How to set up goals in Google Analytics

How to Set Up Goals in Google Analytics – Tutorial

  1. Introduction to Google Analytics goals
  2. Google Analytics goal types
  3. The basic structure of goals in Google Analytics
  4. How to set up goals in a Google Analytics account
  5. How to create destination goals in Google Analytics
  6. How to create duration goals in Google Analytics
  7. How to set up pages/screens per session goals in Google Analytics
  8. How to create event goals in Google Analytics
  9. What are Smart Goals in Google Analytics?
  10. Steps to validate goals in the Google Analytics reports
  11. Goal reports in Google Analytics
  12. Limitations of goals in Google Analytics
  13. Recording status of goals in Google Analytics

Introduction to Google Analytics

Goals in Google Analytics are the measure of specific activities of the users on your website. For example, you can track if the user has completed the form on your website, created an account, completed a purchase, played a video, or downloaded ebook.

In other words, we can also say that goals are completed activities of users on your website,  called conversions, that lead to the success of your business. 

In this article, I will show you how to set up goals in Google Analytics. 

Before creating the goals in your Google Analytics, the user needs to have edit permission at view level. If you do not have edit access, reach out to the admin of the Google Analytics account and they should be able to provide you with the access.

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Google Analytics goal types

As mentioned earlier, there are different goal types which can be used to track the activities of the users on the website. Below are the four types of goals in Google Analytics:

  1. Destination goals
  2. Duration goals
  3. Pages/Screens per session goals
  4. Events goals

Destination goals

Destination goals track when the user arrives on a specific page on your website. For example, you can create a destination goal to understand how many users have landed on the thank you page, add to cart page or payment confirmation page.

Duration goal 

Duration goals track how long the user has spent time on your website before leaving. This tracks the user engagement on the website. The hours, minutes and seconds fields specify the minimum session time that qualifies as a goal conversion. 

Pages/session goals 

This is another type of user engagement goal. Instead of the time spent on a specific page, in this goal we are tracking the number of pages users have views before leaving.

Event goals

To use this goal, you must first set up at least one event in your account. User interactions are tracked as events in Google Analytics and counted as conversions in the event goal type.

The basic structure of goals in Google Analytics

Every goal that you create in Google Analytics has three steps:

  1. Goal set-up
  2. Goal description
  3. Goal details
Goals Setup Steps

Before setting up goals, we will first understand each step and then we will learn how to create different types of goals.

Goal set up

New goals can be set up by using any of the below three options:

  1. Using a goal template.
  2. Creating a custom goal
  3. Creating smart goals

Let us see how to create goals using these options. 

Using goal templates: Select the template radio button in the ‘Goal set up’ step as shown below.

Goal Template

Depending on the type of goal that you want, select the template. For example, if you would like to create an acquisition goal, select that option.

Create custom goals: To create a custom goal, select the custom radio button in the ‘Goal set up’ step.

custom Goals

Using Smart Goals: Not all the accounts will have the option to create a Smart Goal. To use Smart Goals your account needs to meet certain prerequisites. We will discuss Smart Goals in detail later in the article. 

To create Smart Goals, select ‘Smart Goals’, if available, in the ‘Goal set up’ step and click on ‘Next’.

Goal description

This is the second step of the goal creation. First, we need to provide a meaningful name to the goal. For example, Sign up goal, Add to Cart, Newsletter Subscription, etc.

Goal Description Step

Select the ‘Goal slot ID’ and ‘Type’ depending on the goal that you would like to create.

Goal details

Depending on the type of goal selected in the second step, you need to provide more details about the goal in step 3. 

In the below example, since we have selected a destination goal in step 2, we must provide the pathname of the destination page.

Goal configuration

Goal value is assigning a monetary value to the conversion. This is optional, you can either leave it off or enable it and provide a value to the goal. 

Funnel step is also optional. A funnel is specifying a path that you expect your users to take before reaching the destination. 

To understand more about the goal funnel refer to this article: Google analytics goals and sales funnel tutorial.

