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Best Practices for Goals in Google Analytics

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Google Analytics is the Swiss Army Knife of the online entrepreneur. It’s full of detailed insights and information you can use to analyze your online traffic and perfect your approach to earn the most new customers and the greatest amount of recurring revenue. But many business owners fail to use Google Analytics to its full potential, relying solely on inbound traffic figures and never venturing further into the platform.

The “Goals” section of Analytics is one of the most useful tools you’ll find. If set up properly, you’ll be able to track conversions throughout your site, and run an analysis to determine the overall value of your campaign, giving you a perfect gateway to uncover the ROI of your inbound efforts.

Initial Setup

articleimage862 Initial Setup

Setting up a goal is relatively easy. All you have to do is find the Admin section for your target site, click on “Goals,” and then “Create a Goal.” Google Analytics offers a step-by-step process that allows you to set up any goal you’d like.

For most users, you’ll be setting up a template goal. Some of the common goals you can choose from include “destination” goals, which are completed when a user reaches a specific page, or “event” goals, which are completed when a user takes a specific action, like playing a video. Once you’ve selected a type, you’ll be able to customize your goals and fill in the necessary information—like the URL for your destination goal.

Once you’ve got your initial goals set up, make sure to run a handful of tests to make sure they are functioning properly.

Designating a Value

articleimage862 Designating a Value

You’ll also have the opportunity to designate a value to the completion of each of your goals. Take advantage of this; it’s going to provide you with a major opportunity to objectively analyze your online marketing results later on.

For some goals, coming up with this value is easy. For example, if you’re selling an ebook for $5 and you set up a goal for the completion of a single order, the value of the goal would be $5. However, if you’re selling multiple items in varying groups, you’ll have to come up with the average value of a customer order and use that as the assigned value of a goal. The process is further complicated by non-monetary goals, such as those assigned to the completion of a contact form. Here, you’ll have to determine the ratio of inquiries to sales, and then the average sale to determine the average goal completion value.

This may take a few extra steps, but coming up with an accurate value is essential to determining the objective results of your campaign later down the road.

Determining Which Goals to Set Up

If a specific action on your website corresponds to revenue or the strong possibility for revenue, you should set it up as a goal. Only then can you be able to concisely and accurately project how much revenue your inbound marketing strategies are earning. Goals don’t take much time to set up, and once they’re set up correctly, you can run with them for as long as you need. Nobody has ever complained about having too much data available.

Still, if you have multiple transaction points and multiple points of contact, it may be overwhelming to try and set up a goal for each one of them. Start out with the goals that are the most critical for your business goals, and once those are complete, gradually flesh out the others.

The Funnel

Setting up a funnel is an optional part of the goal setup process, but I’ve found it extremely valuable for determining where your customers are coming from and why. With the funnel option, you’ll be able to outline the typical process your visitor goes through before completing a goal; for example, a customer may arrive at your homepage, travel to the blog section, and eventually land on the contact page, where they complete your “contact” goal.

Setting up a funnel is advantageous because once you have some data flowing, you can easily visualize your customer’s path. Analytics will map out the ideal customer flow you outlined, and give you data for each step of the process. You’ll be able to see what percentage of your customers move on to each step, which will allow you to pinpoint any holdups to your ultimate goal.

Measuring Your ROI

articleimage862Measuring Your ROI

The most important function of goals is getting the opportunity to objectively measure your return on investment (ROI). Will goals in place for all your major transaction and conversion points, you can estimate exactly how much revenue your site has brought in over a given period of time. Determining how much you spent to get that level of traffic is usually the tricky part, since you’ll have incoming traffic from searches, referrals, direct entries, and social media. Still, if you can estimate how much you spend on marketing and compare it to how much you’re making through your goals, you’ll be able to determine the effectiveness of your current strategy.

If you aren’t already using goals in Analytics, it’s a good idea to get started. Even if you don’t plan on running an analysis in the near future, you may find yourself wishing you had the data. The sooner you set up goals, the more information you’ll have access to, and the better you’ll be able to project the real results of your online marketing strategy.

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Kathrina Tiangco

Kathrina is AudienceBloom's project manager. She works closely with our writers, editors, and publishers to make sure client work is completed on time.

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