Analytics 101 – Google Analytics Goals

Serina Fignole - September 18, 2017

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.

Goal Types

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.

 GA's 4 Goal Types

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.

Best Practices

  • It is wise to use intuitive names for your goals – so you and your team members can analyze and understand the conversion report more easily.
  • You should assign a Goal Value in Google Analytics to help monetize/quantify and evaluate your conversions.
  • Keep track of all changes made to a goal to avoid confusion.


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