Setting Goals in Google Analytics

Episode 10 Digital Marketing Video

PPC Video
10 mins

Goals in Google Analytics allow you to get the most out of the tool and really start to work out the Return On Investment (ROI) of your digital channels. The video explores the 5 main types of goals: Destination goals, Duration goals, Pages per Visit goals, Event goals and Smart goals. We put particular focus on Destination and Event goals and how they can be used to measure die rent type son objectives for both Business to Business and Business to Consumer organisations.


Hi, I'm Daniel from Target Internet and in this video, we're going to talk about setting up goals in Google Analytics. One of the fundamental things about digital marketing is that if you don't set up goals for your digital campaigns, you're never going to be able to judge them and look at the success of them effectively. There are lots and lots of reports with Google Analytics, but actually goals gives you a whole stage further insight and information.

So if you go within Google Analytics, you've got all your goals reports down on the bottom left-hand side of the page. But when you go into Google Analytics first of all, there won't be any set up so you need to set these up yourself. Now it's relatively straightforward to do, but you really need to understand the different types of goals and what you can do with them, and the limitations of them as well. And that's what we're going to try and talk about in this video.

So if you go into admin within Google Analytics, you should find on the right-hand side of the menus, you've got one that says goals. And you can set up [00:01:00] a new goal. When you go to set up a new goal, it will give you a whole list of options about the different things that you're trying to measure. Pretty much whichever one you go through to or if you set a custom goal, you end up with five fundamental options.

So I want to talk through what those five options are and then how you're going to want to use them. Really of those five, there are two that you really need to understand, so two that are really, really useful and allow us to get a lot more from Analytics. So you go through, you set up a new goal, you choose the type of goal you want to set. We normally just go through and select custom because you end up with the same options anyway. It will give you these different ones.

The first one it will give you is a destination goal. A destination goal is somebody getting to a particular page. Normally you'd set that as a thank you page. What I mean by that is you get through to the, "Thank you for downloading," "Thank you for signing up," "Thank you for buying the product." Because you know if somebody got to that page, they've gone through and carried out the action that you wanted them to carry out.

So destination goals, relatively straightforward. You can use them in a whole range of different circumstances, whether it's business to business, "Thank you for filling in the form," e-commerce, "Thank you for going through and actually buying the product," or if it's just signing up for an email or something similar. Relatively straightforward, but what you can also add to that is a series of different steps that you'll go through on the way to doing that. So a funnel process.

And what I mean is, for example, if you're in a shopping cart process, there's normally two or three steps you have to go through before you get to that final thank you page. So therefore what you can do is if you set those pages as well, you can see where somebody is in that shopping cart process and also where they're dropping out. It allows you to see a sales funnel that somebody's going through and where they're actually dropping out of that process.

So destination goals, really important. You put the URL or the web address of where you want them to get to. And if there are steps they need to go through before then, you can add those as well. But even if there's not, it's a really, really useful report. You can also associate a value with that goal. So if it's an e-commerce goal, you could put a pound, dollar, whatever the currency value may be against that as well.

So that's the one we're probably likely to use more than anything. We use those for e-commerce purchases, for people inquiring about business-to-business services, for people signing up for our email, or actually someone just filling in a contact form as well. Now I could put those onto a podcast or a video page, for example. I'd know you'd got to the podcast or video page, but I wouldn't know if you'd listened or watched. So you can see there's a bit of a limitation in that kind of circumstance. So that's our first one, a destination goal.

The next two are two that we very rarely actually use. The first one is a duration goal, which is how long is somebody staying on your website for. Now you might say, "Well, the average visit is two or three minutes. Therefore if somebody stays for five minutes, they must be really engaged with my content." That's great, but what it could also mean is they can't find what they're looking for and they're lost. So it's a little bit of a risky goal to use from that point of view. You can set them up, but you need to be careful of what it's actually telling you.

The next goal is a number of pages per visit or per session, which basically means when someone visits the website, how many pages they look at. So again if the average visitor is looking at three pages and somebody looks at ten, you might think that's a great thing. Nut it might also mean they can't find what they're looking for. So those two types of goals, a duration and a pages per visit, you need to be a little bit careful of. So we tend not to use them too much.

