Tracking Goals with Google Analytics

If you’re building an online business it is absolutely critical that you understand how people find your business, and of course, how many people are visiting your site each month. There are a zillion different analytics tools out there but my favorite without a shadow of a doubt is Google Analytics. What most people don’t realize is that besides providing sophisticated analytics data this tool can also help you track and improve real business metrics.

There are a number of features I use within Google Analytics but one of the most useful is Goal Tracking. So first things first, what the heck are goals?

Goals are a way in which you can measure how well your site accomplishes specific business metrics. Let’s say that you run a website that sells widgets (I love widgets, don’t you!) and you want to sell more red widgets than anyone else in the world, because, well red widgets are the best – duh. You can setup a goal so that Google Analytics can track the path that people take to get to the point of actually buying a red widget. This is called a funnel path and the idea is to try and step inside the mind of your visitor and determine the route they take to achieve the goal you want them to achieve, in this case buy that shiny new red widget. Sick of the widget talk? Let’s move-onto how you can actually setup a goal. You can find goals in the menu on the left-hand side of your Google Analytics account screen:

goals_menu

Once you have selected goals you’ll get a little introduction to what goals are…which you don’t have to read now that I’ve introduced you to the concept! So you can just click on the link that says “Setup goals and funnels” and you will see the following:

setup_goalsTo add a goal – you guessed it, just click “+ Add goal”

goal_informationAs you can see from the above screenshot, I have named my goal “My Goal” and have selected “URL Destination” as the Goal Type. In this case I can specify the URL that someone should reach to hit this goal. You can also create goals based on the amount of time a visitor spends on your site or the number of pages that they visit.

Now for the icing on the cake, funnels. It may sounds a bit complex but it’s actually quite easy, simply fill-out the path that a visitor should take to hit your goal.

goal_funnelViola! You now know the basics of setting-up goals and funnels in Google Analytics. It may sound geeky but this actually is one of the least geeky parts of Google Analytics since you need this to track real business goals. Now you can unlock some of the potential within Google Analytics that you might not have even known was there, and the best part is, it’s free so there’s no reason not to use it. Enjoy and as always thanks for reading, hopefully I made this a bit more entertaining than the normal dry discussion of a tool like this!

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • AndyO July 8, 2011, 9:11 pm

    Thanks for the walkthrough. Never played around with this stuff before, but it looks like it’s worth reading up on.
    p.s. The link to Google Analytics is broken.

    Reply

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