Avoid committing crimes against humanity by making sure you are using goals on Google Analytics to effectively evaluate your digital presence and advertising. Sure, that statement might be exaggerated, but there is still some validity in it. Are you getting the most you can out of Google Analytics? In order to determine the effectiveness of your digital presence or advertising campaign, a strong understanding of goal conversions in Google Analytics is crucial. The primary objective in digital marketing is to lead users toward your conversion points. So this takes us back to our initial point, how do we get the data to prove that our campaign actually has been successful in achieving our set objectives? The way in which you set up and track your goal conversions and events is critical in providing your company with the most valuable data. Track and analyze your company’s performance using measures that are tailored to your primary goals and objectives.
Why are conversions important to track?
Tracking conversions on Google Analytics gives you deeper insight as to whether your website activity is actually impacting the performance of your company and achieving your desired objectives. You could be driving thousands of users toward your site, but is this translating to progression in the customer life cycle? Are you effectively leading users to make decisions that align with your company’s intentions? Goal conversions and events on Google Analytics allow us to look deeper into the customer journey to really understand where users may be experiencing hesitation and where we can further optimize. With Google Analytics, you have the ability to drill down to analyze where users convert, where people might fall off, and the source or campaign that led to a conversion.
What is the difference between goal conversions and events?
The main difference between the two types is that events are typically tied to website elements and do not actually require reaching a certain page, whereas with a goal conversion, there should be an exchange of information that results in a URL destination such as a ‘Thank You’ page or confirmation page. The only way a visitor can get to those pages is by going through the entire customer process, hence leading to a conversion. Examples of goal conversions include leads, trial signups, newsletter sign-ups, white paper downloads, product purchases, and ebook downloads.
With event tracking, we can see interactions and behaviors on the site such as link clicks, video plays/pauses, social media button clicks, widget usage, or downloads. This allows us to understand the user experience and see how people are using user-interface features inside of goals. Goals and segments can be created using event data. A major benefit is that there is the ability to categorize events.
What is a funnel?
A funnel allows you to track users through the conversion process. This is the defined process you expect users to complete prior to conversions. Each funnel has a start point and an end point. You can use events to track all the way through to conversion. This allows you to be able to identify where users are converting and where users may be falling off in the process. In setting up a funnel, you must specify which pages lead up to the conversion and identify where users enter and leave the site. This understanding is a critical piece in understanding and optimizing the customer journey.
How do we define a goal conversion?
In order to obtain trustworthy and honest data, we need to be careful about when we define goal conversions. We should only define goal conversions when there is a clear customer behavior that reflects interest in your services or supports your site’s objectives. That being said, since events do not always take place toward the end of the customer funnel, we want to make sure that we don’t consider them as goals.
There are two key differences in identifying goal conversions and events. Simply put, we either have information about the user or we don’t. If we don’t collect information about the user, then we cannot track it back to them to remarket to them later. Therefore, we would not want to consider this a conversion.
After identifying goal conversions, you should segment them as either hard or soft conversions in order to further understand the role they are playing in meeting objectives. A hard conversion would be considered a goal in which we collect information that shows intent for services or aligns with your primary objectives. On the other hand, soft conversions are secondary activities that do not show a strong intent for your services but that may lead up to the primary conversion. Distinguishing hard conversions and soft conversions should uniquely align with your brand’s individual objectives and goals.
In order to clearly define goals and events, we need to understand what the objectives are for the site. You must first identify your Key Performance Indicators before you can develop a plan for tracking those KPI with goal conversion and events. In order to determine which actions should be set up as goals, I recommend setting up a spreadsheet laying out the most important actions on your site. From there, you should add descriptive columns for what you are tracking, the site location where the action takes place, and whether it would be considered a hard or soft conversion. Google Analytics has a maximum of twenty slots that you can reserve for goals per view, and goals cannot be deleted once created, only edited or paused.
In order to achieve honest data, attaching dollar values to goals is unnecessary. We do not recommend adding goal values unless there is a clear revenue exchange because it is unlikely that this aligns with the real value. We like to report on honest and true data that accurately reflects performance. However, this is an individual preference and adding goal values could help in your analysis.
How do we analyze conversions?
Following a solid set-up of goals and events, you can now analyze your conversions. Although there are infinite ways you can analyze your data, my favorite analysis is to look at the behavior of different segments to determine where they may be converting at higher rates. For example, by creating an advanced segment on Google Analytics that tracks any user who has interacted with any social channel and a segment for those who do not interact with any social channel, I can look at trends and compare performance across various channels. You can further dive in to understand where these conversions are happening and the sources or campaigns that are driving these conversions. Funnels are also very useful in analyzing the customer process as you can see where users may be falling off, what is leading them towards the conversion, and ultimately, where we can work to optimize conversions.