If you’re using Google Analytics to measure your small business website’s effectiveness (and if you’re not, you almost certainly should be), then setting Goals is a key part.
A Goal is an action you want a website visitor to take. It could be making a purchase, registering for an event, requesting a brochure or simply browsing for more than a minute or two.
Measuring goal conversions then allows you to monitor the effectiveness of your different marketing campaigns and sources of visitors. For example, do you get more email newsletter sign-ups from visitors referred by Twitter or search engines? And if you are using Adwords, Google can link your conversion goals to your adwords campaigns.
NB: Goals are not the same as ecommerce tracking. If you have an ecommerce website, then do ensure you have this set up as it provides hugely useful information such as revenue data by keyword. It’s still worth setting up goals in addition to ecommerce tracking – you can measure non-financial actions and gain valuable insights into visitor behaviour – and hopefully clues as to why visitors don’t buy.
What goals do you want to measure?
The first step is to think about what you want to measure. Analytics allows you to set 4 types of goals:
- Visit Duration
- Pages per Visit
- URL Destination (i.e. when visitors go to a particular page)
Event tracking is used for actions which don’t involve page views, such as playing embedded videos – it’s a whole subject on its own so I won’t cover that here. But if you are already tracking events in analytics you can now set up goals too.
URL destination goals are best if there are specific actions you can measure through the visitor landing on a particular page. For example a purchase confirmation page or contact form.
However, if your website acts mainly as a brochure for your business and your key aim is to get the visitor to call you directly, then it’s worth looking at visit duration and/or pages per visit goals. These can both give you an indication of interest in your product/service.
Setting up Goals
You can find the goal setting tab in the Admin area of your Analytics account.
Choose the type of goal and Google will guide you through the options.
Visit duration and pages per visit are very straightforward to set up.
URL destination goals can be a bit more complex. For example, many websites add session based parameters to URLs and these need to be ignored. Do this by using the “Head Match” option rather than “Exact Match”. You can also use “Regular Expressions” for more complicated scenarios. This is where it can get really complicated, so unless you are comfortable with RegEx it’s best to get an analytics expert to help with setting these up. Google does provide detailed Help but it does assume a certain level of familiarity with analytics jargon!
As you can see from the above example, I use 2 goals for the Paprika Marketing site – Time on Site more than 3 minutes and Visits to the Contact page – a typical set up for a simple website for a small business.