How to set up goals in Google Analytics

by on November 15, 2011

In the land of internet marketing, you know Google Analytics is a very important city…you may as well make it the capital!

Google Analytics shows you how people found your website, how they navigate it and how you can improve it. It merrily gathers and collects valuable data and information governing your online marketing efforts and gives you status reports as to how your small business stands.

Read this primer post about using Google Analytics for your small business if you’re new to this free website reporting tool. Be sure to grab your free Google Analytics Cheat Sheet too!

Why you should set up Analytics goals

Setting up goals is definitely one of the top ways  to make Google Analytics benefit your small business. It’s a strategic way to see which percentage of on-line surfers either become customers and/or check in on anything else that is important to your business.

Analytics goals answers the question – are my website visitors doing what I want them to?

Maybe you want them to…

  • Fill out your contact form
  • Sign-up for your email newsletter
  • Buy a product from you
  • Visit your social media accounts

The possibilities abound. Different businesses will have different goals. Think about what spells success for your small business.

Step-by-step instructions on how to set up goals in Google Analytics

  1. Sign into your Google Analytics account.
  2. Click on “Edit” (on the right hand side of the Overview page).
  3. Under the “Goals” section, select one of 4 goal sets to create your goal in. (Each set can have up to 5 mini-goals, so you can organize up to 20 mini-goals divided into 4 main goal sets!)  Enter an easily recognizable goal name.
  4. Choose between 3 types of goals: URL Destination, Time on Site, or Pages/Visit.* For most small businesses, the URL Destination is the goal of choice.

Edit icon

If you are using the new version of Google Analytics (you can access this beta version on the top right hand side of your account – “new version”) it’s a little different. In the right hand corner, you will see a little tool icon (I’ve included a pic of it to the right). Click here to manage your goals. To view your goals data, you will find it under the “Conversions” section when looking at your reports.

*URL destination: ex. You want to see what percentage of site visitors signed up for your newsletter. You would make the thank-you or confirmation page the URL destination, since that represents someone doing what you are measuring, in this case signing up. (If there are various steps in someone completing the desired action, as there is in a shopping cart for example where customers have to complete a few different pages of information before the sale is officially completed, it is recommended to create a funnel, so you can see where people dropped off if they didn’t make it to your thank you page.  See “Defining Funnels” on the Google Analytics Help Page.)

*Time on Site: ex. You want to see how long people are staying on a specific page of your website. You can simply enter “more than” or “less than” time allotments.

*Pages/Visit: ex. You want to see how engaged people are on your website, how much they are clicking around, how much content they are taking in. Enter in the number of pages that you see as your goal number for visits to your website. This is especially useful if you have a highly educational site with lots of resources for your site visitors to check out.

For more information on how to set up goals in Google Analytics, or to get into this whole goal thing in a little more depth, see Google Analytics Help.

Goal setting is key in all aspects of your small business – if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? Let Google Analytics help you monitor your goals and guide you in your strategy.

Comments, likes and tweets are always appreciated! Did I mention that I LOVE your feedback?

Image source: mack2happy /

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Renee Lindo November 17, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Thanks Martina. Awesome stuff as usual! I have had Google analytic on my site from the beginning and never set up goals. Just never took the time to understand. Will get on it now. Thanks!


Martina November 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

Thanks Renee! Google Analytics can get pretty complicated and involved, but there are plenty of simple steps that you can take that will offer you lots of valuable information.


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