Decide On Your Goal Type

Apr 13 07:58 2012 Laura Lowell Print This Article

Tracking conversions with Google Analytics helps you determine if your website is meeting your objectives.  This article will teach you how to setup goals to track conversions.

Enabling a goal in order to track a conversion is one of the best ways to assess how well your site meets its business objectives. The hardest task for most website owners always seems to be identifying what goal type to use. A goal can be any activity on your website that's important to the success of your business or that drives a certain type of behavior that is important to your business. An account signup or requests for a sales call are two examples of a goal. Goals are useful if you would like to understand how much time visitors stay or,Guest Posting more importantly, do not stay on a specific section of your website.

Every website should have at least one goal, especially now since Google Analytics allows for up to 20.1 The following are different goal types available to choose from. Remember, select goals that help you achieve your defined business objectives.

Time-Based Goals

Time-based goals can be set if you would like to measure a specific amount of time a visitor has spent on your website. You are simply telling Google Analytics the hours, minutes, and seconds that you would like a visitor to spend on your site before a goal is counted. You can even track a time-based goal if a visitor does not reach a certain period of time on your website. For example, you would use this goal if you added a video to your website and want to measure how long visitors stay as a result of adding the video.

Pageview Based Goals

This is similar to time-based goals except you are tracking goals when a visitor exceeds (or doesn't exceed) a certain number of pages. The same conditions apply as time-based goals, meaning you are telling Google Analytics the number of pageviews you would like to set up as a goal for each visitor. You could use this goal if you have a number of pages on your website (such as an e-commerce website) and want to establish a goal for the number of pageviews visitors reach with each visit.

URL Destination Goals

Identifying a specific URL destination has always been the traditional method of tracking goals in Google Analytics. To define a goal in Google Analytics, you specify the page that visitors see once they have completed the activity. For example, if you have a shopping cart on your website, then you would set the "Thank You" or confirmation page as the URL destination goal.

You can also assign a value to a goal in order to evaluate how often visitors become customers after reaching a goal on your website. For example, if you close 10 percent of the people who request to be contacted, and your average transaction is $500, you might assign $50 (i.e. 10 percent of $500) to your "Contact Me" goal. Or, if only five percent of mailing list signups result in a sale, you might only assign $25 to your "email signup" goal.

Setting goals is not a difficult process but it needs to be a thoughtful process. Keep the points below in mind and you will be on your way to successful tracking.

• Consider organizing goals by function (i.e. by time, download, etc.)
• A visitor can only convert each goal once per visit
• Consider consolidating all your goals into one profile
• Creating new goals will not modify your historical data, only future data

© 2012 Rob Sanders.

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About Article Author

Laura Lowell
Laura Lowell

This excerpt by Rob Sanders, courtesy of Editor Laura Lowell, is Rule 18 from "42 Rules for Applying Google Analytics".  As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob Sanders brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the world of online marketing.  RSO Consulting's core competencies include search engine marketing (pay per click management and search engine optimization), social media optimization, and web analytics consulting. Rob started his online career as a Web Producer for USA Today Online in 1994 before moving to Philadelphia to help launch an online media service at The Sports Network.  You can purchase the book at  Follow 42Rules at!/42_Rules.

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