Google Analytics – Setting Goals

Posted on November 10th, by Jay Murphy in Analytics, Digital Marketing. No Comments

One great feature is the ability to set user goals in Google Analytics – like everywhere else on our website we are trying to answer the following questions:

  • Are we providing what are users are looking for?
  • Is it easy for them to find this information?
  • When they find it are they able to complete the steps to find the information?

Let’s take a concrete example to make this more realistic – suppose we have a lead generation form where we would like individuals to enter in their contact information.  Within your website this might be implemented as a series of pages; such as an entry form and a thank you page.  Maybe there is even an optional registration page along the way.  So would you be able to view the numbers of people that sign up using this form every month?  Yes and goals is the perfect way to track this – not only will you get the number of sign ups, you will also see how many people started the process on the entry form and how many completed – this gives you some very useful information about how effective your sign pages are.

Setting Goals in Google Analytics

So how do we set this up in Google Analytics?  It is easy following these steps:

At the initial profile page in Google Analytics click on the ‘Admin’ button.


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Next you will see the Goals section of the View Setting page – click on the ‘Add goal’ link.  (You will see that there are four sets of goals with five goals provide for each profile – for a total of 20 goals.)


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To create a Goal click on the “Create A Goal” button – the next window is the “Goal Description” page.

This information includes:

  • Goal Name – use a descriptive name here, ‘Seminar Request’ is better than ‘goal 42’.
  • Goal Type – Allows you to setup different types of goals, for our example we are going to use a Destination goal.

Assuming a ‘Destination’ goal the next entry information is the Goal Detail section with these fields (We will cover the other goal types – Duration, Pages/Screens per visit and Event in a subsequent blog article):

  • Destination – the URL for the goal.  The protocol and domain information does not have to be included.  So can instead be shown as ‘thankyou.html’.
  • “Equals to” Dropdown – There are several different selections available in this dropdown:
    • “Equals to” is useful for sites with static URLs.
    • “Begins with” is good when the beginning portion of the URL stays constant but trailing items, such as a query string can vary.
      • For example if you goal looks like “”; then use “Begins with” and put ThankYou.html in the Destination field.  Removing everything after the “?”.
    • Finally Regular Expression match is good when the both the head and trailing URL can vary.
    • Case Sensitive – set this if the URL will match with the exact case for all characters.
  • Goal Value – This is useful for assigning a numerical value to your goals.  This can be especially helpful when each lead, sale or other goal can be assigned a monetary value.  (For example 10 leads result in a single sale worth $10,000, means each lead is worth $1,000.)

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One additional feature that is useful is viewing all the steps leading up to completing the goal.  In our example we had an entry form, optional registration form and then our thank you page.  To track the progress of our users through these steps we would create a “Funnel”.

The page to do this is show here:


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Each step of the website leading to the Goal URL can be entered in this area with the URL (again use the trailing portion of the URL – omitting the protocol “http://” and the domain).  You should also supply a descriptive name for each step of the Funnel.

Now “Verify this Goal” this recent addition to Google Analytics does a quick check to see how many goals would have occurred in the past seven days.  When you see that the goal is verified you can save it and make goals a vital part of your website analysis and optimization.

Once your goal is in place you can start to really dive into what is driving your customers to complete any given goal.  You can also look at what has led them to the goal as well – search engines, referrals or direct traffic.  With this information you can really focus on helping your customers accomplish their goals and ideally boost your organizations goals as well!

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