Setting up Goals in Google Analytics | npENGAGE

Setting up Goals in Google Analytics

By on Nov 19, 2012


There is a lot of confusion around goal tracking and funnels in Google Analytics. True, these can get fairly complex, but the most common website goals are actually very easy to track (if you already have Google Analytics tracking all of your pages). All you are doing is counting your “thank you”s.

The most common, most important goals to track are typically

  • Donations
  • Newsletter signups
  • Purchases
  • Other contact forms

All of these typically take people to a “thank you” page after completion. This is a good practice to let the visitor know their action was successfully competed on the back end. This also makes it very easy to track how many people complete these actions by tracking how many unique visitors arrive at the thank you page. (We can assume that if someone made it to a page thanking them for their donation that means they made a donation.)

All you need to do is let Google know which pages are important thank you pages, and you have a wealth of additional reporting available to you.

1. Make a list of what thank you pages you want to track, including the URL and what action they belong to

2. Go to the Goals tab under the admin section of Google Analytics

3. Click on a goal set, and set up your goal

a. Enter an informative name
b. Choose URL Destination at the type
c. Enter in your URL, trimming off any session ID or other tracking information that changes for each visitor
d. Select Head Match
e. Ignore goal value & funnels for now

4. Repeat step 3 for each goal you’ve identified

5. Wait for data to trickle in!



Alissa Ruehl has been using Google Analytics since the first weeks it came out as a Google product. Through consulting, webinars, and conferences, she has helped hundreds of people at a variety of organizations and companies navigate Google Analytics and use it to refine their online marketing and website effectiveness. She currently uses her analysis skills as a senior user researcher on the Blackbaud products side, but she loves re-immersing herself the world of website analytics for her monthly Google Analytics blog posts. The only thing Alissa likes talking about more than data is food, but that’s a whole other blog.

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