Now that we have understood about the structure of the goal set up process. Let us learn to create different types of goals.

How to set up goals in a Google Analytics account

Assuming that you have edit access for Google Analytics, follow the below steps to create goals.

Step-1: Log in to your Google Analytics account.

Step-2: Click on the ‘Admin’ link on the left-hand side.

Admin section

Step-3: Under ‘View’, click on ‘Goals’.

download

Step-4: Click on ‘New goal’ or you can also import goals from the solution gallery. 

Note: when you import goals from the solution gallery only the template is added.

New Goal

Step-5: Select the type of goal that you would like to set up either using the predefined template or custom and click on ‘Continue’.

Custom goal setup

Step-6: The next step is to give a name to the goal and select the type of goal that you would like to create.

Goal description

Step-7: Now, provide the configuration for your goal. For example, if you are creating a sign up goal, provide the pathname for your sign up page in ‘Goal configuration’, as shown below, and click on ‘Save’.

Goal configuration 1

Step- 8: Once the goal is saved, you will be able to view it in the ‘Goals’ section, as shown below. This provides you all the goals created in the view along with details like type of goal, conversions per last 7 days, and recording status.

Goals created

How to create destination goals in Google Analytics

Step-1: Click on ‘New goal’ on the goals page in ‘View settings’.

New Goal

Step-2: Select the ‘custom’ goal in the ‘Goal set up’ step and click on ‘Continue’.

Custom goal setup

Step-3: Name your goal and select the ‘Goal type’ as destination, as shown below, and click on ‘Continue’.

destination goal

Step-4: Now in the ‘Goal details’ page, select the pathname of the URL. In this example, we are creating a destination goal for the ‘Thank you’ page. 

Destination goal details page

In the pathname field provide /thankyou.html instead of www.example.com/thankyou.html

After you have entered the pathname you can select it as ‘equal to’, ‘begins with’ or a regular expression based on your goal tracking requirements. 

To learn more about the type of expression to select while creating goals refer to this article: Google analytics regular expressions.

Step-5: The Value’ field is optional. Toggle it if you would like to add a monetary value for your goal and enter the value. Each time the goal is completed this value is recorded and can be viewed in the reports.

Goal Value

Note: The currency value is in USD for the above example. You can change the currency in view settings > currency displayed as.

Currency settings

Step-6: A funnel is also optional while setting up a destination goal. If you would like to track a funnel, then turn the toggle on. A funnel is basically to track the steps that you would like your users to follow before completing the conversion.

Funnel Steps

Above is an example for creating a funnel for a thank you page. If you would like to add another step, click on ‘Add another step’.

Step-7: Click on ‘Verify goal’. This will show how often this goal would have converted based on the past seven days of data.

Verify goal

Step-8: When you finish, click on ‘Save’.

And that’s it! You have a destination goal created in your Google Analytics account.

How to create duration goals in Google Analytics

Step-1: Click on ‘New goal’ in the goals page in ‘View settings’.

New Goal

Step-2: Select the ‘Custom’ goal in the ‘Goal set up’ step and click on ‘Continue’.

Custom goal setup

Step-3: Name your goal and select the ‘Goal type’ as ‘duration goal’ as shown below and click on ‘Continue’.

Duration Goal

Step-4: In the ‘Goal details’ page, enter the duration of the time that you want users to spend time on your site in hours, minutes, and seconds. If you choose a duration that every user on your site is likely to hit, such as one minute, then you will not be able to make any insights of this goal.  

Duration Goal Settings

Step-5: Define the length of time you want to track. For this example, we want to measure how many people stay on our website for more than five minutes. 

Goals timing

Step-6: Click on ‘Verify goal’ and then ‘Save’.

How to set up pages/screens per session goals in Google Analytics

Step-1: Click on ‘New goal’ in the ‘Goals’ page in ‘View settings’.

New Goal

Step-2: Select the ‘Custom’ goal in the ‘Goal set up’ step and click on ‘Continue’.

