Setting up Goals Using Google Analytics

A goal can track how effectively your advertising spend or social media marketing exercise is working. To demonstrate this we will use an example from one of our websites.

In this case we are running an advertising campaign on LinkedIn. It is a pay per click campaign, so we are able to see that the average cost per click for these ads is $2.65.

We are interested in learning how many of these clicks turn into conversions. If every one turned into a conversion, then we would know that our customer recruitment cost was $2.65 per customer. That of course is not the case because not every person who clicks on the advert, becomes a customer. So, if out of every 10 people who click, 5 of them become customers, then our customer acquisition cost rises to $5.30.

If we can track this, then we can tweak our advert and landing page over time and know for sure if the changes we are making are having a positive or negative impact.

Here is a screenshot of the advert we ran on LinkedIn. It was offering a 50% discount on an online video training course.

When someone clicks on the advert it leads to this address:


Here is a screen shot of the landing page:

You can see that there is an engaging 2 minute video explaining the product and just off the bottom of the screen a form for the user to fill in to get their voucher by return email.

We are achieving an average of 5 minutes user retention on this page; that is to say that most users watch the video and read the text below the video (there is a lot more text that is not shown in the  screenshot above). Landing page design is a big area however, and we will cover that in more detail in a future tutorial.

When the visitor completes the form,  they are taken to the following URL (and sent an email with a 50% discount code for the course).

This is a simple thank you page, which notifies the visitor that their form was submitted successfully and allows us to track the activity.

So, this allows us to set up a goal on Google Analytics, to track when people enter the landing page and end up on the thank you page, meaning that they followed the path that we wanted them to follow. Also, because the landing page is exclusively available to the advert, we know for sure that only people who respond to the advert are being monitored by this goal. This in turn gives us the ROI from our advertising spend and we can track exactly how many people click through for the voucher per click on the advert.


Setting it up

  •  In Google Analytics, select the Admin menu option.
  • Then navigate to the web site you want to work with and click the “Goals” link.
  • Click the red “NEW GOAL” button
  • Then complete the forms you are presented with.

This first form  allows you to select from a common set of goal types, such as “Place an order”, “Create an account” etc. Select the one that most closely matches the goal you want your visitor to achieve or add a custom one.

  • Next, give the goal a description, so you can recognize it easily when you look at the results later. Then give it a type. In this case, we want to track the user going to the thank you page, so we select “Destination” as the goal type. There are other options however, such as the length of time a customer stays on the page, the number of pages they view or a certain event, like playing a video.
  • Finally, give the site address of the destination page, seen in the screen shot below as /maximo-birt-training-thanks/. Also give the start page, in this case named landing page, and point at /maximo-reporting-online-video-training/

Now when Google sees people entering at the landing page and moving to the thank you page, it will record that as a goal having been achieved.

If your site has been running for a while, you can fit goals retrospectively and click the “Verify this Goal” link. Analytics will tell you based on historic data how many times the goal would have been reached. This is good to determine if you have set up the goal correctly.

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