Using goals within Google Analytics is important to measure the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns. Learn how to break down your goals into macros and Micro Conversions here.
You will also learn how to assign values to goals and configure them with Google Analytics.
The 4 main types of conversions you need to know about
If you are using Google Analytics to monitor your conversions, you need to configure different types of conversions. The different conversion types strongly reflect the many different styles and types of websites. In addition, they give us the ability to configure what type of conversion is appropriate for our website.
These are the 4 main types of websites and the main conversion goals that come with each of them:
|Website Type||Main Objective|
|Content creation||Engage with content|
|Support||Help their own business|
|Leads Generation||Capture contact info|
4 types of websites and their main conversion goals
Understanding your primary goals will help you set goals on your Google Analytics when you need to track conversions.
- Content creation: Using the table above, you can see that your goal is to connect with your audience if you have a blog or other content creation site.
- With support sites, even if they’re less common than the others, the goal is for people to get the help they need without a third party being involved.
- If you have a lead generation website, you need to capture visitors’ information to contact them later and convert them.
- With an e-commerce website, the main goal is to sell more online.
Hybrid conversion targets websites.
We need to mention that there are cases where you need hybrid conversion goals. For example, you might be trying to generate leads, but at the same time, your website has a blog where you’re trying to create engagement with your audience or prospects.
Understanding Macro and Micro Conversions?
When setting your conversion goals, it’s important to understand the different actions you want people to take on your business website.
Such actions can be classified as Macro Conversions and Micro Conversions.
You must pay attention to what you need to track or measure in your Google Analytics. When you classify your online business goals, it helps you prioritize the types of conversion actions.
In other words, it’s about deciding what is more important and what is less important to your business when you apply this to your conversions.
What are Macro Conversions?
🎯 Macro Conversions are the primary goals for your business. Think of them as the actions users will take on your online business that will benefit you and your business the most.
To give you a way to think about macro conversions, here are some examples of Macro Conversions:
Macro Conversion Examples:
These are great examples of macro or primary goals. Definitely make sure you use Google Analytics to measure these primary goals. Because these are your first priority when setting up your Google Analytics Account.
The next step you need to take after setting up your primary goals on Google Analytics is to supplement them with micro conversions.
What are Micro Conversions?
🎯 A Micro Conversion is a secondary level of your goals. Actions that are a deeper level of engagement but are not necessarily providing the same value as your macro conversion actions. Micro-conversions are specific CTAs with specific goals, but they are not the main conversion. Still, micro-conversions are essential parts of the funnel to achieve your desired outcome.
Micro conversions are KPIs that tell you that your visitors did more than just read a blog post, and micro conversions tell you if you have a deeper connection with that portion of your website visitors.
Check out the following list of good examples to consider Micro Conversions:
Micro Conversion Examples:
- Video Watches
- Minimum dwelling time
The above are micro conversions we can easily track using Google Analytics.
Why do you need to measure micro conversions?
We measure micro conversions because they give us a better understanding of how our website, funnels, and marketing campaigns are performing.
A good example of this is when you analyze the performance of your marketing campaigns. You’ll find that some are better for macro conversions than others that achieve micro conversions. These are the best insights we need to continue optimizing our campaigns.
What are conversions?
Conversions are pure actions taken by your target audiences that add value to your business or organization. These actions are valuable, but these actions can differ from each other in different ways.
Actions can represent real value, measured value, or just symbolic value. But what does it mean?
When it comes to conversions, you need to understand what a performed value action can mean, so here are some examples:
|Type of conversion value||Example of action taken|
|Real Value||Amount paid with a credit card|
|Measured Value||Lead value average|
|Symbolic Value||Form submissions are what we need|
The 3 types of conversion values
These are just simple examples, there is not one conversion value for all. You will probably feel that one of these examples applies to you more than the others.
Let’s talk more about these three examples.
The real value would be the credit card transactions on your website. That is, the actual amount paid by someone who made a purchase on your website.
The measured value or calculated value usually refers to lead generation websites. For example, you work in a consulting agency, and you are trying to get information from people through your contact forms to contact you for consulting projects. You know that not all of them will close a deal with you, but based on the number of forms they fill out, you can calculate the value of the leads.