Custom goal setup

Step-3: Name your goal and select the ‘Goal type’ as ‘Pages/screens per session goal’, as shown below, and click on ‘Continue’.

pages screens per session goal

Step-4:  In ‘Goal details’, enter the number of pages for which you want to track the goal. For example, you would like to track more than three pages, then select ‘greater than’ and enter 3, as shown below.

Goal details for Pages per sesssion

Step-5: Click on ‘Save’ and you now have a pages per session goal set up in your Google Analytics account.

How to create event goals in Google Analytics

Step-1: Click on ‘New goal’ in the ‘Goals’ page in ‘View settings’.

New Goal

Step-2: Select the ‘Custom’ goal in the ‘Goal set-up’ step and click on ‘Continue’.

Custom goal setup

Step-3: Name your goal and select the ‘Goal type’ as ‘event’ goal, as shown below and click on ‘Continue’. 

Note that to create event goals, you need to have at least one event set up in your Google Analytics account. 

Follow this guide to understand more: Event Tracking in Google Analytics

set up goals in google analytics

Step-4: Enter the event conditions in the ‘Goal details’ step, as shown below.  Enter the ‘Event category’, ‘Action’, and ‘Label’ values. 

Event goal details 1

Step-5: If you would like to enable the ‘Goal value’ for your conversion then you can toggle it on and enter the monetary value.

Step-6: Verify the goal and you are done setting up event goals in your Google Analytics account.

What are Smart Goals in Google Analytics?

Google states that ‘Each session is assigned a score, with the ‘best’ sessions being translated into Smart Goals.’  It uses machine learning to examine the best-performing pages on your website that can lead to conversions.

Smart Goals are not available in all the accounts by default. To use Smart Goals, your account needs to meet certain prerequisites. 

  • Link your Google Analytics account and Google Ads account.
  • Linked Google Analytics accounts should lead to at least 500 analytics sessions for the past 30 days.
  • GA reporting view should not receive more than 10 million sessions in 30 days.
  • Data sharing settings in the Google Analytics account should be enabled.

Steps to validate goals in the Google Analytics reports

Let’s assume that you have set up the registration goal on your website. Complete the steps on your website for registration to validate if the goal has been tracked in GA reports.

Step-1: Navigate to the real time reports in Google Analytics.

Real Time Reports

Step-2: Select ‘Conversion’ from the menu.

conversions

Step-3: If the goal you have configured is working fine, then you will notice it under ‘Active users’ or ‘Goals hits (Last 30 min)’.

Real Time Goals

Goals reports in Google Analytics

The Goal Overview report in Google Analytics gives a high level overview of the total number of goal completions, goal values, conversion rate, and abandonment rate if you have set up funnels. 

To view these reports in Google Analytics, follow the below steps:

Step-1: Log in to your Google Analytics reports.

Step-2: Click on ‘Conversions’ from the left-hand side menu, as shown below.

Conversions tab

Step-3: Now, click on ‘Overview’ to view the goal completions, value, and other goal centric metrics.

Goals Overiew report

Step-4: On the right-hand side, you can see all the metrics like number of goal completions, goal value, etc.

Goals overview metrics

Step-5: By default, all goals are selected in the Overview report, you can also see the trend of specific goals by select from goal option as shown below. 

Goal Options

Limitation of goals in Google Analytics

  • Goals are limited to 20 per reporting view.
  • Goals are applicable to the data that you collect after the goals has been reporting.
  • Goal data is processed differently from regular Google Analytics reports.
  • Goals can’t be deleted, but you can stop recording the goals or reutilize the existing goals.

Recording status of goals in Google Analytics

Once the goals are created in ‘Reporting’ view, recording status will be automatically enabled, as shown below.

Recording status

Goals cannot be deleted. You can stop recording the goal by disabling the recording status.

Congratulations! You have now successfully learnt the steps to set up goals in Google Analytics.

Related Article: Google Analytics Goals and Sales Funnels – Tutorial

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