Hello again. I hope you got your Google Analytics account setup and the tracking code has been implemented correctly for your site. Now things are getting exciting!
This article is going to take you through the process for setting up a goal funnel in Google Analytics. GA has some very powerful metrics specifically reserved for goals such as conversion rates and abandonment rates. With no calculations needed on your side!
How Useful is a Goal?
If you don’t have a goal set up, it is not possible to see a conversion rate for the thing you are tracking. Say we are tracking restaurants signing-up to a rating system for their waiters. If we have no goal setup to track this, we can see how many users viewed the sign-up page and how many users viewed the successful sign up page, but more than that gets tricky.
What is the rate of success from the sign-up page to the success page? You don’t know.
Is it on par with industry success rates? You don’t know.
If there are more than two pages, where do the most people drop out? You don’t know.
Wouldn’t you like to know? If you implement a goal in GA, you have access to these mertcis and more. All already calculated for you, and assembled nicely on a few pages dedicated to goal conversion.
What to Know about Goals Before Setting One Up
GA lets you create 20 goals per View. Goals are very precise and one goal can have many steps to completion s nearly everyone stays within the 20. If you need more than 20 that’s when a second View is needed.
Be very precise with the steps and setup and test it straight away to make sure a little typo isn’t stopping you from tracking something this important.
Don’t track purchasing products from a store (if you are an e-commerce site and not a web app) as a goal. This is done much better using GA’s Enhanced Ecommerce tracking.
And Now for the Steps
- Login in to your Google Analytics account at analytics.google.com
- Open the Admin menu – marked below
3. Once in the Admin menu select the Goals menu from the right-hand column – marked below
4. Select NEW GOAL – marked below
5. Select the Custom option for your Goal set-up.
We’ll now be working inside the goal builder – marked below – and I’ll only show this area in the screenshots going forwards.
6. Under Goal description, give your goal a name. Make this as short and as specific as possible. Then select Destination as your goal type and click Continue
The most common goal steps use page views and are the Destination goal type.
Duration goals are simple enough to understand. They track a conversion when someone was on a page for a certain amount of time.
Pages/Screens per session goals are also straightforward. They track a conversion when a user goes above a number of pages/screens which you have decided.
Event goals are also quite common but they require you to have events setup and that’s not something we have discussed yet. Setting up events is usually done in Google Tag Manager so check out our articles and our course on Google Tag Manager if you think you want more complicated goals.
Smart goals are only available once you have a lot of people visiting your website and clicking about. These are called engaged users. Google can use a Smart Goal to group together these engaged users and target them with advertising. You might find this a useful strategy, but, in my opinion, you will better target potential buyers with look-alike audiences then targeting engaged users.
7. Now we need the URL of your goal completion page. Make sure this is the page your users see AFTER they have completed the goal. For our example, this is the Thank You Page.
The page before the Thank You Page is the Sign Up Page and it is where they enter their details. If they exit the Sign Up Page without clicking Submit, they never actually signed up and we don’t want to count them as a conversion. Can you see how important it is to use the page they see AFTER completing the goal?
Open your website, go the the goal completion page and copy the address in the address bar – marked below.
8. Now open GA again and add this URL as the Destination under Goal details. Once you have copied it there, you need to delete the first part of the URL so you are left with just the page path. So if you copied in https://mywebsite.com/sign-up/complete then keep only /sign-up/complete/
This is really important. If you keep the whole thing, the goal won’t track anything. If you miss out the first or last / then your goal won’t track anything. Come back and check this if your goal fails on the test.
9. If you only have one page to track a goal completion and nothing can be tracked before this as a earlier step, then you are done. You might have a landing page with a sign up form right there on it. When someone fills in the form they see a thank you page and you track that as the goal completion and you are done.
But if, like this example you have a few pages to visit in the flow of completing the goal, then make sure Funnel is turned on – as shown below
10. This is only for those goals that have multiple steps:
10.1. Start at the beginning of the goal flow. Open the web page and copy the URL for the first step. Come back into GA, type in a name for Step 1 and copy the URL into the Screen/Page field. Remember to remove the front part of the URL.
10.2 Does a user have to start from this page or could they find your goal in a slightly different way? If they MUST start on this page, then turn on the Required? toggle. In our example, it’s impossible for them to complete the goal without starting on this page so it is turned on.
Here is an example for when the Required? toggle should not be turned on: A user can select a Register button on the top right and get to the registration form, or they could subscribe to your blog and receive an email to click through to fill in the registration form later. Here they could start the goal flow in two ways and neither is required.
10.3 For each step, click + Add another step and add your details step by step.
11. Now we are right at the end of the setup. Click on the Verify/Re-verify link – marked below. This will calculate the conversion rate you would have had if your goal was set up a week ago. You can only see this rate here. It is not available again anywhere. GA will only give you data for the goal from the day you set it up going forwards.
If you only created the pages for the goal recently and no one has successfully completed it in the past week, this will be 0% as it is below.
12. Now click Save! YES!
Phew! Am I Done?
You’re not done yet. I want to test your goal and I want you to see your stats in GA, so there are a few more steps to take.
13. Open your website and walk through the goal steps yourself again. Now that we have saved your goal, you should be the first completion we track.
14. Go back to GA and select Real-Time in the left-hand menu and then Conversions in the sub-menu – marked below
15. Now you;re going to see the below stats. If you can see a conversion tracking in the live Per Second or Per Minute charts and the bottom chart shows 1 and 100% you have successfully tracked your goal. If you can’t see it tracking in Per Second and Per Minute and the bottom chart, we need to fix something.
The Right Now 1 Active User on the site IS NOT A GOAL CONVERSION. This just shows the total active users on the site togive your goal some context. If I have 100 000 users on the site and 1 live goal comes in it means something a little different to 10 users on the site and 1 goal comes in. No matter how many users on your site, that first goal completion feels like a million dollars!
When my tracking has an error, nearly every time it’s the URLs I added. Once I left off the last / and nothing tracked. Once I left in the front of the URL like https://www.mysite.com/conversion and nothing tracked. Go and check out your URLs and read through those steps again to be 100% sure. If you’re still stuck I’m happy to help you solve this so pop me a comment.
The above GIF is running at 5x the actual speed. Your charts won’t move this fast.
And, finally, your charts in GA. These views will only start showing data tomorrow. As soon as your goals is setup, it will start collecting data. This data is available for veiwing immediately in the Real Time menu in GA but the real tasty data will be included in the standard GA data set that shows all data from yesterday and the past. So you have to wait until tomorrow to get the below charts… but they are worth it. This is just a quick tour so take your time looking around.
Are We Done Now?
Absolutely! Go forth and create goals, you champion.
If you really loved this and think you need to enhance your Google Analytics skills we have a lovely short course on Google Analytics. This course covers some beginner theory and practical walk-throughs of goals, segments, and other useful GA tools. You will also learn all about the Conversions views in GA.
If you’re thinking about complex goals based on buttons clicks and other actions, you would love our course on Google Tag Manager. That will get you building tags to track some really interesting actionson your site.
Think you’re ready for it all? Want to dive smoothly into a sea of your own data and surround yourself with beautiful, meaningful charts? We have just the thing. Our favourite course in Google Data Studio is a perfect fit for you.