How to Set Up Goals in Google Analytics (plus a video!)

Google analytics goals how to set up


I don’t design pretty websites. I design beautiful websites that do their job.  Whether that is to sell a product, to sign up for a newsletter or to download a free e-book.

A good website must have a real strategy that can be measured with goals.

Google Analytics tracks a zillion metrics about your website and provides acute inside into the traffic, but it doesn’t tell you how your business is doing without setting up GOALS.

With goals you can track:

  • how many people reach a specific page (URLs)
  • how many people stay on your site for a minimum amount of time (time)
  • how many people viewed a minimum of pages on your site (pages/visit)
  • how many people did a specific event such as downloaded an ebook or watched a video (events).

A top strategy for most of my clients is building their email newsletter list. I spend a lot of effort making it appear simple for visitors to sign up and subscribe–I use a great plugin called Magic Action Box for its design-ability. I also am a huge fan of LeadPages for popups and to deliver content upgrades **email gifts**  I set up Goals to track mailing list sign ups. Once signups start rolling in, I use analytics to see where I the most subscribers come from.

For example. If you check out Acquisition >>Traffic Sources >> Social Media >> Conversions you can see which social media channel is referring the traffic that is subscribing to your newsletter.  REAL WORLD APPLICATION, if you are spending money on Facebook ads and the biggest referral is NOT Facebook, then you may want to rethink those ad dollars, but you have to know, to know what to do. 

You can also figure out what keywords people are searching for that then convert and what blog posts they read and then convert, I mean really the data is really astounding.

Goals rock. I will stop telling you and now show you how to set them up. Here is a step-by-step guide for setting up a goal for newsletter sign ups.

If you would prefer to watch a video instead of reading, viola!

Setting up goals in Google Analytics to track mailing list sign ups is pretty straight forward. The key is to have a unique “thank you for subscribing” page set up, you will need to have that URL handy.

Okay friends, login to your GA account and let’s get this party started.

Step 1. Click on your websites profile and then Admin, under the View column click on GOALS.

goals google analytics step 1 how to

Step 2. Custom Goal. Select the Custom Radio button at the bottom of the list.  Google Analytics does provide prebuilt templates, but for our case we need a destination goal.

how to set up goals google analytics


Step 3. Goal Type. Now you can name your goal, I would suggest you name it something like Mail Subscriptions or Mail Signups–something obvious.  The type is Destination. 


how to set up goals easy google analytics

Step 4. Goal Details. This is where you put the URL of your thank you page. NOTE put the relative path only, in the Destination Equals to: box so just put /thanks  don’t put does that make sense?

Value: Some people like to assign a dolla amount to each sign up–totally optional.

Funnel: THIS IS SO FUN! This isn’t always in play for email sign ups, but it is so great for Sales Pages. Let’s say you are selling a Webinar and you have a Sales Page (talks all about it) and a Purchase Page (where the shopping cart is) you can enter those pages in the funnel and see where/how people processed through. So did people drop off on the Sales Page or the Purchase Page?

Make sure you “verify the goal” to make sure it is set up right and select Save.

Done and Done.

Now we just wait for the conversions to come rolling in.

What is the biggest thing that you want to track on your site? Do you track it? Do you need help with setting up Google Analytics goals for your site or your clients sites? I do that. I also create the best, custom Google Analytics Reports so that you can track what matters in your and your clients business.


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