Google Analytics Goals And Funnels Explained
Table of Contents
What are goals?
“Goals” are a way to collect information for when users do specific things on your website. They can be configured to be triggered for a wide array of user interactions, such as when a user submits an enquiry form, visits a specific page, download a PDF document or is on your website for a given amount of time.
Why are goals handy?
When a goal is triggered it takes a snapshot of that users visit and registers their visit data against the ‘goal conversion’. We can then open the goal report in Google Analytics to see how many users triggered the goal, then view all of the associated visit data.
For example, we could trigger a goal whenever someone submits an enquiry form and ends up on the “www.mywebsite.com/thankyou” page.
Once the goal is set up and has been capturing conversions we can see an overview of the goal conversions by browsing to conversions > goals > overview then selecting the goal from the drop down.
The number of ‘goal completions’ would indicate the number of users who have submitted the enquiry form, and by changing the report parameters we can find the following (and much more):
- What ‘campaigns’ are driving people to submit the form
- What ‘sources’ are driving people to submit the form
- Which ‘keywords’ are driving people to submit the form
- The location of the users who submitted the form and if they are a new or returning visitor
- What browser and platforms the users who submitted the form are using and screen size
What are ‘goal funnels’?
Funnels are used to track the pages users are visiting before they submit a ‘goal’, and are used to measure weaknesses in the steps a user takes to trigger a goal.
For example, say we have an online store, and our checkout process is:
- User views the product
- User adds the product to cart
- User clicks ‘view cart’ (www.ourstore.com/shopping-cart)
- User enters their details and makes payment (www.ourstore.com/checkout)
- User is taken to ‘thankyou’ page (www.ourstore.com/thankyou)
We set could set up a goal that will trigger whenever a user is take the the www.ourstore.com/thankyou page and then we will be able to count the total amount of times orders have been placed, and generate reports to see what kinds of users are making purchases and where the traffic is originating from.
However we won’t be able to see if users are starting the checkout process and not follow all the way through through to payment.
By setting up a goal funnel that tracks each url in the checkout process we could then use the ‘Funnel visualization’ report to see how many users started (the ‘cart’ step), moved on to the ‘checkout’ step and then completed the checkout:
From this data we can see:
- 4,980 visited the www.ourstore.com/shopping-cart page
- Of those 2,543 (51%) moved on to the ‘checkout’ page (www.ourstore.com/checkout)
- We can then see that 60.58% of people who visited the www.ourstore.com/checkout page actually finished the sale
- We can also see that of the 2,671 people who were viewing the www.ourstore.com/checkout page 479 went back to the cart, 56 had forgotten their password and 27 went back to the homepage
- Overall 34.14% of people who started at the www.ourstore.com/shopping-cart page, ended up triggering the goal (i.e. made a transaction)
As you can see, setting up goals and goal funnels will provide you with a wealth of information, and best of all, they are relatively easy to deploy.