Understanding Google Analytics: Website Goals

Understanding Google Analytics Website Goals

We have so much data on the web, almost all of it available for free, that we dive into the data ocean hoping that magically awesome things will follow. They never do.

― Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist - Google

If you're a business owner, marketing manager or, agency owner this blog post is for you. Do you "not quite" understand Google Analytics reports? Maybe your eyes just glaze over at the sight of any of those dashboard reports that mysteriously show up in your email every month? Or,  you find yourself  scratching your head as something like this stares back at you when you log-in?

Google Analytics Report

The challenge is that your business is going 100 mph forward and this is a look in the rearview!
In fact, every single report IS a look back. So, what's the point? Collectively, some of this can help make decisions going forward.

Do You Have Website Goals Defined?

In Google Analytics go to Conversions > Goal Report. Are there signs of life or, do you get this?

Google Analytics Website Goals Not Defined
Aww, website goals aren't enabled. 🙁

If you are seeing this screen, stop here. Go back to your web designer and ask for at least one goal to be set up. In many cases, it's just a matter of tracking a meaningful action that is already happening on your site. This goal could be something like:

  • a contact form submission
  • e-mail submission
  • whitepaper download
  • newsletter subscription
  • donation
  • e-commerce order confirmation

Once your web designer has setup the goal on your site and in your Google Analytics, you'll begin to see a report like this. In Google Analytics go to: Conversions > Goal Report

Google Analytics Report defined

Now we are on to something! And if you see a screen like this, congratulations! You are on your way to some meaningful information.

All Website Goals Aren't Equal

It would be helpful at this point to mention that all of your web site goals aren't equally important. But, how do you know? By taking steps to define them and integrate them into a measurement frame model you can tie this into different types of priorities. The steps to developing website goals include:

    1. Identify the business objectives upfront and set the broadest parameters for the work we are doing.
    2. Identify goals for each business objective.
    3. Write down the key performance indicators.
    4. Set parameters for success upfront by identifying targets for each KPI.
    5. Identify the segments of people / behavior / outcomes that we’ll analyze to understand why we succeed or failed.

In our next post we'll break down these steps into some meaningful ways to measure.

Maybe you'd like some help implementing a measurement framework model, or goals?
Take a look at our Google Analytics service page.

Finish line image: Flickr user jayneandd
Measurement modelAvinash Kaushik

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