Goals and Goal Values in Google Analytics

Jarret Streiner - January 25, 2012

We are going to explain what Goals & Goal Values are in Google Analytics, why they are important and how to gauge the value that you can assign to them. These Goals are for non-e-commerce actions, such as Time on Site. If tracking e-commerce transactions are needed, there are tools available in Google Analytics for those actions as well.

Goals are a way to measure actions performed on a website. These actions can be, but are not limited to how many pages per visit visitors are going to, whether they are downloading PDF documents or filling out forms.

Setting up Goals can be found in two places in Google Analytics.

*Please Note, all screen images are from newest version of Google Analytics

The first is in the Google Analytics menu under CONVERSIONS>GOALS

The second place is clicking on the gear icon in the menu.

If your goals are not set up, you will see this screen:

Each Goal set (there are 4) allows 5 Goals to be set for a total of 20 Goals. The first step is to set the name for your Goal, its best to give the Goal a straight forward name i.e. Newsletter Sign-Ups. After you set the Goal Name, the next step is to choose the goal type.

There are four goal types to choose from.

1. URL Destination, which can be a Thank You page for a form, a newsletter sign-up or a white paper request.

  • When setting up a URL Destination, you are able to gather more data by adding a Goal Funnel. A funnel is the path of pages leading up to the goal you set up. i.e. Contact Form>Thank You Page

2. Time on Site can be set for a greater than or less than value. There is availability for hours, minutes and even seconds to be set for this action.

3. Page/Visit can also be set for a greater than or less than value with the number of pages as the variable.

4. The Event Goal allows the most sets of variables to track. The event Goal would be used to track interaction with AJAX or dynamic sites, PDF downloads or interaction with Flash on your site.

While setting up new Goals, one of the optional fields is Goal Value.

Setting a Goal Value is not the same as making a sale from a product. It is the value you feel that particular measureable action on your site is worth.

Not setting the value correctly can give you an inflated or decreased Goal Value.

If you look at the image above and view the Goal Completions and the Goal Value, you will see that all the Goals were set at a $100 price point. Is every Goal you set worth $100?

A proficient technique to ascertain the value of a Goal would be to set the value by a percentage of what you feel the ROI of your goal should be. If a user downloads a White Paper and the average transaction for users downloading White Papers is $250 then you could set the value at 10%, then the Goal Completion will be valued at $25. On the other hand if a user fills out your contact form and the average transaction is only $20, you can set the Goal Value to 1% or $2 per Goal Completion.

Another method to calculate Goal Value is to use the total revenue generated by the measureable action divided by the number of goal completions. Not all of your Goals will be worth the same to you monetarily or business-wise.

Is someone downloading a White Paper more or less valuable than someone filling out your contact form? Is a user that stays on your site for longer than 5 minutes more valuable than the user that clicked through 10 pages of your site?

Once you take the time to set your Goals and Goal Values, you will be able to start tracking your Goal Conversion Rate.

Revisiting your Goals and Goal Values every quarter is a valid method to distinguish if the Goals you have set are still providing valuable insights and are converting at the rate you set.

Posted in: Analytics

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