Goals are one of the features of Google Analytics that everyone knows are there, but many don’t implement because they’re not sure how they work. However setting up Google Analytics Goals and funnels is a great way of testing the usability of your site and ensuring that you get more conversions and more sales.
Another mistake people often make is only tracking goals that directly generate revenue (e.g. tracking sales) – however there are a number of other useful goals that can tell you a lot about user engagement that can help increase conversions in the long run.
We cover setting up Goals and Funnels on our Google Analytics Training course – here’s our top 5 list of Goals that you really should have if you’re using Google Analytics
Some of these goals also require you to set up onclick Virtual Page Views (i.e when users click on something that isn’t actually a standalone page on your site – like a form – or click on an external link – for example your Twitter account). We cover setting up Virtual Page Views on our Advanced Google Analytics course
Google Analytics: Top 5 Goals to Track
1) Track Social Bookmarking Clicks
If you have links to your Twitter and Facebook profiles on your site, Google Analytics won’t track these as they are external links. However if you set up virtual page views withing the links you can. Call the virtual page views something like “facebook-hit” and “twitter-hit” or something similar, and you’ll be able to set up goals to track them.
You’ll be able to monitor how many of your users actually want to engage with your social media presence, and also if that improves if you change the position of those buttons.
2) Track Blog Comments
If you have a blog, this is a great way to track user engagement and monitor it through a Google Analytics report. To make it work you’ll need to put a virtual page view on your “submit comment” button, and call it something easy to remember like “blog-comment-submit”. You can now set up a URL Destination goal for that pageview and the report will show you a graph of blog comments over time. A useful ready reckoner for how engaging your content has been!
3) Track Account Setups
If you work on a subscription or membership basis – this is a really important goal to track.
Importantly – you need to make sure that you track EVERY STEP of the sign up process in your funnel (not just the completed subscription page).
This way you’ll be able to see if a significant number of users are dropping out at a certain part of the process (e.g. where they have to submit credit card details) and redesign your forms to increase the number of people who finish the process.
Tracking this sort of data can really help you to increase the number of people who will eventually buy from your site, and can make a big impact on your profits.
4) Track File Downloads
If you have resources on your site that you want people to download, for example PDF product guides or free document templates etc…, you should set up more virtual page views to track how many people are actually downloading them. If a particular resource isn’t being downloaded it’s not useful – and could make way for something that is.
Further – if you distribute PDFs with links to your site in them – you should track those links so you can see how much traffic they generate. You can do this using Google’s URL Builder Tool
5) Track Sales
We’ve put this one last because we wanted everyone to think about some of the other options first to generate some more ideas – but yes – of course – tracking sales is THE must have goal for anyone who has e-commerce on their site (and if you don’t you should be tracking any other conversion that indicates a sale – like an order form submission).
As with account setup requests (above) – its ESSENTIAL that you track every step in the funnel – if 90% of people are dropping out on the step before they hit “submit order”, that’s something that you should address NOW!
If you have any other goals that you think everyone should track – let us know about them in comments (below)
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