Symbolic values are for sites that aren’t really trying to generate sales, or it isn’t easy at best to calculate the value. So you can “guesstimate” to gauge the degree of importance of the various conversion actions with Google Analytics.
Now is the time to set our sights on Google Analytics, let’s tackle it now!
Configure Google Analytics Conversion Goals.
There are Four types of Goals you can configure in Google Analytics.
- Destination Pages
- Events tracking
- Pages/Screen per sessions
1️⃣ First, we have Destination Pages or pages goals. These goals allow you to measure how many website visitors reach a specific important page within your website. Yes, this is one of the most commonly configured goals in Google Analytics. The “thank you” page is usually the most commonly used page for this goal.
An example of using the landing page goal in Google Analytics is when you have forms on your site that visitors need to fill out, and once they do, the person is redirected to a confirmation page. Here you can define the URL of the confirmation page as a conversion goal, and you can see in Google Analytics how many people were able to complete this action on your website. The second option of the three types of conversion goals in Google Analytics is the “event goal”.
How Destination Pages goal works with Google Analytics
If you are trying to drive your web visitors to a specific web page, you probably have a series of steps to get the web visitor there; this is what we call a funnel. In Google Analytics, you can configure a simple goal to add an app screen name or URL.
Optionally, we can also add a monetary value to the conversion goal.
But if we want to make our funnel conversion measurement more granular, Google Analytics also allows us to add up to 20 steps of the funnel. This means we can define all the steps a potential customer must go through before they convert.
Please don’t add 20 steps to your conversion funnel because then it gets too complicated, and you might not see many conversions after all. But the good news is that Google Analytics allows us this flexibility, and it’s free!
Now let’s be clear that this type of targeting is meant for websites where people need to fill out forms, download a file, watch a video, etc.
But when it comes to e-commerce websites, it is better and advisable to use the e-commerce tracking code instead.
2️⃣ Secondly, we have Duration or engagement-based goals. These refer to people spending a certain amount of time on our websites or even visiting a certain number of pages.
How duration goals works with Google Analytics
Duration goals are based on how long a visitor stays on your site. You can determine when this goal is considered complete based on your settings. For example, you can tell Google Analytics that this goal is considered complete when the user spends four minutes on a particular page of your website.
Now there is a catch that you need to watch out for.
Imagine a user reaches a page where they need to fill out a form, and you’ve set your page-based goal for that particular form if you compare the people who fill out that form to the visitors who spend more than 4 minutes on your site.
I’m sure you’ll find big differences between those metrics.
Now, if you set up your engagement goals along with a page-based goal, your overall conversion numbers will surely be inflated when you review your analytics.
Yes, you’ll probably see a lot of conversions, but soon you’ll find that only a small number of visitors from those conversions were the ones who actually filled out the form.
So remember that duration goals are useful. Think about the sites that don’t have page-based or event-based goals.
3️⃣ Event goals measure the interactions our web visitors have with various elements on our website. An example of tracked events could be something like watching a video, downloading a PDF, or any other interaction you want to track on your website.
How event-based goals works with Google Analytics
You need to make sure your event tracking is configured before you start configuring the actual Goal target inside Google Analytics.
👍 Important Note: There are no funnel step settings for event-based goals, meaning there are no conversion journey steps.
However, event-based goals are excellent and necessary for tracking things like clicks on CTAs, on-page buttons, downloads, web page events, and any type of interaction that happens on your website.
If you want these events to be included in your report, you’ll need to configure them first, and then you can set them as goals.
4️⃣ A “pages/screens per session” goal is completed when a visitor visits more than the specified number of pages (or screens, if the view you are creating a goal for is a mobile app) in a session.
Like the duration goal, this is another less common goal that publishers use to measure whether readers are reading multiple stories.
How pages/screens per session goals works with Google Analytics
The number of pages per session is the average number of pages a person views in a given session. This metric is determined by dividing the number of pages viewed by the total number of sessions.
This metric is useful for measuring the engagement of your website. Generally, any content site that relies on Adsense, advertising, or affiliate revenue wants to increase page views per user. More page views and more time spent on your pages means more revenue.
For example, your site has an average number of pages views per session of 3, which means that the average web user visits three pages and then leave your site.
Prioritizing your goals setting on Google analytics
To prioritize which goal you configure first, you should start with the “target pages” goal. To these, add events to extend the measurement to your web engagements later.
