To put it as simply as possible, Google Analytics (GA) Goals track how well your website (or app) fulfill your objectives. It is a critical component of any digital marketing plan to define your goals and track them. If done properly, it will provide you with vital information, which will help evaluate the effectiveness of not only your campaigns, but your website’s pages as well.
A major advantage of Google Analytics Goals is the ability to define and create them all within the GA interface for free, with no coding necessary. However, a GA Goals drawback is that its reporting method uses a Last-Non-Direct-Click attribution model.
For example, let’s say you are running a Paid Search campaign and a user clicks on your paid advertisement. An hour later, the user returns to your website via an Organic Search and completes a goal you’ve set. With the Last-Non-Direct-Click attribution model, 100% of the conversion is attributed to Organic Search and Paid Search gets no love at all.
As you may or may not know, Google Analytics Goals have made tracking things easier for marketers by offering a wide range of goal types. Every possible objective you want to track will fall into one of 4 goal types below.
Bonus: Smart Goals
Smart Goals are intended to aid AdWords marketers that don’t have enough conversions to use AdWords optimization tools, such as automated bidding. When set, Google Analytics will automatically evaluate your website or app visits and assign each a score. Then, GA will translate the “best” visits into Smart Goals.