What Goal Type Are You?
Talking about goals is an old topic in the world of analytics but one worth repeating. Enabling goals is one of the best ways to assess how well your site meets its business objectives. The hardest part for most website owners always seems to be identifying what goal type to use. A goal can be any activity on your website that's important to the success of your business. An account signup or request for a sales call are two examples of a goal. No website is immune from setting up a goal, especially if you would like to:
1. Understand how much time visitors stay or, more importantly, do not stay on your site. 2. Try to minimize the amount of time people spend on a specific section of your site (ex. support section) 3. Move visitors from one time-based goal to the next (i.e. from 2 to 5 minutes, 5 to 10 minutes, etc.) Every website should have at least one goal, especially now since Google Analytics allows for up to 20 goals. Let's take a look at the different variations of goals to choose from.
Time Based Goals
Time based goals can be set if you would like to measure a specific amount of time a visitor has spent on your website. Simply edit the goal by entering in the hours, minutes and seconds that you would like a visitor to spend on your site before a goal is counted. You can even track a time based goal if a visitor does not reach a certain period of time on your site simply by setting the condition to "less than".
Pageview Based Goals
This is similar to time based goals except you are tracking goals when a visitor exceeds (or doesn't exceed) a certain number of pages. The same conditions apply, meaning greater than or less than and the number of pageviews you would like to set up as a goal for each visitor.
URL Destination Goals
Identifying a specific URL destination has always been the traditional method of tracking goals in Google Analytics. To define a goal in Google Analytics, you specify the page that visitors see once they have completed the activity. For an account sign-up, you might set the Thank You for signing up page as a goal. For this type of goal, you can even enable a funnel to see where visitors have dropped off in the process. The trick here is determining the type of "match" for your URL. Google has three to choose from. I recommend visiting the following URL for more information on match types - http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en_US&answer;=72285&utm;_id=ad
This is a variation from the other three goals but worth mentioning as many sites have downloadable files. The beauty of setting a download as a goal is that you can assign a value, just like the other three goals mentioned. The only difference being is that file downloads can occur multiple times during one visitor session whereas any other type of goal can only happen once during a visit. So, for example, if a visitor comes to your site and downloads 5 PDF files during a single session, and each file is worth, say, $5, then you would accumulate 5 transactions totaling $25.
Setting goals is not a difficult process but rather a thought process. With that said, keep the below points in mind and you will be on your way to successful tracking.
Consider organizing goals by function (i.e. by time, download, etc.)
A visitor can only convert at each goal once per visit.
If you have multiple goals then consider consolidating into one profile in order view them all in one interface
Creating new goals will not modify your historical data, only future data
Add a value for each goal