Do you want to improve conversions on your website?
Whether you want to track leads, sales or just understand what traffic sources are contributing to your bottom line – you need the right tracking in place.
In this post, you will learn how to set up goal tracking in Google Analytics so you can track conversions across your website – easy!
And, I’ll show you how to access that data in Google Analytics once your goal tracking is set up, so you can find what works and do more of it.
Quick heads up: Google Analytics have removed the goal tracking feature in GA4. But, If you aren’t using the new Google Analytics App + Web property yet this tutorial will work fine.
Let’s get started:
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Why use goal tracking in Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free website analytics platform. One of their most under-utilised and incredibly useful features is goal tracking.
Using this goal tracking feature, there are four main goals you can track:
- Pages/screens per session
For the purpose of this post we will be focusing on destination goals because they are the most important since they allow you to track conversions for sales or some type of sign up (e.g. joining your email newsletter or downloading a lead magnet).
Destinations are simply specific pages. Such as /thank-you or /confirmation.
The idea is that you enter the URI you want Google Analytics to track conversions for, then you will be able to do the following:
- View which pages/posts on your site convert
- View which traffic sources are driving conversions
- See goal completions and conversions for each page in your sales funnel
So, if you’re a blogger and want to understand which traffic sources are getting you email subscribers – you can.
If you’re a course creator, you can see which content on your site is driving sales and which traffic sources you should focus on.
If you’re a freelancer (or agency), you can understand which service pages are driving enquiries. And the list goes on…
Sound good? Let’s look at how to set goals in Google Analytics.
How to set goals in Google Analytics
If you haven’t got Google Analytics installed on your website yet, you’ll need to follow Google’s setup tutorial.
It’s a simple process that involves signing up for your account, grabbing some tracking code and adding it to your website. You can use a free WordPress plugin like Analytify.
Now, let’s set your goals in Google Analytics!
Once you’re logged in to your analytics, you’ll need to click on the Admin button in the bottom left corner:
Now, click Goals in the far right column:
Then Click the New Goal button:
Enter a name for your goal and select Duration:
You can also specify a Goal Slot ID but we can ignore that.
Finally, we’ll enter the URI’s (or permalinks) for our goals like I’ve done in this screenshot:
Note: What is a URI? It’s similar to a URL but the domain name is excluded. So instead of entering https://bloggingwizard.com/thank-you, we would enter /thank-you.
Here’s what I’ve done:
- Click the drop down menu and select Begins With. This ensures we catch anyone getting to the destination page with/without the trailing slash.
- Entered the destination URI – this is the ‘end goal’ where visitors will end up.
- Clicked the Funnel toggle switch.
- Entered the URI’s for pages people will visit before they reach the destination.
You could just enter the destination and be done with it. However, you’ll be able to see funnel visualizations and identify leaky parts of your funnel if you do. Useful right?
In the example above, I have left the Required toggle switches alone. However, if you tick those, visitors who convert will have to visit the page you set as Required in order for the conversion to be tracked.
This is useful because sometimes visitors may randomly land on pages within your funnel. For example, if you offer a lead magnet on a confirmation page that someone links to in a blog post, you’ll stop data from being skewed.
Next, you can click Verify to view how your goal would have converted over the past 7 days.
Finally, click Save and your goal has been set!
Note: I’ve skipped adding a monetary value to my goals because it can result in misleading data. However, you can do that if you prefer. Also, if you have multiple funnels, best practice is to use different destination URI’s each time. So, for example, I would not use my /thank-you page for other funnels. I’d duplicate the page and change the URI slightly.
Now, let’s take a look at how to monitor your goals so you can dig out some useful data.
How to monitor your goals in Google Analytics
There are several places within Google Analytics where you can monitor your goals.
Let’s take a look at the most common ones you will need:
How to view which pages/posts are driving conversions
Let’s say you are publishing regular blog posts and you want to see how successful your blog posts are at driving conversions.
Use the navigation menu on the left side to go to Behaviour → Site Content → Landing Pages.
Over to the right of the screen, you will see a few extra columns next to your data.
Click the drop down box next to the word Conversions and select your goal. If you only have one, this should be there by default.
Below, you will see the number of conversions and conversion rates.
Note: Conversions are measured as unique pageviews not specific as the exact number of conversions.
You will see total conversions and conversion rates across the top, then individual data for each landing page.
How to view which traffic sources are converting best
This is where your goal tracking can really pay off – you can unearth some great opportunities here.
On the left side of your screen, navigate to Acquisition → All Traffic → Channels.
Similar to before, we’ll select our goal from the drop down next to the word Conversions on the right hand side.
We’ll be able to see each type of traffic, acquisition data, behavioural metrics and our conversion goals.
But that’s not all. We can click each of these traffic types to dig deeper.
Let’s use Referral traffic as an example.
If we click on Referrals, we’ll see the individual websites sending traffic to us.
Sometimes Google Analytics will put traffic here that belongs elsewhere such as DuckDuckGo or AOL Search so there is a degree of sense checking required.
Filtering by the highest conversion rate to the lowest, I scanned down the list of referrals for Blogging Wizard and spotted one from ContentMarketingInstitute.com that converted at over 5%:
Clicking on the domain, I can find the exact article that sent me this traffic. It turns out Blogging Wizard was featured towards the top of a list of ‘blogs inspiring marketers’. Awesome!
What can I do with this information? I can reshare the content and promote it in some other way to give it a boost.
Particularly in the case of websites that send traffic from multiple blog posts, I can look at the context of the link to better understand why certain content sends more traffic, or converts better when they land on my site.
You will undoubtedly find sites that send a large amount of traffic that don’t convert. Looking at the context will help you understand why. For example, Elementor.com sent a lot of traffic to one of my articles a while back. It didn’t convert but after digging into it more, it turns out they linked to a revenue generating article where I don’t display popovers.
Also, you can use this data to identify which websites you may want to consider contributing to in the future.
How to visualize your funnel and monitor top-level conversions
Google Analytics has an entire section devoted to goals.
Just head to Conversions → Goals:
Here, we can dig into some useful data.
Reverse Goal Path is useful because it allows you to quickly identify the pages/posts that are sending the most conversions.
But I particularly like the Funnel Visualization feature.
The funnel in the example above is rather shallow because it is designed to track newsletter sign ups from my opt-in forms and landing pages. However, with a funnel designed around digital downloads or online courses, you will get a much clearer idea of which funnel steps are causing people to drop off. Once you know this, you can work on plugging the leaks and optimizing each funnel step accordingly.
How to track ecommerce goals and conversions in Google Analytics
Providing you have the ecommerce tracking snippet added to your website, you will be able to monitor your ecommerce goals by going to Conversions → Ecommerce.
Now, I don’t run an ecommerce website so I can’t show you exactly what this data looks like – but it is there if you do.
Everything that can be measured can be improved.
Measuring is the first step in the optimization process. If you aren’t measuring it, there’s no way to improve it.
So, get your Google Analytics goals set up and start tracking your funnel pages. Once you have a good amount of data to work with, you can start turning that data into opportunities to optimize and grow your website.