Google Analytics is more than just finding out how much traffic you are getting to your site.
The real value of using Google Analytics is the ability you’re given to track, analyze, and optimize your web marketing efforts.
With the right configuration, you can learn how well your website is generating income and what areas need improvement.
But what is the right configuration? How can you setup Google Analytics to measure success?
Before you implement analytics tracking on your website, you need to answer the following question.
What are the actions that users perform on your site that leads to success for your business?
The answer depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your site.
For most businesses, their website exists to generate e-commerce sales, leads, ad-revenue, brand awareness or answer pre-sale questions.
Understanding your website’s purpose helps you identify the website visitor activities vital to the success of you business.
If you can track these activities, then you can measure how effective your site is at generating revenue.
Going forward, I will refer to these activities as Goals.
4 Types of Goals
You can use Google Analytics to track how often people perform the desired Goals you want to monitor. There are four types of Goals.
1. Destination Goal
A Destination Goal tracks every time a visitor arrives on a particular page you defined.
You can use this type of Goal to track landing pages and contact forms.
Let’s say you want to increase sales leads by using an email newsletter.
You can use the Destination Goal of your Thank You / Confirmation page to track visitors who signed up to your email list.
The Thank You / Confirmation is the page visitors see after signing up for your email newsletter.
With this Goal in place, you will know the percentage of visitors that sign-up for your email newsletter.
You can use this data with other features in Google Analytics to uncover things like:
- Do desktop users sign up for the newsletter more than mobile users?
- Do new users sign up for the newsletter more than returning users?
- Where are the visitors who signed up geographically located?
In this example, a Destination Goal can help you determine which online marketing tactics are driving the type of traffic that opts-in to your mailing list.
Destination Goals are useful for websites interested in increasing online sales, or generating sales leads.
2. Event Goal
Unlike Destination Goals, Event Goals are not based on pageviews.
An Event Goal tracks every time a visitor does something on a page.
That something can be things like downloading a PDF or watching a video.
You use Event Goals to track activity on a page that you have determined to be critical to the success of your website.
Let’s say you have a landing page with a video and a contact form. You probably want as many prospects as possible to look at the video and use the contact form.
With Event Goals, you can track how many times the video played, or the contact form was submitted.
You can use this data with other features in Google Analytics to determine things like:
- which traffic sources (Facebook, LinkedIn, another website, etc.) submitted the contact form more than others
- What time of day are people most likely to watch the video
As you can see, this type of tracking can give you some ideas as to which type of users are more likely to watch the video and contact you.
The Event Goals can help websites focused on lead generation and e-commerce transactions.
3. Pages per Visit Goal
A Pages per Visit Goal tracks when a user sees more or fewer pages than a threshold that you specify.
You can use this to track how engaged your audience is with your website.
Let’s say you have a technology blog with ad revenue based on ad impressions.
To succeed, this monetization model requires:
- a significant amount of traffic to your blog and
- a high amount of user engagement (page views)
With the Pages per Visit Goal, you can track the percentage of visitors that view a minimum number of pages that you define as a threshold for engagement.
You can then use this data with other features in Google Analytics to determine the common characteristics of highly engaged visitors of your site.
The more you know about your most engaged users, the more you can attract to your website.
The Pages per Visit Goal is helpful for websites designed to generate ad revenue based on high traffic counts and ad impressions.
4. Duration Goal
A Duration Goal tracks when a user’s visit exceeds or falls below a time threshold that you set.
This type of goal can tell you if you need to work on your F.A.Q. or support pages.
If people are spending a significant amount of time on these pages, then they are not finding the information they’re looking for as fast as possible.
The more time people spend looking for the answer to their questions, the more likely they may feel frustrated or leave your site.
If they leave your website without finding the answers they need, this could lead to lost sales.
You can use a Duration Goal to determine if you should improve your F.A.Q. or support pages to prevent frustration and lost sales.
You need to understand the specific actions you need visitors to do on your website for it to generate revenue.
Setting up Goals in Google Analytics will give you the ability to track, analyze, and optimize the desired actions that are vital to your website’s success.
Goals can be used with other features of Google Analytics to uncover insights about the users and sessions that perform the desired actions you want.
You can use these insights to tweak your marketing to attract more visitors that generate revenue for your business.