Goals can be one less thing you have to worry about… if you set them up that way!
Why bother? Because it’ll take you (or a virtual assistant!) less than 30 minutes to set yourself up to know things like…
- The value of your social media followers. Yeah, like, in dollars!
- The impact your content has on both your subscription rates and your revenue
- The difference between the path taken by visitors that convert versus those that don’t
The first thing you have to do? Access my (free!) Google Analytics Dashboards.
These are pre-populated reports for the FAQs that bosses like you have about how their audience engages with their content. They’ll help you answer all of the above questions and waaaaayyy more.
(Yes, this means you can quit asking strangers in Facebook Groups what you should be doing. Huzzah!)
These Dashboards work best when you tell Google Analytics what your Goals are. We will start by showing you how to set those up. Then, I’ll walk you through the different Goals you would be interested in tracking and why.
#PROTIP :: Keep in mind that you are limited to 20 Goals per account. This means that if you have 30 free resources you use to grow your list and you would want to track them all, you would not be able to do so individually. However, if you set up all your form submissions to re-direct subscribers to the same “thank you” page, you could easily track your overall subscription rates based on this one page.
HOW TO SET UP A GOAL
Of course, you’ll have to be logged into your Google Analytics account.
Click on the ADMIN button. Then select GOALS.
You’ll notice that Goals can be set to be Recording “on” or “off”. Since you are unable to delete Goals, you can deactivate Goals you aren’t interested in tracking anymore. You can also replace an existing Goal with a new Goal you create.
TYPES OF GOALS
Before I get started on the different types of goals, note that we are working with CUSTOM Goal Set-ups, as shown below.
Then you will move on to the Goal Descriptions section with the Goal Details as follows ::
Destination Goals will track specific URLs. These are well-suited for tracking “thank you” and confirmation pages you redirect subscribers or buyers to. They can also be used to track specific web pages you want to collect metrics around, such as a limited time availability page or perhaps a link you use specifically for self-promotion on other people’s media channels, like podcasting or guest-posts.
GOAL URL :: You’re simply going to enter the address that follows your domain name. For instance, if I wanted to track how many people visit my sign-up page, I would enter “/google-analytics” instead of “missgsd.com/google-analytics”.
MATCH TYPE :: Unless you are trying to track a specific campaign, you will want to select “head match”. This will track any visit to the address you provide, regardless of what comes after the URL.
Should you decide to select “exact match”, remember that you’ll be tracking this URL EXACTLY as entered and nothing else. Let’s say you promote your link to your email list or via ads :: chances are that your campaign will be tracking analytics as well. Therefore, the information that follows your original URL is what will be used to track that specific link’s performance. If you select “exact match”, those campaigns will not be tracked as a Goal; those listed as “head match”, though, will be tracked as a Goal.
CASE SENSITIVE :: It is usually best to leave this unchecked. “Case” refers to upper or lower case, meaning if you enter the URL here in lower case, and someone types it in with caps, it would not identify the URL as being the same.
ABOUT GOAL VALUES
When you’re selling online, your website is designed to 1) collect revenue/make sales and 2) collect leads/contact information. In turn, this means your goals will likely in at least one of two ways :: by sales and through lead generation. Each of these actions will have an accompanying value, in dollah-dollah bills, y’all.
Calculating the value of your sales should be pretty straight forward. When someone lands on the “thank you for your purchase” page, it means you’ve collected X amount of dollars.
But how do you calculate the value of your leads? You’ll want to determine what timeline you want to measure this against, then collect the number of subscribers you had during that time period as well as the amount of money you made.
Let’s say you want to base this on last quarter’s numbers, where you had a list of 1,000 subscribers and you made $25,000. This means that each subscriber on your list is worth $250 and if you wanted to attribute a value to your list-building goals, this is the number you would use.
ABOUT GOAL FUNNELS
If and when you have a goal that is directly related to tracking a specific journey or visit sequence, you can map out each page or URL you want your viewer to hit in this section.