These three types of goals focus mainly on branding or content-only pages.
Are you generating sales or capturing leads on your website?
Then you need to set up your landing pages and event goals first.
Set your goals at Google Analytics.
Now that you understand the plan behind setting up goals and know the different types of goals, it’s time to jump into Google Analytics and configure them.
Let’s start with the basic types of goals you need to set up in Google Analytics. Goals destination or page-based goals.
How to create a destination-based goal using Google Analytics.
Here are the three requirements you need to create a destination-based target on Google Analytics:
- The steps of the process
- A unique thank you page
- Configure the goal
1 The steps of the process:
The first thing you need to create a destination-based goal is to identify the steps your visitors need to go through to complete the goal on your website.
👍 Pro-tip: Go to your pages and list the steps. Because these steps will represent your funnel steps when setting up the goal.
2A unique thank you page:
Make sure your thank you page is not used for multiple actions on your site. Otherwise, you could end up with a mix of users completing the funnel but not knowing exactly which page they came from.
3Configure the goal:
Let’s see how you complete the process at Google Analytics by going through the steps.
First, you need to go to Google Analytics, log into the account of the website where you want to set your goals and click on the word “admin” in the lower-left corner.
Note: You must have edit permissions to configure goals on Google Analytics.
Once you click on “admin”, you will be taken to a page with 3 columns. Go to the third column, the “View” column, and click on 🏴Goals.
You probably don’t see a goal configuration yet, but if you do, follow these steps to make sure you’ve configured the goal correctly. So click on the “+New Goal red” button.
Note: If you are just starting to create goals on Google Analytics, use the default setting.
You also get the option to use goal templates, but we’re not going to use them right now, so you’ll have to click Custom and then continue.
You’ll also notice the different types of goals we mentioned earlier. In this example, we are focusing on goals, but you can see that you have duration goals, pages/screen per session goals, event goals, and smart goals only if your site is linked to Google Adwords.
So click on “Destination” to configure a page-based goal, and then click “Continue”.
There you can first enter a name for the Goal and then select the Goal ID. There are four sets of five Goals each. What you’re going to do there is basically grouping your goals for when you see them in your standard report within Google Analytics.
Then you need to configure the final conversion URL for the action. So in this example, you need to take the URL of the page that the user will see on your site after the action is complete.
How to determine the triggering of the goal on Google Analytics
There are three options to determine how the goal should interact with the landing page you add there.
- Equal to
- Begins with
- Regular expression
If you select this option, the goal is considered complete when the user reaches that exact URL. For example, if you specify /thank-you, goal completion is triggered only when that exact URL is reached, and not when another page with additional details at the beginning or end of the URL is reached.
Here the conversion is triggered for URLs with or without different parameters as completed. e.g. /thank-contact?id=1 and /thank-contact?status=true. As you can see, the “Begins with” condition are broader regarding the type of URLs that match.
Let’s avoid going into too much depth as this is a more advanced configuration, but regular expressions give you the ability to match URLs in many different ways. Check this example with an “or” condition: /thank-you?id=(news|contact) (the pipe between news and contact represents the “or” condition). So in this example, the goal is triggered when one of the two expressions is reached, either news or contact, and not any other expression since it was not created.
Now back to our Google Analytics target configuration.
Next, you need to decide if you need a monetary value. If so, you can add the value by checking the option.
The same is true for the funnel options. But in the funnel option, you need to set the steps that will lead to the final landing page that you added above, such as the /thank-you page.
Try to keep your funnel steps simple, you don’t want to add too many steps that won’t help you. Focus on adding the steps that really help you understand the customer Buying Journey because that will help you decide where you need improvement when the evaluation begins.
You can start by adding a simple step, such as the name of your form and the URL where the form is located:
Form name Lead Form, URL /contact-us
Pro-Tip: Omit the “require” option, as it only affects one of the older reports within Google Analytics.
Finally, click “Save” and you will see that your new target has been configured.
That’s all you need to start creating conversion goals on Google Analytics, the importance of using them, and the different types of conversions you need to focus on.
Tell me how you use goals, do you have any tips you want to share, or is there a need for help that you have?
If you need help or have some insights to share, use the comment section below and let’s talk.
As a companion to this article, check out this video from Google on setting up goals and the types of goals outside of Google Analytics.