Google Analytics is one of the core tools that you can easily implement to collect masses of helpful data about your website users and how they use your website.
Within a few days of using analytics, you will begin to see valuable data about your visitors such as their geographic location, what browser they use, how long they stay on your website, what page is most viewed, and so on.
But Google Analytics also has a lot of different aspects and sections, and you can easily get lost in the data and forget about what's important.
That's where goals come in. They help you see how your website is actually working against an objective that you want to move users towards.
Setting up clear goals helps you better understand exactly how effective your website is. It also helps you define a more accurate conversion rate, and cost to acquire a customer.
If you know that 20% of users who visit the website sign-up for a trial, and 20% of users who sign-up for a trial convert to a paid plan, then you know how much you can afford to pay on advertising to get a new customer to your website.
Goals help you measure your sea of data against business objectives, so you know that improvements to your website are resulting in benefiting the business, and not just achieving a smaller bounce rate.
Under the Goals tab in the settings of Google Analytics, you want to add a new goal to set-up.
First, you'll want to select the type of goal that you're wanting to create from the template list. Most likely this will be “Create an account”; but if that or the other goals don't fit, then select "custom" from the end of the list.
Add a name for your goal that describes what the goal does, and then choose a goal slot ID. It doesn't matter what goal slot ID you pick, so feel free to leave it as it, or change it so you can have certain goals grouped together.
You can then pick the type of goal that is suitable for what you're trying to test. There are several different types of goals that you can measure your visitors against.
The different types include:
In most cases ‘Destination’ is usually a good option to pick by setting up a page that users are redirected to after a certain action such as signing up. That way you can measure how many users have successfully signed up.
The ‘Duration’ and ‘Pages’ per session options are more effective for user engagement, but they often don't tell you much more than what you can find from the Google Analytics home.
Setting the Event goal type is best when you can't measure an action against a destination page. For example, a successful user sign-up that you can't redirect to another page but you can still measure through if a user clicks on a certain element.
You'll find that the Destination goal type is both the easiest to set up and manage, and will give you the best picture of when users are taking a certain action. Because of this, you should try to set up your goals around a user visiting a certain page first and foremost.
After picking our goal type (in this case I picked Destination), you then want to pick the page that they visit to result in the goal being successfully completed. This could be a ‘thank you’ page or a page such as website.com/success.
Value - If you know the dollar value of a customer signing up, then you can assign a value for when the goal is successfully completed. For SaaS products, the value is usually a number created from your customer lifetime value times by your conversion rate of customers who sign up that turn into a paying customer.
CLV * Conversion rate to a paid account = Goal Value
$80 * 0.2 = $16
Funnel - If you have a set order for screens that you take customers through for signing up, then you can turn off the funnel to see where users are most likely to drop out.
In the example above, there are 3 pages that the customer will go through before hitting the final "/thank-you" page (you don't want to add your final page to the funnel, leave that as just the destination).
The required toggle ensures customers start from a certain page when moving through the funnel, which is helpful to make the data more accurate, but not going to be useful if there are many ways your users initially sign-up.
Verify - Finally, you can check to see if the goal is already working and what the conversion rate was over the past week. This will not work if you've had to set up a new page for the destination, or it's the first time users have ever been taken through the funnel.
Now you can save your goal and it is all set up!
Depending on whether or not you already had the systems set up to collect data for the goal, you might also see info on how well your goal performs. If you don't currently see any info though, come back in a couple of weeks to check in on the data.
Because goals help you measure all your website data against business objectives, you can forget about improving vanity metrics such as the bounce rate, and focus on improving aspects of the marketing site that will improve the business.
A higher bounce rate doesn't matter, nor does more website visitors, long page views, or how many pages a user visits.
In the long run, all that matters is getting more paying customers; so make sure you can measure everything against this.
Measure through goals, and start to understand the full picture of how well your website performs, and how effectively you are turning visitors into customers.
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