This will allow you to track where your visitors tend to drop off in your funnel and gives you the superpower to make tweaks to your copy, your page layout, your calls-to-action or whatever else may be causing visitors to abandon the course of action you want them to take.
Like most other boundaries in Google Analytics, you may have up to 20 steps tracked in your Goal Funnel.
Duration Goals are used to track the amount of time spent on a specific page. It can be useful to see how long people are engaging with your site.
#PROTIP :: You first need to understand HOW time is tracked in Google Analytics because you’ll sometimes see a 00:00:00 reported. This isn’t entirely accurate because your report actually relies on time stamping to work. If someone visits a page, a first time stamp gets collected, with a second time stamp being collected when they click on a second page. If someone doesn’t click through, the time stamp isn’t recorded. You should therefore assume that the time which is reported does not actually paint the full picture for time actually spent.
You’ll likely want to test your “greater than” and “less than” conditions to figure out what range actually represents data that can help inform what you’re trying to track. Keep in mind that with video, some people increase the viewing speed and you have no control over whether or not they do this, or even tracking this specific variable.
PAGE/SCREENS PER SESSION GOALS
Like duration goals, the Page/Screens per Sessions Goal set is designed to track the number of pages visited before a viewer leaves your site.
I won’t go into the details of setting this one up since it is similar to those mentioned above. However, this can be useful data to see how engaging your content, website and offers are.
Event Goals are used to track specific actions taken on your website, like clicking on external links, downloads executed or perhaps video-viewing behaviors/trends. They are a lot like Destination Goals, except that Event Goals allow for a lot more versatility as to what they track.
I won’t go too in-depth with this because in order to have an Event Goal, you need to create an Event. This gets established in the Google Tag Manager and is a topic for another day as fits outside of the “goals” scope for this post. However, in case you do have an Event set-up, here is a quick rundown on how to track its Goals.
The EVENT CONDITIONS you select will rely heavily on the type of Event you’re tracking. Let’s say you want to track video views.
CATEGORY :: This will be the category name that you provide that will allow you to easily identify, group and yes, categorize Event types. In this case, we will call it “Video”.
ACTION :: This is what action you want this Event to track. We will be tracking how many times a video gets a “Play”.
LABEL :: While this is an optional entry, you will want to identify what video it is you are tracking for easy reference.
VALUE :: If applicable, you will attribute a monetary value to this Event, as detailed earlier in this post.
…OK, NOW WHAT?
Good of you to ask, boss! Now that you have Goals in place, you’ll want to see what they’re up to!
Depending on the Goal you’ve set, you may only be able to track them “moving forward”. This means they will be available for tracking as soon as you create them, but the data they collect may not be retroactive. In fact, in most cases, they will not be retroactive.
However, you’ve set them up now and it’s a good idea to automate the way you’ll be reporting them at this time.
SKIP THE SET-UP AND SWIPE MY DASHBOARDS
Access your Dashboard by going to CUSTOMIZATION on the left side-bar. Select the Dashboard you want to use to track your Goal. In this example, I am using the Social Media Value Dashboard.
If you hover over the title of any of your widgets (the boxes filled with specific data sets), you’ll see a little pencil icon. Click the pencil icon.
Here, you will be able to change any of the metrics you want to track. In the below example, I’m tracking the number of SESSIONS and their GOAL VALUE as they relate to each SOCIAL NETWORK.
Likewise, if you have multiple Goals to track on one Dashboard, you would edit the widget (as pictured above). Note that in the bottom right corner is the option to CLONE or DELETE WIDGET. You would clone this widget and then modify the metric for the new widget. This will reflect the next Goal you want to have tracked on your Dashboard..
While Dashboards help put you understand what’s happening on your website, sometimes you want to go for the full check-up. Cool beans!
On the left sidebar of your Google Analytics account, go to the bottom option to select CONVERSIONS > GOALS. This is where you will be able to dig and discover all-the-things about your Goals performance.
Be attentive to the date fields (in the upper right area) as well as which Goals and/or Users are being tracked (generally identified in the upper left area). Start playing with these fields to really start understanding where people are coming from, where they’re dropping off and what they’re doing next.