Understanding Google Analytics: Goals & Conversions

Welcome to another blog post, focusing on Google Analytics and why setting up goals is so important for your business. 

If you’d like to watch a video on the topic, click the link below, featuring Uzair’s YouTube ‘Ask Uzair’ Livestream session:

Understanding Goals

Goals are used to measure how often your audience or users complete specific actions, which in turn can help you understand if your website or app are meeting your main objectives.

A goal represents a completed activity, known as a conversion, that counts towards the success of your business, such as:

  • Making a purchase on an eCommerce website
  • Submitting a contact form
  • Subscribing to a newsletter mailing list
  • Completing a game level on a mobile gaming app

We are often taken aback as to how many businesses come to us for help with their online marketing, only to discover that no one has previously explained the importance of analytics and measuring KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to them before – its essential to define goals so that a business owner can make data-driven decisions. Without a business’ goals being defined properly, it is impossible to know the effectiveness of any marketing campaigns and the ROI.

How Do Goals Work?

Goals are primarily set at the view level, ie when a person actually finds your business online and ‘views’ your business. Goals can be set to focus on specific pages, the numbers of screens or pages that visitor viewed per visit, how long a viewer stayed on your website or app in total, any actions they took whilst on a page, such as watching a video or submitting a form…the number of combinations is endless. You can even attribute a monetary value to a goal, as an indicator of what achieving those goals means to your business terms so that you can focus on the conversions or the biggest earners for your business. That’s why it’s important to really think about setting meaningful goals that you can relate to, rather than fighting through every possible statistic that you are given; all that happens is that your enthusiasm to look at analytics rapidly disappears!

Types Of Goals

When a website visitor or app user takes an action that has been set up as a goal, Google Analytics will note that as a conversion. The conversion information is then presented in four main types of reports. 

Here are some examples to help you:

Goal TypeMeaningExample
Destination A specific location loads up Thank you for contacting us web page
Duration Session lasting a specific time or longer 5 minutes+ spent on website
Pages Screens
Per Session
Specific number of pages/ screens viewed 4 pages/ screens loaded
Event a specified milestone/ event activated Watch a video, ad click

Goal Value

This is a really important feature to understand about goals – every time a user completes a goal, you can give the goal a monetary value for the conversion. The amounts then get added together and then presented in your reports as a ‘goal value’.

In essence, every time a user takes an action, you can give it a value that translates to money in your pocket! You can start to get really creative with goals, for example by analysing that every time a user completes a goal, what percentage go on to become paying customers. To give you a simple example, if 10% of newsletter signup go on to become paying customers with an average spend of $500, you may decide to attribute $50 (ie 10% of $500) towards your newsletter signup goal. If, on the other hand, you only get 1% of signups converting to a sale, you could set the goal value at just $5 for achieving a signup goal. Of course, if you are regularly reviewing your stats, these figures will soon be on your fingertips and you will gain a true mastery of your goals and conversions!

Goal Limitations

Per the reporting view, you will only be able to see 20 goals per view, at any one time. If you need to look at more goal, you can either create an additional view for that property or edit a goal you no longer need.

You also need to remember that obviously you can only collect and analyse goal data from the tie that a goal is created; you won’t be able to set up a goal and apply to data that was previously converted.

Also, you won’t be able to delete goals, but you can stop gathering information for a goal, in effect de-activating the goal.

Goal data is handled slightly differently to Google Analytics data. If you’d like to learn more, you can go to features with non-standard data processing.

If you’d like to learn more about setting goals and how to analyse conversions to win more business, you can reach through our contact details on our website.

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