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10 Must Track Google Analytics Goals

Written By: langdon on June 5, 2011 No Comment

Top 10 Google Analytics Goals

Visitors per is important provided the analytic tool is accurate – visitors/repeat visitors can also be misleading since a single IP can represent multiple people. Be sure not to focus on the raw hits numbers unless your analytic tool allows you to omit images, js, css etc files from the hit count – if it does, the hits count can actually indicate something, should be similar in number to “visits.” The actual number isn’t as important as trends!

Something to watch for is the correlation between other media/press releases and the number of visitors – e.g., when you use Twitter (tweet) a blog post and see a corresponding increase in visitors — or TV ad which mentions your URL This can be a big indication of ROI on your time and money in your cross promotions, You are doing cross promotions right?

Conversion actions if trackable are real important – A goal of +2% indicates a successful site (ROI and all). If you are not providing ways for user interaction you can not determine ROI – and you have to first determine what kind of return you want, actual sales, customer satisfaction, etc. That would determine the type of user interaction you will want to track, just don’t try to track too many things all at once initially.

A good analytic tool should provide you with data regarding search engine crawls – you want to see frequent crawls and complete crawls, i.e., more than just your home page is being hit by the bots. If you don’t see frequent visits by the bots, you need to work on that seriously.

Time on site can be very misleading, I have seen some very skewed data here.

A good analytic tool will also provide you with data regarding keywords, which ones people are using to find you. It helps especially when one wants to jump into the pool of ad words. It also helps to see what areas you may need to focus on in getting better content on your site that mentions those keywords that aren’t being found. Do not use keywords that were not being used by people looking for them! Think like the end user, not like the site owner.

The definition of Google Analytics goals has always been clear to me – a means to measure business objectives, reports and improve on them. Google Analytics has transformed itself over the years from a ‘nice to have’ analytics software to a ‘must have’ analytics software so providing you agree with my definition of Google analytics goals, you’ll understand that they go way beyond tracking a sales funnel.

Before you start tracking, you’ll notice that Google Analytics allows tracking of up to four goals. Therefore to track more goals, you’ll need to set a duplicate profile and you might also find it useful to add a date next to the goal name.


Top 10 Must Track Google Analytics Goals:

Track Comments – This neat analytics goal is great f
or websites offering blog functionality and gets more users engaged in the conversation. You’ll need to track two main actions, ‘submit your comment’ and ‘post your comment’. In order to set the goal, you’ll need to track onclick events by setting up a virtual page view (a page that doesn’t actually exist – such as the ‘post your comment’ button) and link this virtual page view to a goal in Analytics.

Track Social Bookmarking Actions – If you’re offering some sort of social bookmarking buttons on your site, wouldn’t be great to know if it’s working and whether users are actually clicking on the widget. Using Google Analytics tracking clicks on outbound links is quite easy to achieve this goal. First you’ll need to tag the link itself by tweaking the GA tracking code and adding /outgoing/ then set the goal page as /outgoing/.* using regex match)



If you’re using Addtoany.com for example, you’ll need to set the goal to head match /addtoany.com/services/(or regex match goal as /addtoany.com/services/.*). If you’re offering an internal email this page’s functionality, simply add the email sent confirmation message URL as the goal.




Track Newsletter Subscriptions – I know, you’re not supposed to have favourites, however this one is one of mine because its easy to place a goal value next to each successful subscription. The first stage is to start tagging your email campaigns using Google URL builder to get a better understanding of how much revenue this channel brings in and what its conversion rate is. Once you have this information (which is optional of course) you can set up the goal together with its value.



Track Catalogue Request – Similar to tracking newsletter subscriptions, catalogue request has been known to convert 10 times better than PPC traffic so you’ll understand why tracking and optimising the catalogue request funnel is imperative for your business.
Track New Account Openings
– Use this goal to u
nderstand how many users go from opening an account to completing their order and to see how difficult you are making it to open an account. You’ll find by analyzing the account opening funnel that removing some of the requirements fields (i.e. do you really need my phone number now?) will help improve the goal conversion rate. Another classic mistake is having a captcha form which is too difficult to complete.


Track Feed Subscriptions– Using the very handy trackPageview tag again, you’ll need to create a ‘goal’ page and update the feed link o
n the blog or website. The goal page should look something like onclick=”javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview(’/page/rss.html’);” Once the tag is up to date and assigned to the RSS link create a goal using head match.

Track File Downloads – Google Analytics offers an easy way to track clicks on links that lead to file downloads. Great for tracking PDF, MP3 etc using . For more information visit Google help resource for tracking downloads.

Track Call Back Requests
– In most call back widgets I’ve seen there are two pages, ‘request a call’ and ‘confirmation’. Using head match it’s straigh
t forward to set a goal. If your business tracks revenue by phone orders, you can add a goal value as well. I like this goal because it really illustrates the link between call centres and website sales and how they are all connected.

Track Leads – If you are selling online or making a living from the online world you simply have to track and improve on your lead tracking.


Track Sales
– Despite leaving this goal until the end, it is by far the most important goal for any online retailer. My recommendation when setting this goal is to include every step a user might take to better understand where to improve. If you’re asking what conversion rate you should be looking to achieve, Amazon are converting at 17%+
and some of my clients exceed this however granted the issue is more complicated and would probably need couple of blog posts to explain 😉
Bonus: track website user reviews – I am a big fan of user generated content and reviews in particular. I have seen reviews helping to increase a product conversion and these days online retailers are starting to accept reviews whether negative or positive as helping their business.One of the best features in Google Analytics is the ability to set up goals and analysing the goal funnel understand how to improve the user experience and website offer. The first goal website owners seem to create is a sales conversion goal, though there are many other important website engagements you might want to track, understand and optimise.

Which goals do you track?

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