How to Set-Up Goals in Google Analytics

Updated: July 18th, 2020

Note: We made enhancements to this article based on changes within Google Ads and Google Analytics since the original publish date.

An important exercise for every business is is to identify meaningful goals on your website. Without goals, it’s hard to measure success from your various marketing efforts.

How do you measure goals? To start, you need to have a Google Analytics tag on your site. Once you have Analytics set-up, Goals can easily be created. You can then import your goals from Google Analytics into Google Ads.

We don’t recommend creating separate goals in Analytics and Google. If you do this, the data can be inconsistent between Analytics and Google Ads. We like to have one official source of truth for the data, which comes from Google Analytics.

The purpose of this article is to create the proper goals in Google Analytics and properly import those goals into Google Ads. Whether you have a B2B company like our marketing agency or an eCommerce business like our in-house brand, DermWarehouse, you’ll better understand what needs to be tracked and why.

Benefit of Goals

Goals are successful conversion events that happen on your website. They measure how well your site is meeting your objectives in terms of gaining new customers and generating income for you [source].

Not tracking goals within Google Analytics is similar to a football coach not having a game plan going into their rivalry game. You would not be well equipped to make the best decisions for your business without tracking conversions.

Every business should spend several hours going through their website to pinpoint goals. This is not a very time extensive exercise but one that’s often overlooked. Below are some of the benefits of tracking goals/conversions:

  • Gauges success on organic, paid, direct and referral sources
  • Determines how the user gets in contact with your business (contact form, chat, phone call, email, etc)
  • Measures the cost per sale or a cost per lead, which will benchmark your success and help determine profitability

Example Goals

If you are a photographer and your website is tracking all contact form submissions as a generalized lead, this can be misleading. If you have an employment page on your site, this is going to be a much different sort of contact form submission than a recently engaged couple that needs to utilize your services.

This is why it’s so important to go through your website and create different goals. You can set-up 20 goals per reporting view, which is more than enough for the majority of businesses.

Let’s take a look at the goals being tracking on The Media Captain’s website. We’re a B2B company since we primarily work with other businesses. As a sub-bullet, I’ve listed out the reason we track each of these goals. Keep in mind in order to track these goals separately, we create numerous thank-you confirmation pages (more on this below).

  • Service Request Contact Form Submission
    • This is an important form submission as it’s a new lead for our agency when someone is requesting more information on our services.
  • Employment Contact Form Submission
    • This is important from a hiring perspective but it’s a very different type of form submission than a new service request.
  • Public Speaking Contact Form Submission
    • We have a form on our site if someone is interested in hiring us for speaking engagements. Again, this is a different type of business opportunity than us taking on a new client, hence the reason we have a different form on our site for this and track it as a separate goal.
  • Phone Call Tracking
    • Phone calls on the website are often not tracked by many businesses. When you forget about tracking phone calls, you’re not painting the entire picture of your digital marketing performance. Phone calls on a website have a 30%-50% conversion rate. We utilize CallRail for our call tracking. With CallRail, you can listen to phone calls to improve your customer service and sales processes. All of the CallRail data can also be imported into Google Analytics, which can then be imported into Google Ads.
  • LiveChat Initiation  
  • Email Send 
    • Someone clicks on our email icon to send a message, which is visible on the header and footer of our website. Emailing us a question is oftentimes for an RFP (request for proposal request) or a new business inquiry so we track this action closely.
  • 3+ Minutes on a Site 
    • Not all quality traffic comes from someone calling or filling out a contact form. If someone is spending more than 3+ minutes on our site, we like to track this goal within Google Analytics. It allows us to retarget people who clearly expressed interest on our site. When we are running PPC campaigns, it also allows us to gauge traffic quality from the keywords we’re bidding on.

We have 7 goals set-up for The Media Captain. We have imported all these goals into Google Analytics so we can better measure success.

Every Site is Different

Our agency also started an in-house eCommerce company. Tracking revenue is the most important aspect for any eCom business. This would be set-up under revenue and not under goals. If you need help setting-up eCommerce tracking, HERE is a resource from Google Ads support.

Below are the most important components for an eCommerce company:

  • Revenue/Sales
  • Email Opt-Ins
  • Items Added to Cart
  • Items Added to Wishlist
  • Visited Checkout Page
  • Shopping Cart Abandonment

This reiterates my earlier point that you must spend the time identifying what’s important for your business. In the instance of the eCommerce company, it’s important to know if people are adding items to the cart but ultimately not checking out and completing the purchase. This data could identify a pricing problem that needs to be fixed. Without the proper tracking, you’d assume orders weren’t happening and you wouldn’t have the full picture that people are adding products to their cart but just not completing the purchase.

How to Create Your Goals

To create a goal, you need to be logged in to your Google Analytics account. You would then proceed to click on “Admin” and then “Goals,” which can be found under the “All Website Data” view.

You’ll then be able to choose one of the following goals to track, or you can select “custom goals,” which is what we oftentimes do (continue reading).

Below ENGAGEMENT, there is the option to select a “Custom Goal,” which is what we use for the majority of goals we track… In the example below, for a contact form submission, we selected, “Destination” (continue reading).

We insert the destination URL after clicking on “Destination Type.” This would allow us to track the number of times someone would visit the thank you confirmation page, which can only be accessed by filling out certain contact forms on the site.

After you set-up your goals, you can then import them into Google Ads by logging into your Google Ads account, clicking on “Tools and Settings” and then “Conversions.” From here, you would click on the “+” icon and then click on “Import” and select, “Google Analytics” as the conversions you want to import.

You’ll see all your recently created goals, which you can select and then import!

In conclusion, before you get started on any marketing or advertising initiative, make sure to set-up goals properly within Analytics and then imported into Google. It is the official source of truth for your marketing performance and will provide consistent information.

Jason Parks

Jason Parks started The Media Captain in 2010. He’s grown TMC into one of the largest digital agency’s in Ohio over the past decade.The Media Captain has worked with hundreds of small, medium and enterprise clients on digital marketing and development projects.The Columbus Based Digital Marketing Agency has received numerous accolades. TMC was named a Top 1% Agency in the U.S. by UpCity in 2019 and 2020. They also won the “Best PPC Campaign,” which was a national award from DashThis. They were also the recipient of the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Agencies in Ohio.

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