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Using Goals in Google Analytics to Track Conversions


A simple and free way to track a conversion on your website is to use Google Analytics’ Goals feature.


Imagine that you have just rented an email list from a list broker to promote your latest product. Not only are you interested in knowing how many product sales you make from this email list to your custom landing page, but are also interested in knowing how many people sign up for your e-newsletter after landing on that page. Of course you want to know this so that you can better understand the ROI of this campaign. You could use Google Analytics’ Goals to learn how many landing page visitors also signed-up for your newsletter.



A simple non-technical explanation is that Goals count the number of unique pageviews of a specific url that you predetermined during the Goals setup process.  When a visitor reaches that predetermined page, Google Analytics increases the numerical count by one for that particular goal. A goal is incremented only once per single visit, so if a visitor during a single visit reaches that predetermined page more than once, the goal count is only incremented one time so as to not inflate your goal count.

During the Goal setup process, you can also specify the urls of pages prior to your Goal page. What this does is enable you to track visitors who go through a specific first page (by selecting the required step checkbox during setup) before they go through a certain set of predefined pages to reach your goal page, commonly known as a Funnel.

An oversimplified but useful explanation of how to use a goal would be if you wanted to learn how many visitors that went through a specific page (let’s call this page.html) went on to sign-up for your email newsletter on a different page. If after they signed up for your newsletter they were redirected to a thank-you-for-registering page or confirmation page, you would set your Goal page as that thank you page (for this example, this page only being reached by filling out the registration form), and your required step first url as page.html that we referred to above. By configuring a Goal like this, you could see how many unique visitors that go through page.html continue on and sign-up for your newsletter. 

Now there is a little more to the planning, set-up and preparation than mentioned above in order to help filter out some of the noise to get closer to the true data, but overall set-up of Google Analytics Goals is really a snap. Currently, Google Analytics only allows you to have 4 goals per profile set-up at one time which means you have to plan accordingly.


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