Setting up Goals in Google Analytics

Properly setting up goal completions within Google Analytics is critical to measuring the performance of your digital marketing efforts. In this lesson, we’ll walk you through step-by-step how to create different types of goal completions in Google Analytics.

12 minutes

Key points you can
learn in this lesson.

Understanding Website Interactions

Discover which interactions on a website are typically tracked as goal completions.

Destination Goal Tracking

Learn how to set up destination goal tracking in Google Analytics.

Event Goal Tracking

Learn how to set up event goal tracking through Google Tag Manager.

Our key metrics increased. More importantly, we implemented a lot of new tactics and test scenarios, which will boost our company’s future prospects.
Dave McCue
Digital Marketing Manager at Allstate

Lesson Preview

In this lesson, we’ll be walking through how to set up goals within your Google Analytics account. Specifically, we will cover two common types of goal completions: Destination Event and how to properly create them.

What are Google Analytics Goals?

Google Analytics Goals are specific interactions on your site that can be set up to be tracked within Google Analytics. The purpose of utilizing these is to get an accurate sense of how your user base is interacting with your site. Once set up, Google Analytics Goals can be viewed at any time with detailed, built-in reporting information.

What is Destination Goal Tracking?

Destination Goal Tracking tracks visits to a specific page on your site. Destination tracking is most useful when utilized on ‘Thank You’ pages. The reason for this is that these pages are only accessible if a successful conversion has been logged beforehand and the user is then redirected to a specific ‘Thank You’ page with a specific URL. Therefore, the visits to this ‘Destination’ equate to the number of conversions successfully completed.

What is Event Goal Tracking?

Event Goal Tracking, more commonly known as Event Tracking, allows you to track unique interactions users have with your site. Whether it is a click, a form fill, viewing a video, and so on, Event Tracking allows you to distinguish one interaction from another. This is incredibly useful if changes are made to a page’s copy, a CTA’s color, or the overall layout. Event tracking lets you know if more users are interacting with your site assets at the desired rate.

Why is this important?

Properly setting up and tracking goals across your site is essential. The built-in goal reporting features of Analytics allow you to track a variety of valuable user interactions on your site.

What you’ll need:

  • Google Analytics Account with Admin Access
  • Google Tag Manager Account with ‘Edit’ Access


The Process:

Step 1: Setting Up a Destination Goal

We will begin with Destination Goal Tracking setup as it is the more straightforward of the two goal types we will be covering today.

  1. Identify the Destination URL you will be utilizing. For this lesson, we will be using: 
  2. With your URL identified, go to Google Analytics and click ‘Admin’ 
  3. Under ‘View’, click ‘Goals’ 
  4. Click ‘New Goal’ 
    1. If you don’t see +New Goal there are two possibilities
      • You don’t have sufficient access to create goals
        • If this is the case, contact the admin of your GA Account
      • You have the max number of goals created (20)
        • If you run into issue #2 you can repurpose goals that you are no longer tracking
  5. Goal Setup
    • Click ‘Custom’ & ‘Continue’
  6. Goal Description
    • Create a Goal Name that will make it instantly recognizable for reporting purposes. For this example, we will be using ‘Proposal Form Submission’
    • Under ‘Type’ chose ‘Destination’ for Destination’ and click ‘Continue’
  7. Goal Details
    • This is where we set the ‘Destination’ for Destination Tracking.
    • Under Destination, choose ‘Equals To’ then place your URL.
    • From here the value & Funnel fields are optional. Here is what they offer:
      • Value: Assign a real-life monetary amount that roughly equates to the successful completion of this goal. It helps demonstrate the value and importance of goals.
      • Funnel- By setting a set oath of how you expect users to complete this goal, you will then be treated to the data that either confirms this expectation or shows where they diverted.
    • Click ‘Save’ and your goal setup is complete!

Step 2: Setting Up Event Tracking in Google Tag Manager

Setting up Event Tracking is a bit longer of a process and will require you to utilize both Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager. The reason for this is that our event will be tracked by using an ‘Event Tag’. This tag, which will only fire under specific conditions, will then be linked to Analytics for tracking purposes. For this lesson, we will be placing an Event Tag on the HERO CTA for our PPC Services page.

  1. GTM Setup
    • Ensure you have the following:
      • Generic Click Trigger Enabled
      • Under ‘Variables’ Ensure these are all enabled 
  2. Once in your GTM containers home menu click ‘Tags’
  3. Once in the ‘Tags’ Sections, click ‘New’ to start creating your new tag. 
  4. Now in the Tag Creation Hub do the following: 
    • Name your Tag (make it clear & concise) 
    • For the Tag Type choose–> Google Analytics: Universal Analytics
  5. Tag Configuration 
    • Track Type–> event 
    • Event Tracking Parameters
      • Use: Category, Action, Label
      • Keep Short and Concise 
      • Google Analytics Settings
        • Choose Proper Analytics ID 
      • Advanced Setting–> NA
      • Click ”Save’
        • It will say a Trigger is necessary but we will be adding that next  
  6.  Trigger Configuration
    • Click on your saved tag and access the screen that shows both ‘Tag Configuration’ & ‘Triggering’
    • Click on ‘Triggering’
    • Click the ‘+’ sign once in the ‘Choose a trigger’ menu
    • Choose Trigger Type ‘Click- All Elements’
    • Make sure the Tag will fire on ‘Some Clicks’ NOT ‘All Clicks’
    • The section in the red box will be addressed next, remain looking at this screen
  7. Open a New Tab in your web browser and go to the GTM homepage
    • Click Preview
    • By clicking this, we are able to send the live site into ‘Preview Mode’ . which then shows us which tags are firing and on which specific elements they are doing so.
  8. Preview Mode-Website
    • Go to the page you want to place event tracking on and it should look something like this.
    • Using the ‘Command + Click’ option on Mac, click your CTA so that you will remain on your current page and have access to that click’s information.
    • On the left, choose the corresponding click that contained the CTA and then choose ‘Variables’
    • Once in the ‘Variables’ tab, it is time to choose elements from our CTA that will . distinguish a click anywhere else on the site versus the specific CTA.
      • The following elements are the best to utilize as they possess enough distinguishing factors that ensure our even will only be triggered under these specific circumstances.
      • We are now going to use these variables to finalize the ‘Trigger configuration’ from earlier.
  9. Flip back to the tab we left open with the ‘Tag Configuration’ and input the variables from your own CTA so that your triggering resembles this:
    2. Click ‘Save’ and your tag setup is complete! 
  10. With your tag now saved, go back to your tab that is in ‘Preview Mode’ and refresh the page. Click on your CTA once more and see if the tag has fired. If properly implemented, it should look like this:

    • To link this event tracking as an ‘Event Goal’ in Google Analytics, follow the same steps as before. We will be covering the differences in the process below:

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