Google Analytics: How to create a goal

Goal conversions are a very powerful way to measure the success of your site. If you know what your site was designed to do, like sell products, generate leads, or encourage downloads of a PDF for example, then using google analytics to measure that goal is key. If you are a “Do it yourself” type, Google has a somewhat easy way to do it. Here’s how:

Planning: Figure out what the goal URL is when someone completes the action you want them to take. This could be as simple as someone viewing a specific page, or as complex as completing a 5 page order process.

  • For my example, I want to know when someone completes the “contact us” form on my site. So, if I go to my site, and fill out the form, I can see that the url once I’ve completed the form looks like this:
  • The important part for setting up a goal in my case is that the url has a bunch of “stuff” at the end when someone finishes the form. What everyone who completes the form has in common is: “?contact-form-id=”. Otherwise the “stuff” is unique. Google needs a common url, event, or string in the url to set up the goal, and in my case the ?contact-form-id= is what we can set a goal up with.

Implementing: Go to Google Analytics in a new window. In google analytics, select “Conversions” along the left tab. Then, click on “goals”. This will bring you to the overview screen, where google will explain what a conversion is, and let you get started. Then, Click “set up goals”. This will bring you to the goal set up screen. (This can also be reached under the “Admin” tab in the future)

In the goal setup area, you can define up to 20 goals in total. We are just going to set up 1 today.

Click, “Goal” under goal set 1, and you will see where all the magic happens:

Goal Config

Goal Name: Give this goal a name you will recognize in the future.

Goal Type: In our case, we are tracking a URL destination

Goal URL: Enter the url or variable that everyone has in common after they have completed your goal. In my case it is: ?contact-form-id=

Match Type: For URL appends like mine, always choose “Head match”. You could also choose “Regular Expression” but I’ve had trouble connecting adwords and analytics unless it is set yo head match.

Click Save… That’s it!

Now What?

Now that I’ve set up a goal, I can use it to see all sorts of things. The most effective use for me is to evaluate how valuable a source of traffic is. In the screenshot below, we see that one of my client’s conversion rate for google organic is the best, with almost 2% of all visits contacting them with a question. In comparison, direct and google adwords are lower.

This guide only scratches the surface of what you can do with goals in analytics. If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact me!


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