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Setting Up Goals in Google Analytics - Tip #5

Justin Tadych
by Justin Tadych on Mar 7, 2008 10:41:00 AM

In a previous tip I briefly touched on Optimizng AdWords ROI which helped measure your Pay Per Click Program's performance within Google Analytics by applying cost data and auto tagging destination URL's to allow for better PPC Optimization. So now that you have more information in Analytics on how your paid programs are doing, how about we discuss setting up Goals in Google Analytics to measure your organic and referral traffic?

What is a Goal?

Goals are a way within Google Analytics to measure activities or conversions that take place on your website.

What to Measure?

What can you measure by setting up Google Analytics Goals? Well the possibilities are almost endless but some of the common goals measured include product purchases, downloads and contact forms. Each activity usually ends with some sort of "thank you" page telling the visitor that they have competed an action on your site.

The Set Up Process

There are different ways to set up goals depending on the needs and complexity of your site. So below are simple steps to setting up and creating a simple goal in Google Analytics.

1) Log into Google Analytics and click on the "Edit Settings" link.

2) Navigate to the "Conversion Goals and Funnel" box and click Edit in the settings column for Goal one (G1).

3) This will bring you to the Goal Settings interface which will allow you to set up your first goal. On this page you need to make sure the Active Goal radio button is set to On. Next you need to set the "Match Type" settings. You have several options to choose from, the most basic being "Exact Match" which is used if the goal URL is not dynamic. If your goal URL is dynamic you need to switch the setting to "Regular Expression Match" and leave out the unique values at the end of the URL such as user id's. If you are using different sub domains and want to track trailing parameters or a particular stem within a URL then use "Regular Expression Match." For most users, the basic match type setting will suffice.

4) From here you need to paste the Goal Page URL you wish to track into the Goal URL field. This Goal URL should be after the user on your site has completed an action like a thank you page, registration confirmation page, completed checkout or any other completed action you wish to track.

5) After that is done you need to name your goal. Name your goal after the type of action you are tracking so that you can distinguish it in the actual Google Analytics interface.

6) Define a value for your goal. Do you want to assign a basic monetary value to each whitepaper downloaded? Or do you just want to track the number of completed contact forms?

That's it, you have completed setting up a basic goal within Google Analytics. Setting up more advanced goals using "Regular Expression Match" or ecommerce tracking can get a bit more complicated. You can also take the basic goal process further by defining a "funnel" for your goal. We will touch on that area another day.

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Justin Tadych
Written by Justin Tadych
Justin is our Assistant VP, Online Marketing, focusing on online advertising strategies and services. Priding himself on running the most effective and efficient ad programs possible, Justin focuses on maximizing Return On Investment while generating the best possible results for our clients' online advertising programs.

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