Why set Goals in Google Analytics
The best thing about web analytics is also the worst thing – the sheer volume of information. To find actionable reports in the deluge of data in Google Analytics it is important to set Goals. Having defined Goals for you web traffic identifies the significant visitors, and understanding their activity is the key to improving the contribution your web presence makes to the business.
If you are reading this then you are probably starting to ask yourself why do I have a website and how can I improve it. Perhaps you have asked your web designer and been given access to your Google Analytics data and want to find the answers. Well it is worth understanding and setting up Goals correctly early-on in your endeavour as analysis will not be done on historic data. You must define Goals before data appears in the reports on Goals and Goal Conversions.
Selecting and Organising Goals
To get that big commitment and convert your website visitors into customers you will need to engage them in a process: building confidence in your company, learning about your products and, of course, making contact with you or placing an order. The visitor will first need to be enticed to complete smaller steps (micro Conversions) such as spending time on your site or downloading information, before progressing to bigger steps (macro Conversion) like completing the ‘contact me’ form. To understand and improve this process you need to track each step that may contribute to a successful outcome, these steps are your Goals.
Take a moment to think how to organise your Goals before setting them up. In Google Analytics you can divide Goals in to 4 sets, with 5 Goals in each set (a total of up to 20 Goals per Profile).
For a lead generating website your could consider organising your goals like this:
Goal set 1 – Primary Goals (macro Conversions) such as contact form completions, or newsletter subscriptions
Goal set 2 – Secondary Goals (micro Conversions) such as watching product videos or downloading information
Goal set 3 – Engagement Goals like time on page or number of pages visited.
Goal set 4 – You could even set some negative Goals like newsletter unsubscribes or error pages.
Google Analytics has great help pages explaining how to set up Goals. You can go back and edit your Goals at any time or make a redundant Goal inactive but you cannot delete Goals. Once Goal data is in your reports it is there forever, previously recorded data will not be re-analysed if a Goal is modified by editing. For this reason it is worth adding an annotation to record the date of any significant changes to your Goals.
What can Goals tell us
When a visit completes a Goal, Google analytics records a conversion (maximum of one conversion per Goal per visit). If a visitor is successfully engaged then a number of different Goals may be completed and several conversions will be recorded for one visit.
To view data on your Goals go to Conversions on the left hand side of Google Analytics and select Goals and you can see the Overview report. Pull down the menu on the ‘all Goals’ button at the top of the graph to see data on each Goal separately.
I find the Reverse Goal Path report provides the most actionable information in this section. It shows you the different navigation paths that visitors have used to complete the Goal, starting with the goal completing location in the left hand column and working backwards. This is an interesting report as you can compare it to your predicted route that you may have set up in the funnel. You can now see which pages entice visitors to progress towards your goals and evaluate ways to improve their experience.
The best use of Goals and Conversion rates is you can now more meaningfully evaluate the performance of the many other metrics reported throughout Google Analytics. You can identify the sources of leads or key words that covert customers like crazy or that one landing page that has never converted a customer.
The sources report now reveals where the traffic that actually fulfills our Goals is coming from. We can tell that the source bringing us the most hits is not the most valuable source of visitors for our business.
I hope you find this post informative please add your comments or feel free to contact me for any assistance on how to understand your web analytics and optimise your website.
Based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, Web Incite simply and cost effectively bring on-line marketing tactics into the hands of small and medium sized suppliers, specifically in the laboratory and scientific marketplace. We have many years’ experience working with manufactures, distributors and service organisations to improve lead generation activities and sales results. Please contact us to discuss how we can help.