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How to Set Achievable Google Analytics Goals

Posted on: December 3rd, 2014 by John

How to Set Achievable Google Analytics Goals

Using the goal function in Google Analytics can be an intense experience for anyone who has never used it before. There is a lot of information that it presents to you, and much of it seems unconnected or extraneous. But the fact is, using Analytics goals can be extremely useful if you know how to properly set it up. Here are some ways that you can make Google Analytics goals work for you.

Logging In & Setting Up Goals

Once you have logged into your Analytics account, you need to go to the setup panel. This isn’t where you see Goal Results. Your setup panel is actually accessed by clicking on the sprocket in the upper-right corner. You’ll see the ‘Goals’ tab and then the profile below that.

You can set a maximum of 5 goal-sets and then have a maximum of five goals within each set. You want to think carefully about what you decide to put in these sections because changing them isn’t as easy as just deleting them and starting a new one. You want to set up goals that will allow you to view a great deal of information for one specific goal, so you don’t have to break your goals down to their very basic parts – at least at first.

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Three Goals for E-Commerce

If you are running an e-commerce site, then you want to figure out what the bottom-line goal is for your website. It is usually three basic objectives: First, did the visitor search for and find something that they wanted. Second, did they add it to their shopping cart. Finally, did they complete the transaction. Depending upon what kind of website you have, you might not have an actual shopping cart, but the idea is the same.

It is valuable to understand how a visitor to your site navigates through the search, and you want them to finish searching for the product that they want, so the first goal that you set might be “complete a search.” Your next step will be to make the goal “Active” and set the goal type. You might want to use URL destination, Time on Site or Pages per Visit, but URL destination is a good starting point for this type of goal.

On Goal Details, you want to put in the URL that you want your visitors to get to. For example, if you have a URL that they come to when completing a quick search, you can put that in. However, if you use session ID or parameters in your URLs then you’ll have to enter wildcards or the goal won’t work. But you don’t have to worry about that right now. Also, make sure that you check to box if you have case-sensitive URLs.

Now, you’ll set up the goal funnel, or the way that visitors can achieve the goal. The boxes for the funnel will appear and you decide what steps a visitor should or could take to reach the goal. However, keep in mind that first, you want to keep it simple, like homepage, content pages, goal page. Second, you don’t want to make them required steps because then you will lose other ways that visitors might reach your goal, and that will provide you with valuable information. You’ll see every single way that visitors enter and arrive at your goal as long as you don’t make them required steps.

Watch Your Results

Now, your going to save your goals and watch your results. If you don’t have a thank you page, then you won’t be able to track it normally, so you’ll have to set up virtual pages that will help you track sales. This can be a little technical but with some practice you can figure it out. The main thing is to understand whether or not you are achieving your goal, and more importantly, why you’re not achieving it. This will allow you to make adjustments in the way that your website is set up, and to learn more about your website, and improve the percentage of people that are making it from point A to point B. And that is exactly the purpose of Google Analytics.




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