Tracking custom goals in Google Analytics allows you to quickly assess the most important aspects of your online business.
We’ll cover the 4 types of custom goals in Google Analytics, with examples for each, and then show you how to set up a goal using email registrations as an example.
4 types of custom Google Analytics goals
You can track how many times visitors reach a specific page on your website with destination goals. While it may, at first, sounds somewhat arbitrary, this is one of the most useful goals for measuring activation in your AARRR funnel.
For example, you can track the number of registrations, email sign ups, downloads, etc. with destination goals by configuring Google Analytics to count the number of times visitors land on a “Thank You” page that is displayed after they submit their information in a signup form. We’ll cover how to set up this example at the end of this guide.
A measure of consumption engagement, duration goals tell you the number of visitors who spent a specified amount of time on your website.
For example, you can track how many visitors remained on your site for, say, an amount of time equal to or greater than 5 minutes.
Pages/Screens per session goals
This is another measure of consumption engagement that’s particularly useful for bloggers but also for anyone with a site where remaining on the site and viewing multiple pieces of content is emphasized. A good example is defining the number of pageviews per session (pageviews / session) that constitutes an “engaged user”. For instance, you can configure a goal named “Engaged Users” and set it to count the number of visitors who views 5 pages or more in one session.
Event goals are goals that track interactions outside of “basic” webpage functions, like landing on and loading a page. Some examples of events you can track include link clicks, downloads, time intervals between events, how far a user scrolls down a page, gadget and widget use, video plays, and various embedded elements use.
How to set up a goal in Google Analytics: Email Registration Example
We’ll walk you through the steps of setting up a goal in Google Analytics using a common example: email registrations.
Prior to Set up
This particular method requires that your email capture form is set up to redirect a user to a new page, like a “Thank You” page, after they’ve entered and submitted their information on your site.
If your site isn’t configured this way, you’ll need to set up a goal with Event Tracking for recording form submissions.
Log into your Google Analytics Account and select the view in which you’d like to create your goal(s). If you don’t have multiple views set up (as you should), see this article on Google Analytics Views.
Select Admin in the top navigation bar, then select “Goals” in the far right column, under your current view (if the view shown is not the one where you’d like to create a view, click the dropdown box and find your preferred view).
In the window that appears, click the red “+ New Goal” button to create a new goal.
Step 3 a,b,c
3a. First, in the Goal Setup section, select Custom and click Continue
3b. In the Goal description section, name the goal “Registrations” (or something similar; e.g., “Email Signups”).
3c. In the Goal details section, in the “Destination” field, make sure the dropdown box is set to “Equals to”, and enter the slug (i.e., the last part of your URL, after the domain name) of your registration confirmation page. For example, ‘/thank-you’. Click Save.
Note: Goals are organized by Goal Sets and IDs. By default, the first 5 goals are Goal Set 1, the next 5 are Goal Set 2, and so on (up to a total of 20 goals). You can organize your goals however you like by setting IDs the dropdown menu for Goal slot ID for each goal. It is recommended that you keep goals that track similar activities — revenue goals, for example — grouped together in sets.
Step 4 (Optional)
4a. You can set a dollar value for your goal by switching on the “Value” button. For example, if you sell a $100 product and you have a 2% conversion rate from your email list, an email subscriber would be worth $2.
4b. You also can specify the exact sequence of pages a user is supposed to take before completing the goal (in this example, signing up for an email list) by turning on the Funnel function. Beware that doing this will require each step of the funnel sequence to be followed precisely, in the exact order you specify, or it will not count as a goal completion.
If you just want to see how visitors typically navigate your site, use the Behavior Flow reports in the Reporting tab (Reporting > Behavior > Behavior Flow).
To see how well your goals are performing, return to the Reporting tab at the top of the page, click Conversions at the bottom of the left panel, and then click on Goals.