The fourth one and probably the most versatile and useful, but unfortunately more difficult to set up, is an event goal. An event goal is somebody doing something within a page normally. It could be somebody clicking on the play button of a video, it could be somebody getting to the end of a video. It could be somebody going through and scrolling down a page.

And that's an important one for us because we've got lots of content. So great, you load the blog post up. But what about someone starts to scroll? What about when someone scrolls all the way to the end? You could set both of those things as an event. We've got a really long sales page with lots of different sections. You could go through and set an event at the bottom of each section. I could say, "Right, I can see somebody got through that particular piece of content." If you had a form for someone to fill in, you could put an event on every single part of the form and you could see how far through filling that form in, people actually got as well.

So events are very versatile, but you need to add extra code to your pages so a developer does need to be involved in this. It's not actually that difficult to set up at all in the first place, but it can give you a huge amount more insight into what's going on within your pages. Because say for example, you've got an e-commerce website and you have lots of visitors and only a small percentage of them is converting. Well, actually I want to know why. But all I'm seeing is people getting to my product pages or my shopping cart pages. I'm not seeing what they're doing within that page. So events can really give us a lot more detail in those kinds of things.

You can also set up more complicated events as well. So things like people playing a game for five minutes, then visiting three pages, then coming back within a certain period of time. You can get quite creative in what you're really looking at and what you want from people carrying out those activities. So we've got our destination goals, people getting to a certain page. We've got our duration and number of pages visited, which we said we're probably going to avoid. We've got our event goals which we said are really, really powerful. There's lots of creative opportunities with those.

Finally we've got a relatively new thing called smart goals. Now smart goals is where Google Analytics...when you're using pay per clicks, you're basically using the Google AdWords actually working out goals for you. Who are your most engaged users? You can't go through and necessarily manually set those up in the easiest way. So it's better to focus on destination goals, people getting to the pages you want them to get to, and then event goals.

Now within Google Analytics, you have sets of goals. Generally speaking, you have four different sets of goals and you can put five within each. So you've got 20 goals that you can set up. Just be aware, once you've set a goal up, you can't delete it. You can't get rid of it. You can change it and modify it. But the logic behind that is, if you set it up and you're reporting on it, if you then delete it and change the name of it, it could get confusing on what you're reporting on. So be aware when you set these up, you've got them and you can't necessarily get rid of them. You can make them inactive so you don't need to necessarily report on them. Just be aware of that.

If you need more than 20 Analytics goals, what you can actually do is set up multiple views of your Analytics. So you go into Analytics, you've got your data there and it's got 20 goals. If you need more than that, you set up a separate view. The problem is when you set up a separate view, it only starts recording data from that point going forward. So what that would mean is that you would have all your historical data in there as well.

You can look at all the documentation for setting up different views and Analytics within the Analytics docs. But twenty goals, so you can track all sorts of different things. It doesn't just have to be your transaction. It can be different levels of interaction as well and it will give you a lot more insight. Once you've got these goals set up, you get a whole load more reports. So you get your goal reports, so how many people are actually doing these things? And you can drill into that data a lot more as well.

But most importantly in my opinion is you get multi channel funnels. Multi channel funnels is probably the single most important report in Google Analytics. It tells you, of all the people that ended up doing the thing that you wanted them to do...that is completing your goal...what channels did they use on the way there? Not that they came from email and they converted immediately, but maybe they came in from email, they used a search, they did another search, they clicked on an ad, and then eventually they converted. Because you've got your goals set up, you can track backwards the whole way through that user journey and you can go through and see actually which of your channels are working but where they're working in the user journey and how people are actually using them.

So basically setting up goals gives you a whole set of new reports and a load of data that you wouldn't have otherwise that will be really useful. So make sure you set your goals up. Bear in mind you can't delete them, so therefore make sure you're setting up the right thing. But don't be afraid of setting up a number of different goals. Think about destination goals and then think about how you could use event goals. Then you're going to need to get a developer involved to do that, but you're going to get a whole lot more from your data once you've got these set up.

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