How to Set Up Goals in Google Analytics | A Beginners Guide
Setting up goals in Google Analytics has a number of benefits. It will help you assess your customer traffic, develop a better understanding of what you’re able to accomplish, and see how changes to your website are helping you meet those critical goals that have the power to shape your customer relationships and help you meet your sales quotas.
Unfortunately, at first glance, you may struggle to understand just how Google Analytics is set up. If you’re ready to dive in and start tracking those vital goals, these steps will help.
Step One: Understand the Goal Tracking Methods
In Google analytics, you have four main strategies for tracking customer input and data: the specific URLs customers have visited, the amount of time they spend on your website, the number of pages they visit while they’re on your website, and the major events that occur during a specific visit to your website. Understanding how these metrics interact with your business and marketing goals will enable you to create more effective Google Analytics goals, track the right information, and assess how customer traffic is changing over time.
Ultimately, tracking those key goals in Google Analytics will help you determine whether or not customers are completing the actions you want them to complete. Are they signing up for your email list? If so, what is triggering that important event? Are they checking out the products in a specific category and making purchases? Are customers downloading white papers and reading your blog posts? Careful tracking through Google Analytics will help you understand these key customer behaviours and shape your future efforts to enable you to better achieve your goals.
Step Two: Get Started
Start by logging into your Google Analytics account. You’ll need to visit the “admin” link that enables you to control all that critical data on your dashboard. Next, navigate to the correct view, click the big red “New Goal” button, and get ready to input that necessary data. Make sure that you’re in the right goal view to ensure that you’re collecting the right data for your next project.
Step Three: Create a Goal
There are three main strategies for creating a goal in Google Analytics. You can choose to access a template to define your goal, create your own custom goal, or create your own smart goals. For beginners, using a template is one of the most efficient ways to get started collecting data from your website. As you grow in confidence, however, creating your own goals will help you collect specific, customized data that will reflect the goals that define your business efforts.
Using a Template
If you opt to use a template, select this option in the Goal Setup menu. Once it’s selected, proceed to the “next” button. From there, you’ll want to select the template that meets your data collection needs. In Google Analytics, goals are divided into four categories:
Templates use predefined metrics for collecting this critical information to let you know what you might need to collect in order to understand how your efforts are meeting these goals. If you don’t see any templates or you’re looking at templates that don’t appear to match the needs of your business, make sure you’ve selected the right type of business for your industry under your settings. Without a business type, you won’t be able to view the templates that are right for you!
Creating a Custom Goal
If the available templates don’t meet your needs, you can create your own custom goal in Google Analytics. Choose the “custom goal” option. Enter a description and the details of your goal so that you’ll be able to come back later and see what you were tracking. Custom goals have four type options:
- Destination, which can help track the number of customers who have visited a specific page
- Duration, which will measure the amount of time each user spends on the page
- Pages or screens per session, which will measure how your users are choosing to interact with your website
- Events, which will measure things like email submissions or purchases.
Choose the type that best fits with your analytics goals. From there, follow the on-screen prompts to provide Google Analytics with the relevant information to help collect the data you need. For example, if you’ve chosen to track the customers reaching a specific destination page, you’ll need to enter the URL that you want to know whether or not customers are visiting.
Creating Custom Smart Goals
Start by selecting Smart Goals under goal setup. This goal type will, according to Google Analytics, “use machine learning to examine dozens of signals about your website visits to determine which of those are most likely to result in a conversion.” In the case of Smart goals, you may need to set values to help assess how well you’re meeting those goals. For event goals–that is, those that have no monetary value–you may need to use the event tracking code as the goal value. You can also set the value option to “no” to make it easier to track those types of goals.
Google Analytics Tips and Tricks
If you’re setting those first goals, it’s important to understand how the system works. These tips and tricks will make it easier to use Google Analytics effectively.
Pay attention to the “required step” box.
In some cases, you’ll want to know whether or not customers who visited a specific landing page bought the product you were recommending. In other cases, you may want to know how much overall sales of that product have increased. Decide whether or not there are required steps to that process. If you want to see a wider range of customer data, not checking the “required step” box can give you more information. On the other hand, if you’re looking for specific information, that box can help narrow it down.
Thank you pages are easiest to track.
If you’re looking for a specific event, one of the easiest ways to track it is through a thank you page. When customers reach that specific destination page, you’ll know that they’ve completed the step!
Make use of custom alerts.
You don’t want to have to check in with Google Analytics every day, but you do want to know when you need to check in! Setting custom alerts will allow you to have messages sent straight to your inbox if there is a drastic change in data, if a specific threshold is met, and more.
You and the members of your team check out your website on a regular basis. Make sure you’re not counting yourself as part of your analytics data! Make sure your goals include limiting yourself so that you don’t accidentally track your own visits.
Google Analytics can tell you a wide range of things about your website. It can let you know how many customers are visiting, how useful they find your content, and what it takes to send them away again.
By developing strong Google Analytics goals, you can create a more effective website that is customized to meet the needs of your visitors.
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