Conversions & Goals on Google Analytics

The most common questions about setting up conversions and goals in Google Analytics gets ansered.

How do I set up conversion goals in Google Analytics?

In Google Analytics, you can set up to 20 goals for each view. 20 goals may not seem like enough, but in my experience, it is more than enough.

The first step in setting goals is to define your business objectives and KPIs. It’s best to create a measurement plan and discuss it with your marketing team, business development manager and CEO so that all your team members are on the same page.

Here are some examples of measurement plans:

In these examples, you can see that they have three to five business goals and about 10 KPIs. When you start to configure goals in Google Analytics, you need to focus on KPIs. You will hardly ever need more than 10 goals, which will keep your configuration simple.

I have seen many clients who have 20 goals configured in their GA account, but because there are so many of them, it is not clear which is important and worth focusing on and which is not as important. That is why I recommend configuring the minimum number of goals possible.

If you still think you really need more goals, it is helpful to create different views for different business objectives. You will still use KPIs as goals, but in each of them you will have only goals that belong to this particular business objective.

Keeping goals and views structured is more complicated than the technical task of configuring them.

Technically there are five types of goals in Google Analytics; they are:

  1. Destination
  2. Duration
  3. Pages/Screens per session
  4. Event
  5. Smart Goals

You can find more information about each type of goal here.

See how to set up goals here.

Of all of these goals, destination is the one that is used most often and that may be the most complicated to configure. Destination is the only type of goal for which a funnel may be configured.

Often, however, you need to configure a funnel for a sequence of events, not a sequence of pageviews. In this case, virtual pageview will be helpful for you. Virtual pageview is a pageview hit that is sent to Google Analytics with some event other than pageview—for example, with the click of a button or the submission of a form. In this case, the virtual pageview path can be used as goal destination or as one of the funnel steps.

Virtual pageview can be sent to Google Analytics in a number of different ways, like other hits: JavaScript, Google Tag Manager or the Measurement Protocol. This article explains how to send a virtual pageview with JavaScript and Google Tag Manager, the two most popular ways.

Do I have to change my website code in order to define conversions?

Unfortunately, yes. Since Google Analytics is not really conversions oriented and more is focused on visitors and sessions, it still doesn’t allow you to manually set conversions like Oribi and Heap do, and you still have to make code changes for each conversion you want to track on your website.

Click here to learn how to set up conversions on your site with Google Analytics.

What is the difference between “goals” and “events” in Google Analytics?

An event is an interaction-based hit that is sent to Google Analytics (with JavaScript, Google Tag Manager, Measurement Protocol, etc.). Other examples of events are pageview/screenview, transaction and social interactions. A goal, on the other hand, is something that is configured in Google Analytics as an important benchmark for the business in question.

Goals can be configured based on the URLs a user has visited, session duration, number of pages viewed, event or quality of session (smart goal).

If you have advanced configuration of your Google Analytics, you will see multiple event categories, but only a few of them should be configured as goals. If you have only basic setup for your Google Analytics and do not track any goals, you can still configure conversions for destination, session duration, number of pages viewed or smart goals.

There’s a better way to track conversions and get more of them. Oribi will automatically track 100% of you site conversions and will help you to easily understand how you got them, and how to get more of them. Try it for Free.

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