of a web page.

The toolkit of the service is so extensive that it seems intimidating for those who are just starting to work with it. In this article, we will try to dispel all fears and drive away self-doubt by telling you how to add goals to Google Analytics and what to do to make their use as productive as possible.

What types of goals can be set up in Google Analytics?

  1. Landing page – within the framework of this criterion, the system captures each entry to a given page, for example, the one that appears in front of the visitor after he successfully places an order;
  2. Session duration – for such a task, you can set the minimum required time spent on the site before performing the target action, which will be counted by the system;
  3. The number of pages viewed per session – makes it possible to assess whether users go to additional pages or are content with the one they came to. This is very important for information portals, blogs, etc.;
  4. Event – You can track any interaction of the visitor with the interface elements of the web resource. For example, it often becomes necessary to record clicks on a certain button or copy an email address;
  5. Smart Goals is a dedicated tool that uses machine learning algorithms. To launch it, a large amount of accumulated information is required – at least five hundred clicks on Google Ads over the past month. By analyzing all traffic, the system determines the characteristics of such sessions that are most likely to lead to a conversion. Based on the resulting data, goals are formed.

Micro conversions and macro conversions

All the goals listed above can be divided into macro conversions and micro conversions. The most important for business, of course, are macro conversions. These include buying, placing an order, requesting a callback. They usually portend a profit.

However, micro conversions are also very important. They can help generate income in the future. In GA you can track:

  • adding a product to the cart;
  • registration on the site;
  • questions in online chat;
  • publish reviews;
  • subscribing to a mailing list;
  • visiting the contact page.

Setting goals in Google Analytics per view is limited to twenty positions. If you need to track more target actions, you can duplicate the current view by copying the data and adding 20 new positions.

How do I create goals in Google Analytics?

To get familiar with the aspects that are important when creating goals in Google Analytics, let’s look at what they are and how to work with each of them:

Landing page

At the first step, we collect a list of landing sites and sections of the online platform where you want to bring the user in order for him to perform the desired action. Detailed tasks in accordance with the features of the web resource. So, it is important for the owner of a service-related business to know how many visitors went to the “Contacts” after visiting the section with services.

Let’s try to figure out how to set goals in Google Analytics using this example.

Click on the “Goals” link after going to the “Administrator” section:

Create goals in Google Analytics

Click on “+Target”, go down to the bottom of the page, ignoring the list of built-in templates that appears, select “Custom” and click the “Next” button:

Custom target type

Come up with a desirable, meaningful name and indicate it. After that, the target list is configured. Click on Landing Page, then click on Continue. In the “Transition” field, specify the part of the web resource where the visitor needs to get to (in our case, this is “Contacts”):

Address of landing page to navigate to

Find the “Sequence” module, designed to create a chain of pages that the site visitor will open on the way to the “Contacts” page, if necessary, enter their addresses and save.

Session duration

To create the goal “Duration of visit”, you should go all the way described in the example just discussed, up to the stage of determining the type of goal. In the module of the same name, specify “Duration” and click on “Detailed information about the goal”, set the desired duration and save the changes:

How to add session duration goal

Pages per session

Setting the Pages or Screens Per Session goals doesn’t require any special knowledge or skills. Again we go through the path from the previous example, but as the type we select “Pages / screens per session” and specify the name. Then enter the required number and save.

All settings can be duplicated several times by specifying a new number of pages/screens in each copy.

Event tracking

The “Events” goal, unlike the previous one, is quite difficult to set up and requires some experience, especially if you decide to control numerous events. Let’s consider such a setting on the example of tracking the filling of a form.

Create an event in the system by following all the steps from the tasks described earlier and selecting the appropriate type. Do not forget to enter information in the “Action” and “Category” fields, indicating what we are tracking and what user actions we want to record. In our example, in the “Category” field, you must specify “form”, and in the “Action” paragraph – “send”:

Event tracking

Label and Value are optional. Save your changes.

In order for information about the achievement of a given goal to become visible in GA, you need to upload it there. One way is to use Google Tag Manager.

To send information via GTM, we select the parameters of the required element and use them to fix the required action (for example, the class or ID of the desired form). We create a trigger with the “Form Submission” type. Execution condition associated with the element contained in the form:

Adding a trigger to Google Tag Manager

We create a tag with the Universal Analytics type and the “Event” tracking type. Set a settings variable that includes your Google Analytics ID:

Google Analytics account ID

Next, you will need to select the trigger that we established earlier.

How to check if goals have been added?

To test adding goals to Google Analytics, use the Check Goal button. If everything is done correctly, then information will appear on how many times the goal has been achieved over the past week (provided that the analytics system has been working for the entire specified time):

Check previously set target

In addition, it is important to know how to control the given targets in real time. Try to perform one of the targeted actions yourself and check if this conversion was included in the report. To do this, go to the “Real-time mode” module and select “Conversions” there. If information about the test conversion is present, then everything is fine — the system is working correctly. Otherwise, open the settings and try to find the error.

