Google Analytics Defining Goals Aligned with Company Objectives

By December 19, 2012Uncategorized

Google Analytics Defining Goals

When you created your website, you did so with a goal in mind.  With Google analytics defining goals allows you to explicitly and systematically  analyze how well your websites are performing relative to them and for the needs of your business.

Figure 1 – Defining a Goal

Goals should be matched with your funnel design and can be anything you would like customers to do, like signing up for a newsletter, for example. Google would call this an Event goal. Three other types of goals exist:

  • Time on site goals
  • Pages/visit goals
  • URL destination goals


Figure 2 – Pages/Visit Goal

Some goals involve a threshold. You may want users to be able to to find information they are looking for within a certain number of clicks, for example, or to spend more than some minimum amount of time on the site because they are interested in your product or message.  These types of goals help you measure how well you are engaging your visitors and how much value you are providing them.

Each URL destination goal can be associated with what Google calls a funnel. If the URL destination is the thank you page for a signup, each of the pages your site visitor will see is a step in the funnel leading to this goal. Defining a funnel allows you to find bottlenecks in your processes. For example, if a lot of visitors leave your website from the credit card information entry page, that page may perhaps need a redesign. If you define a funnel for your goal, Google Analytics will create a funnel visualization report that makes it clear where in your funnel you are losing potential customers.  This funnel is not to be confused with the funnel used in your inbound marketing program where your sales cycle may be weeks long.  This funnel is strictly for the conversion of the user into some desired action.

Set your goals on the Account Administration page. Click the Goals tab and then the plus sign in front of the word Goal.


Figure 3 – Time on Site Is A Threshold Goal

Threshold goals like Time on Site and Pages/Visit also measure user engagement with your site. You can assign these goals a value, which you can derive from the average transaction and how close the goal brings you to such a transaction. You can have more than one transaction per visit, but only one conversion, in which you meet a goal.

You can use reports to track your goals as well as your success in reaching them. Reports can also provide useful marketing information. For example, reverse goal path reporting can tell you which pages your visitors are viewing before you reach your goal, and how many conversions you are getting from these pages.

Similarly, you can use the Clicks tab in your Analytics reports to tell you where your visitors are coming from. In addition to the site metrics, you can see what happened after your user clicked on your Adwords ads, including return on investment (ROI), goal conversions, and e-commerce activity, among others such as revenue per click.

 Figure 4 – Analysis Tools Allow You to Examine Many Site Metrics

Some clicks result in multiple visits, if for example your users are bookmarking your site and returning on a later visit. The cookie from the prior visit will be retained. It may also take several days for some visitors to decide to buy from your site, so to avoid a misleadingly low ROI it is often wisest to set a longer rather than a shorter date range for that goal. A longer date range will also allow you to capture information about return and repeat customers.

The Day Parts report will allow you to see how your ads perform at given times of day on any of several measures, such as visits and transactions. You can also view data by hour and day and examine data, for example, on which keywords most frequently gave you traffic at given times.

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