#3 Google Analytics - Tracking Goals and Monitoring Conversions

Author -  Vaughan Reed - Managing Director & Web Strategist

I consider setting up Goals and Tracking Conversions as the most powerful tool in Google Analytics, which everyone should be doing.

This section is all about tracking and measuring the business objectives of your website. It is where the rubber meets the road by monitoring you how well your website is performing.

Establishing your goals

The first step in the process of tracking and monitoring your goals is to define your goals as they relate to your business objectives.

For our example site we are using, their primary business object is to generate warm leads for their agents. This translates into a website goal of driving a defined No. of enquiries per month via their ‘Find a Branch’ enquiry form as well as boosting the number of direct phone enquiries.

To effectively monitor this business objective we have setup a “Goal” within Google Analytics for the steps required in submitting the website enquiry form.

Refer to the following link for setting up a “Goal” within Google Analytics - https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1032415?hl=en

Other examples of online goals are; an online order (for ecommerce sites), an email sign-up form, downloading a free report or it could simply be viewing certain pages and remaining on the site for a specific length of time etc.

Monitoring Conversions

Click on Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization


As you can see by looking at the Funnel Visualization view 1,705 people are starting the conversion process (by going to the Find a Branch section). Of that, 12.2% are clicking through to the next step and then going on to complete the form.

In the case of our example website, there are no drop-outs between steps 2 and 3, which would not be the case with most websites. You would generally see a % drop-out between each step. If you had an unusually high drop-out rate between any of the steps, you would want to address this so you improve the overall conversion rate.

High drop-out rates can be caused by an number of reasons but primarily it’s due to poor labels or distractions on the page that is deterring someone from completing the goal.

You will notice a figure at the very top of the page (above the line graph) that shows the percentage of visits that resulted in a conversion. This is the overall website conversion rate.

What you should also factor in when measuring how well the websites is achieving the business goals are any other ‘call to actions’. I.e. in our example, the Find a Branch page is also displaying a Free Phone number. We can make a rough assumption that half the website visitors will call the Free Phone number versus completing the online enquiry. What this then tells us that the overall conversion rate of the website for this business goal is 8%.


What is Driving Conversions

Now that we’re monitoring conversion, we can find out what marketing is delivering the best results so we know where we can focus our marketing effort.

Click on Conversions > Goals > Goal Flow

Goal Flow provides a nice graphical representation of your goal conversions. It delivers a more detailed view of the funnel, which includes loop backs (i.e. if the visitor went back a step before moving forward) and skipped steps. We can also isolate traffic for each step.

In our example, the 1st column of information is the Source (where the traffic originated from), the 2nd column is the initial goal step and the 3rd Column is the final goal step.

If we isolate the traffic on the final goal (click and select Highlight Traffic) we can see where the source traffic to the final goal originated from. In this example Google (organic) generated 129 conversions from 979 visitors entering the funnel.


If we look at the table at the bottom of the page, it gives us the conversion rates for each of the sources.


In the Funnel View we had ascertained that the average conversion was 12% so Bing and Google are very effective forms of marketing.


Using Advance Segments to view Conversions

Another option for viewing visitor traffic that has led to a conversion is by using the Advance Segments and selecting ‘Visits with Conversion’. This allows you to isolate all visitor stats by converted traffic.

To view all traffic that has led to a conversion, follow these steps:

  1. Click on ‘Advanced Segments’, just below the section title.
  2. From the default segments list, scroll down and select ‘Visits with Conversions’
  3. Click Apply


Now that you have isolated your traffic to conversion only, take a look at the following stats:

  1. Within Audience > Overview – look at the ‘Avg Visit Duration’ and ‘Pages / Visit’ – this will give you the average time and number of pages being viewed by traffic that has led to a conversion. You will generally see very high stickability with this traffic, which justifies the need to improve your overall site stickability. The end result with improved stickability will be improved conversions rates.
  2. The next thing to check is which keywords have led to a conversion. Go to - Traffic Sources >> Search >> Organic and change view to show 100 keywords at a time. If you have keywords showing with good conversions but your aren’t ranking in position 1 for those keywords then this is where you would want to put your efforts in improving your rankings.
  3. Another good stat is Audience > Mobile > Devices – take a look at what your conversions are like for mobile devices. If conversions are low or non-existent, is your website setup effectively for mobile devices?


By setting goals and monitoring your results within the Conversions section of Google Analytics you get a real gauge of how well your website is performing and achieving your business objectives.

Setting up Goals can be an involved process so we recommend you define your website goals and put in place the Goal Funnel with the help of your website provider. After all, they are also accountable for your website achieving your business objectives.

If you would like help with defining and implementing your business goals, talk to me today.


More in this series - Read your Google Analytics like a pro!

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