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Capital Region Business Journal Article

Article Originally published in the Captial Region Business Journal - January 2010 (page 33)

Title: Google Analytics – What Goals Are You Tracking?

By: Jonny Buroker

You’ve installed google analytics – now what?

Hopefully you took my advice from a couple of months ago and had Google Analytics installed on your website.  If you did you are now getting valuable information about your site visitors – how many; where they’re from; how they found you (e.g., search engines, referrals, direct); what pages they are visiting; how long are they spending on your pages; and so much more.  If you’ve gotten this far I’d like to introduce you to some advanced capabilities and techniques Google has to offer.

establish conversion goals you want to track

On October 28, 2009 Google announced the expansion of its goal setting capabilities within Google Analytics.  Previously, you were limited to a total of four goals that you could track with your analytics.  This was very limiting as there are probably more than four things you want your visitors to be doing when they visit your website.  With the new release you can now create up to 20 conversion goals per profile.

Google allows you to organize those 20 goals into four sets with up to 5 goals in each set.  By organizing your goals into logical groups, you can quickly see how they are performing against each other.  For example, we recently set up some goals for a real estate brokerage company.  They have a number of online forms that you can complete and submit for various purposes and we’ve aligned those forms with the different parts of their business. The first set of goals is related to the forms that real estate Buyers would submit (e.g., Looking for Foreclosure Deals, Moving to the Area, Schedule a Showing).  Another set relates to Sellers (e.g., How Much is Your Home Worth?, How Much Did My Neighbors House Sell For?, etc.).   And the 3rd set of goals are more general (e.g., Contact Us, Subscribe to Our Newsletter).  

By gathering and tracking data about the goals you’ve set up you’ll begin to see trends.  For example, for forms that have zero or very few submissions you should ask such questions as, “is this form broken and not working?”, “are we asking for too much information and visitors won’t even bother filling it out?”, or “does the form stand out enough for people to see and are they encouraged to complete it?”.   With a little work you can increase your conversions and improve your site.

engagement goals

Another enhancement that Google announced is the addition of two new goal types called Engagement goals.  Now you can measure Time on Site and Pages/Visit.  Previously, goals were tied to specific pages on your site.  Now you can establish goals that pertain to a visitor’s involvement with your site.  For example, maybe you have a series of pages that contain a substantial amount of audio, video, and written content and you want to get an idea of how long people are listening, viewing or reading your content.  A Time on Site goal can help you evaluate that.

goal funnels

One other change Google made to the goal creation page is the addition of the goal funnel creation step.  If your website has a sequential series of pages that you want your site visitors to follow (“the path”) and you want to see how visitors are entering, following or abandoning that path, you can create a goal funnel, with up to 10 pages in the path that you can track.

measure your way to success

By implementing more refined goals for your website using the new capabilities of Google Analytics you can track your progress toward higher conversions and make improvements along the way.   Good luck!


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