Posted by Bobby

February 29, 2012


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Google Analytics Goals

Google Analytics has a feature which allows you to easily track the key performance indicators of your website. You’ll have problems setting up goals within Google Analytics if you don’t know what the key performance indicators are for your website. If you don’t have any idea what your KPIs are, then what exactly are you looking for when you read your google analytics reports? Have a wee look at our KPI analysis page for an idea of what a goal for your website might look like. Google Analytics goals help to measure the performance of your website.

This article is focusing on the URL Destination Goal Type.

Google Analytics Goals


Example Goal URL we want to track is:
Step 1. Goal Name

This is what displays in your reports for this goal. Not much else to say about this. Moving on…
Step 2. Goal Type

We are focusing on the URL Destination goal type but there are also options of Time on Site, Pages per Visit, and Events.
Step 3. Goal URL

Plug in your URL here minus the domain name. Using our example above, we would paste in: /downloads/register/
Step 4. Match Type

Should you use Exact Match, Head Match, or Regular Expression Match?

Exact Match

Exact match is precisely as it sounds. It will track a conversion only when the exact URL entered here registers as a pageview. The exact match will not register a goal conversion for our example goal URL (in red above) if our visitor lands on a conversion page of /downloads/register/?username=BobbyKelly

Head Match

The Head Match type allows for the query parameters to be present as in the visitors landing page above.

Regular Expressions

Regular expressions are a very powerful tool for matching patterns. It can be used to build a list of possible goal URLs. It can be used to build a list of acceptable parameters. It’s really powerful and worth exploring, but out of scope to completely explain in this post.
Step 5. – Case Sensitive

This is especially important. If you check this box and you have ThankYou.php as your destination URL but the visitor is actually directed to thankyou.php then Google Analytics will not be tracking this as a conversion.
Step 6. – Goal Value

Some goals are worth more than others. How do this conversion translate in terms of revenue compared to other goals. Perhaps some of the goals are micro conversion that mark the visitors path enroute to a larger conversion.
Common problems for goal tracking

Goal URL is too specific

If you are tracking an e-commerce conversion page or any other page that has query string parameters, you may find that the URL is unique to each visitors session. In this case, just going through the conversion process and copying exactly what is in the address bar into your goal URL is not going to track your goal. You need to shave off the parts of the URL.

Goal URL is not specific enough

In this case we would probably be seeing many goal conversions on our reports, but they would not actually have any value to the business because the URL we have defined as our conversion page is not always a conversion.

Goal URL is not being tracked

If you cannot find your page within the content report, then you won’t find any conversions either. Make sure that you have Google Analytics tag on the goal page and make sure that it is showing up in the content report.

Tracking URL Destination goals in Google Analytics can be fairly easy to setup. You just need to make sure of these 3 things:

the conversion page is already tracking and you have verified that by seeing it exists in the content report
the destination URL is correct (that includes case sensitivity)
the appropriate match type is selected

Here is the Google Analytics help page for setting up google analytics goals

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