Google Whisperer’s Guide to Goals in Google Analytics

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Google Whisperer’s Guide to Goals in Google Analytics

Goals. We all have them in all parts of our lives with the things we want to accomplish in a day, week, month or year. The same applies for your data in Google Analytics. Your website is designed to elicit certain actions and responses and you should be counting them. This week we’re going to break down everything you need to set up goals (and check them) in Google Analytics.

2 types of goals in Google Analytics

The path to Google Analytics goals doesn’t start in the Google Analytics UA but rather a pen and paper for a good old fashioned list. Make a list of all the important actions people can take on your website. What are all the user actions you want to track? What activity is most important on your website? When thinking about the most important actions make sure they are actions that show a user intent that will help you make decisions.

Once you have your list you need to separate those into one of the two buckets: “gave you something” and “did something”. The “gave you something” bucket is all the conversions on your site: i.e. how many emails were submitted, phone calls done, purchases made. These conversions should all be represented in their own goal in your Google Analytics account.

The “they did something” bucket is for all the other actions on your list. Since Google Analytics only gives you twenty goals, this is the place you may have to edit actions out. Do I need a goal for every “see next photo” click on a product page? Probably not. Do I need a goal that groups all the different product interactions into one main goal? Yes.

google analytics goal screen

Once you have all the possible website interactions sorted it’s time to make your goals. In your Google Analytics account, click on the gear in the bottom left hand side to access the admin panel. From there, look at the far right column for the view and click into the goals section. As you set up each goal, make sure to give it a descriptive name that you will remember later. Your goal type is either Destination or Event. Your website needs to be passing events into Google Analytics in order to use those events as goals. If your website isn’t doing that, you will have to use GTM to create event triggers. Google Whisperer Pro Tip: when setting up goals, make sure to verify the goal would pass data before hitting save.

With that your goals are set up in Google Analytics. The great thing about doing the work to get goals organized is that it will open up a whole new set of custom attribution models for your reporting needs. Our next stop on this journey to attribution is setting up custom data modeling in the new attribution beta in Google Analytics. And don’t worry. If I lost you in the land of attribution, reach out and I am happy to help anytime!


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