Can I delete a previously created target?

In Google Analytics, there is no way to delete a previously added goal. But you can turn off data capture by moving the corresponding switch to the inactive position:

Disable data collection for goals in Google Analytics

Advice! If twenty targets have already been created in the current view, the system will not allow you to create the twenty-first if necessary. However, you can change the settings of an existing target.

How to set goals in Google Analytics: practical tips

By following the guidelines below, you will be able to properly set goals in Google Analytics and increase the return on your marketing investments:

When setting goals, consider the sales funnel

For example, the first goal captures the familiarization of the user with a product card, the second captures the placement of one or more items in the cart, the next captures data entry in the order form, and the last captures the submission of the completed form.

If we are talking about a platform where sales are not conducted, then the funnel may look like this: the first goal is considered achieved after clicking on the button that opens the target form, the second is responsible for entering information into the first block, the next one after the second, then until form submission tracking.

A combination of different goals allows you to work flexibly with dynamic remarketing settings, directing ads, for example, to users who put the product in the cart, but did not complete the transaction for some reason.

Use goals to collect an audience for remarketing

Google Analytics toolkit helps with building remarketing lists. The first step is to start collecting a “basic” list, including all visitors to the web resource.

You can segment the audience and collect a detailed portrait of a potential buyer using a combination of different types of target actions. These can be users who have watched the video or visitors who have been studying the text content of your site for a long time, etc. You can also collect information about visitors who left without a purchase, find out at which turn of the sales funnel they most often want to close the tab with the site in the browser.

Analyze the results to refine the site

For example, based on data from analytics, you can refine the linking of internal pages of a web resource. Such links have a positive effect on improving the position of the site in search engines. The collected information about the internal transitions of visitors allows you to analyze the user’s interaction with the site.

Goals allow you to track the effectiveness of offline advertising

For example, your beauty salon is holding an advertising campaign near the metro. The promoter distributes leaflets to people coming home from work. A pavement sign was placed near the neighboring station. The goal is to receive applications on the site, make an appointment with a beautician.

But how to understand which source worked more effectively? Place one landing page on the flyer and another on the pillar. And then create goals in Google Analytics to visit those URLs. Thus, you can optimize the cost of an advertising campaign.

Be mindful of multichannel sequences

The Key Conversion Paths section in Google Analytics will help you understand the path that the user traveled before completing the goal. In many topics, a client does not need only one visit to the site in order to place an order. The first visit may come from a social network (cold traffic), then targeted Google searches and contextual advertising. And in the end – a direct entry to the site and an application.

Attribution tracks all these chains of events until the goal is completed:

Multichannel sequences

Set up an alert

The system can send a notification to the advertiser whenever the conversion for any goal decreases, so that he can respond in a timely and effective manner.

Open the administration panel in your Google Analytics account and go to the “Special Alerts” section, and then set the necessary conditions:

Setting an alert when the conversion of the goal goes down

How to import set goals to Google Ads?

In order to import goals into your Google Ads account, you need to link it to your Analytics account. Find the corresponding item in the “Administrator” submenu:

Link Google Ads and Analytics accounts

Important! Data can be imported only if you have administration rights in Google Ads and the ability to edit your account on one Google mail account.

We continue the process in your Google Ads account and go to the “Tools and Settings” module. There we click on “Conversions” in the “Tracking” section, then on “+”:

Conversion tracking

In the window that appears, look for the link “Import”:

Import data from Google Analytics

Put the cursor in front of Google Analytics and click on “Continue”:

We mark the goals and transactions that are planned to be transferred to the advertising service and click on “Import and Continue”. This is the final step in setting up the import.

Conversion tracking is one of the cornerstones of online marketing. When analyzing the data obtained through a combination of goals with different types, you may come up with ideas to improve the web resource or advertising campaigns.

Why might goals not work?

There are several reasons why Google Analytics goals won’t work. Here are the main ones:

  1. An error occurred while compiling the regular expression. Try to correct the entry. For this, there are special online services that allow you to check the correctness of the RegExp.
  2. Bad target URL. Try copying the landing page URL and pasting it into the search box on the Pages tab. If the system does not find it, then the address is incorrect.
  3. The page is missing a tracking code. This code must be added to all pages of the site for the analytical system to work correctly. However, there are situations when the code does not work on a particular page. For example, different URLs use different patterns. If you add code, the goals will be fixed.
  4. Invalid tracking type. By default, Analytics uses the “Starting at” type. However, in different cases it may be more appropriate to change the tracking type to “Equals” or use a regular expression.
  5. The target is the page being downloaded. For example, you posted a PDF file on a website. Google Analytics cannot track such goals because the tracking code is not included in the document.
Сергей Шевченко
Rate author
Add a comment

Sergey Shevchenko Google Logist GoogleLogist
Google Ads 90 Days Package, will help make your advertising campaign not only profitable, but also increase sales from it