Beginner Business Analytics: goal tracking

Beginner Business Analytics: 11 Step Guide To Setting Up Goals In Google Analytics

What is Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to analyze website data for your business in one place. It tracks all the data coming and going from your website. Allowing you to understand where your customers are coming from (country and device), how your customers are moving through your website, your most viewed pages, the demographics and interests of users, and much more. This article will help you in setting up goals in Google Analytics.

Quick Guide Of How to Set Up Google Analytics Account

If you haven’t already set up a Google Analytics account you can do so by following this link: Google Analytics

Once you’ve signed up you need to connect your website to your Google Analytics account. In order to do that you need to go to the “admin section” then under “PROPERTY” click “Tracking info > tracking code”. Once you have the code or the Global Site Tag add it to your website. 

Here are some guides to help you add the tag for the top 3 most popular platforms: WordPress, Squarespace, and Shopify.

It takes 24 hours for the tracking code to take effect and for you to start seeing data.

What are Goals in Google Analytics

You can use goals to measure how often users complete a specific action. A goal represents a completed activity, in other words a conversion that contributed to the success of your business. Examples of goals that you could set up include making a purchase, submitting a contact form, downloading a resource, or watching a video. 

Google Analytics Goals can be applied to specific pages or used to screen your users’ visits. For example, you may want to set a goal that tracks the amount of people that visit a certain URL or a specific event such as clicking an email address to contact you. Goals can also be given a monetary value so you can see exactly how much each conversion is worth.

So, when a user performs a certain action that you have determined to be a goal, Google Analytics records that as a conversion and gives you the details to see who, when and where they converted. The data is then made available in reports that you can go back and look through. 

Types of Goals

Goals in Google Analytics fall into 4 categories:

Goal TypeDescriptionExample
DestinationA specific location/page loads“Thank you for registering for our email list” web page loads
DurationSessions that last a specific amount of time or longer10 minutes or longer present on your “new arrivals” page
Pages/Screens per sessionA user views a specific number of pages or screens5 pages/screens have been loaded “about us, new arrivals, mens top, accessories, clearance”
EventAn action defined as an event is triggeredSocial recommendation, video play, ad click 

Setting up Destination Goals in Google Analytics

For this blog we will guide you on how to set up one of the most popular conversions; a destination goal. 


  1. Have google analytics set up and integrated with your website
  2. Click admin and and click “goals” under the “view column”
  3. Click “new goal”
  4. Select “custom”
  5. Add goal description
  6. Add in URL
  7. Switch from “equals to” to “begins with”
  8. Add in value for your conversion (optional)
  9. Add in funnel (optional)
  10. Hit Save
  11. Test your conversions

1. Make sure you have signed up for Google Analytics and have integrated it into your website

2. Click “Admin” and then click “goals” under the view column

Admin controls in Google analytics

3. Click “new goal” 

Setting up goals in Google Analytics

4. Select “custom”

Google Analytics custom goals

5. Add in goal description

For this example, the goal will be named “Goal Test”. Make sure you name it something clear so you know exactly what it is tracking. For example, “contact us submissions” or “email newsletter sign ups”

The Goal slot ID will automatically put it to the next available slot. You can leave it like this or if you would like to group similar goals together you can choose which goal set you want it to be in.

 You will also select “destination” as this is the type of goal we are setting up. 

Goal descriptions in Google Analytics

6. Next step is to add in the URL that you want to track as your “end goal”

This can be a “Thank you for your purchasing” page or a “Thank you for subscribing to our email newsletter” page. The URL will most likely be a variation of the following: “https://tactycs.io/thank-you/”. 

For this example we will use the final page that people see once they submit a contact us form on the Tactycs website. You may need to fill out your form with fake information if you cannot access the page from the back end of your website. 

You also want to make sure that you only put in what comes after your website’s domain. So for our example instead of putting the entire link as https://tactycs.io/thank-you  We will only put /thank-you, Google Analytics is smart enough to recognize the domain.

Add in the URL that you want to track as your end goal

7. Switch from “equals to” to “begins with”

This will allow multiple different versions of the final destination link to be captured by the goal. This step in the process will vary depending on how your website has been set up. In the case of Tactcys we have a custom URL addition that gets tacked onto the “/thank-you/?custom-something-or-other”. Because of this we opt to count all URL visits that ‘begin with’ the /thank-you/. 

Here is a breakdown of the difference between the two:

LinkEquals ToBegins With
/thank-youWill track it Will track it 
/thank-you/?cf_id=25Will not track itWill track it 
/thank-you/?status=trueWill not track itWill track it 

Some links do not have the further customization after the standard “/thank-you” but either way you want to ensure you capture each visit of this destination.

Switch from "equals to" to "begins with" in order to capture each visit of the destination

8. Add in a value for your conversion

This is an optional step. This can be an actual, estimated or symbolic value. For our example, we will put a simple $20 to represent that this conversion has at least some monetary benefit for our business. This number is up to you and can be more more specific when applicable (ie. e-commerce business). 

setting up goals in Google Analytics with estimated or symbolic value

9. Add a funnel

This is also an optional step. A funnel refers to the path your users take to reach a particular destination. You can specify the screens or pages the user must visit prior to the final destination goal by turning on this option.

For example, users must go to the “contact us” page before arriving at the “thank you” page. So we will add this. This can be useful in multi-step conversion processes such as filling out a job application on a website. The user would visit the post, enter their details, and submit a resume (all of which could happen on different pages). 

Goal funnel while setting up goals in Google Analytics

10. Click save and you’re done! You have now set up your destination goal

11. We recommend you test your goals. Google Analytics can be finicky so go back after 24 hours and run a test conversion so you don’t miss any critical data

Google Tag Manager

If you’re looking for a way to take your tracking to the next level, Google Tag Manager is another free tool. It allows you to manage and deploy different marketing tags or code on your website without actually having to modify your website’s code. For example, you could use tags for scroll tracking, generating heat maps, file downloads, remarketing or items being removed from a shopping cart.

Tracking this activity usually means modifying your websites code more drastically which can be complicated and overwhelming. With Google Tag Manager you’re able to add, edit and disable tags without having to touch the source code.

By learning how to set goals in Google Analytics you can be sure that you are monitoring your marketing and sales efforts. Always complete this process before spending money on any advertising. Allowing you to measure the return on your investment!

If you still have questions about Google Analytics and how it can help take your marketing efforts to the next level contact our team!