About goals – Analytics Help

About goals

Use goals to measure how often users complete specific actions.

Goals measure how well your site or app fulfills your target objectives. A goal represents a completed activity, called a conversion, that contributes to the success of your business. Examples of goals include making a purchase (for an ecommerce site), completing a game level (for a mobile gaming app), or submitting a contact information form (for a marketing or lead generation site).

Defining goals is a fundamental component of any digital analytics measurement plan. Having properly configured goals allows Analytics to provide you with critical information, such as the number of conversions and the conversion rate for your site or app. Without this information, it’s almost impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of your online business and marketing campaigns.

Watch the video below for an overview of Analytics goals.

How goals work

Goals are configured at the view level. Goals can be applied to specific pages or screens your users visit, how many pages/screens they view in a session, how long they stay on your site or app, and the events they trigger while they are there. Every goal can have a monetary value, so you can see how much that conversion is worth to your business. Using values for goals lets you focus on the highest value conversions, such as transactions with a minimum purchase amount.

When a visitor to your site or user of your app performs an action defined as a goal, Analytics records that as a conversion. That conversion data is then made available in a number of special-purpose reports, which are described below.

Goal types

Goals fall into one of 5 types, listed in the table below:

Goal Type Description Example
Destination A specific location loads Thank you for registering! web page or app screen
Duration Sessions that lasts a specific amount of time or longer 10 minutes or longer spent on a support site
Pages/Screens per session A user views a specific number of pages or screens 5 pages or screens have been loaded
Event An action defined as an Event is triggered Social recommendation, video play, ad click

Smart Goals

In addition to the goal types described above, Analytics provides an alternative conversion tracking method called Smart Goals. Smart Goals are specifically designed to help AdWords advertisers who may not have enough conversions to use the AdWords optimization tools, such as automated bidding. When you have Smart Goals enabled, Analytics automatically evaluates your website or app visits and assigns each a score, with the “best” visits being translated into Smart Goals.

Funnels for Destination goals

With a Destination goal, you can specify the path you expect traffic to take. This path is called a funnel. When you specify steps in a funnel, Analytics can record where users enter and exit the path on the way towards your goal. This data appears in the Goal Flow and Funnel reports. You may see, for example, a page or screen in a funnel from which a lot of traffic exits before completing the goal, indicating a problem with that step. You might also see a lot of traffic skipping steps, indicating the path to conversion is too long or contains extraneous steps.

Goal value

When you set up a goal, you have the option of assigning a monetary amount to the conversion. Each time the goal is completed by a user, this amount is recorded and then added together and seen in your reports as the Goal Value.

Every action a user takes can be translated into a dollar amount. One way to help determine what a goal value should be is to evaluate how often the users who complete the goal become customers. For example, if your sales team can close 10% of people who sign up for a newsletter, and your average transaction is $500, you might assign $50 (i.e. 10% of $500) to your newsletter sign-up goal—a goal that users complete when they reach the final newsletter sign-up page. In contrast, if only 1% of signups result in a sale, you might only assign $5 to your newsletter sign-up goal.

Goal ID and goal sets

Every goal you create is assigned a numeric ID, from 1 to 20. Goals are grouped into sets of up to 5 individual goals. Goal sets allow you to categorize the different types of goals for your site. For example, you might track downloads, registrations, and receipt pages in separate goal sets. These sets appear in your reports as links beneath the Explorer tab in many reports.

Reporting on goals

You can analyze the goal completion rates, or conversion rates, in the Conversion > goals reports. Goal conversions also appear in other reports, including the Conversions > Multi Channel Funnels reports, the Conversions > Attribution reports, and the Acquisition reports.

Limits of goals

  • Goals are limited to 20 per reporting view. To track more than 20 goals, create an additional view for that property, or edit an existing goal you don’t need anymore.
  • Goals apply to the data you collect after the goal has been created. In other words, you must set up goals in your Analytics account before data appears in your goal reports and any other report that provide data on goals and goal Conversions.
  • Goals can’t be deleted, but you can stop recording data for a goal.
  • Goal data is processed differently from regular Analytics data.

Best practices for goals

Use intuitive names for your goals. This will help you and others understand the conversion reports more easily.

Although assigning a goal value is optional, we recommend you do so to help monetize and evaluate your conversions. Note that Analytics also uses the goal value data to calculate other metrics like ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). If using a dollar amount as a goal value doesn’t seem applicable to your site or app, just use a consistent numeric scale to weight and compare your conversions. For example, give low-value goals a “1” and high-value goals a “10.”

If you change or repurpose an existing goal, be sure to keep track of when you made the change. Since goals are not applied to historical data, changing a goal will change your conversion data from the point of the change. This might lead to confusion in your reports. (This is another reason to name your goals intuitively).

Source: About goals – Analytics Help

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Google’s Future Relies On Quality Control

Google’s Future Relies On Quality Control

How will Google adapt to the rise of mobile? Columnist Andy Taylor explores the issues Google is facing and the opportunities it has to stay relevant.

The rise of mobile has long had analysts predicting the fall of Google, as the web simply isn’t as convenient on mobile devices as it has been on desktops. A worse browser experience means a worse search experience, and mobile users have historically had to blindly click into a search result and hope that the website on the other side was usable on their device.

The writing on the wall isn’t lost on Google — and today, more than ever, it’s making optimizations geared towards upgrading the quality of the mobile search experience for both paid and organic links. The future will likely hold more of the same as Google fights to solidify itself as the place to go for queries of all types on all devices.

Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update Forces Sites To Upgrade

One of the most obvious updates that reflects Google’s dedication to providing an optimal search experience on mobile was the mobile-friendly algorithm update pushed out on April 21, 2015, and announced weeks earlier on the Webmaster Central Blog.

The update promised shakeups in the mobile organic landscape as sites that didn’t meet the mobile-friendly requirements would lose search engine visibility. While the update didn’t bring as much chaos as many had feared (or hoped for) in terms of mobile rank shifts, it brought sweeping changes from some of the top sites which took Google’s warnings seriously and acted accordingly.

By forcing antiquated websites to upgrade their user experience on mobile, Google leveled-up the quality of its own search engine, as the experience once users leave the search results is now superior. While the site updates are mutually beneficial, it was Google that had the cards to make the sweeping changes necessary, and the websites had to cover the bill of reconfiguring their mobile experiences.

But of course, upgrading the quality of organic listings still doesn’t upgrade the entire mobile search experience, as Google still has to think about paid advertisements.

Potential For Greater Quality Control In Paid Results

In the early stages of AdWords, no such thing as Quality Score existed, and Ad Rank was determined by the simple formula: advertiser bid multiplied by the expected click-through-rate (CTR).

In 2005, Google rolled out the first iteration of Quality Score in order to better control for the quality of the copy and landing pages used by advertisers, and baked both of these variables into determining Ad Rank.

This was a big development at the time and has had a lasting impact in determining which ads are shown, whether or not they’re featured above the organic results at the top of the page, and how much an advertiser has to pay in the event that a click occurs.

However, it’s largely assumed that for all intents and purposes, Quality Score is still primarily based on the expected CTR of the ad. This may be a result of how difficult it is to have truly bad ad copy or landing page relevance, but particularly on mobile, there are different requirements for users to have a positive experience.

Thus, the rise of mobile may spur Google towards taking landing page relevance and quality into greater consideration in determining Ad Rank, even more so than has been the case since 2011.

The mobile-friendly tag has already been expanded to paid search results in tests but does not (at this point) affect Quality Score, at least according to Google’s statements. This and other factors may eventually be a much bigger part of the mobile Ad Rank algorithm.

Dynamic Search Ads Give Google Greater Control Of The Advertisers Considered

Aside from adjusting how mobile Quality Scores are calculated, Google may also be able to achieve greater quality at scale through Dynamic Search Ads (DSA), which run across all device types but may be particularly important for mobile in terms of ensuring quality results.

Since DSA relies on Google’s ability to crawl and assess the relevance of each page on a website — much in the same way organic search relies on Google’s indexation and relevance measures — Google has greater control of which queries an advertiser is considered for based on the content of the advertiser’s website.

If Google were to somehow migrate all paid search traffic over to DSAs, they would be able to get rid of advertisers which they’d prefer not to be involved in auctions for a particular query, since advertisers would no longer be able to specify which keywords they would like to bid on.

As there are fewer available ad spots on mobile devices, eliminating one “bad” ad from the search results has a greater impact than on desktop computers.

Additionally, Google could include as many possible advertisers in each auction as it deemed relevant to the search, maxing out competition between the “best” advertisers. They would also have control over which landing pages were used for these advertisers, giving it greater control of the experience once users click a paid link.

As shown by the recent updates to DSAs announced during the AdWords livestream, Google is clearly devoting resources to DSAs, and at Merkle|RKG we’re certainly getting more and more advice and support from reps regarding best practices.

All signs seem to point towards Google pushing for greater use of these campaign types in the future, and there has been much speculation around the industry regarding the imminence of a keyword-less world.

This is nowhere near the case just yet, as keywords and their match types still represent the most important aspect of text ad management, but if Enhanced Campaigns showed us anything, it’s that things can change quickly.

In the meantime, a potentially even bigger move towards mobile paid ad quality control has recently been confirmed as imminent: the buy button.

Buy Button Could Shape The Mobile Search Shopping Experience

My colleague at Merkle|RKG, Mark Ballard, wrote an excellent piece regarding how the buy buttonwould work, as well as outlining advertiser concerns and how the details recently released do help to assuage them.

Whatever form the buy button experience eventually takes, it is clear that this update is aimed at giving mobile searchers a more streamlined purchasing experience than what is currently possible.

This is because the quality of the user experience can suffer even when placing orders on mobile-friendly sites, as users are required to go through typing out all of their billing and shipping information for each site they make a purchase from.

Enter the buy button, where users need only give Google their payment information once and have it stored for later purchases.

If Google is able to get the buy button to catch on and enhance the conversion process, the value of their own search engine on mobile devices again goes up, which can draw more users and advertiser dollars.

Just like with the mobile-friendly algorithm update, this would be a mutually beneficial change for Google and advertisers, but this time with Google making the investment in providing their own property through which users can buy from online retailers.

Make The World (Wide Web) Google

Google has proven throughout the past decade and a half that it knows how to give users a great experience. The past five years have brought a new challenge in the rise of mobile device traffic, with less real estate to work with and plenty of terrible websites providing searchers with poor experiences once they click through.

Google is clearly making steady gains in its own product design, such as adding the PLA carouseland redesigning results to be more tiled and easily distinguishable on mobile devices.

Source: Google’s Future Relies On Quality Control

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Digital Analytics Fundamentals – Lesson 4.4 Setting up goals and ecommerce – YouTube

Published on May 14, 2014

This video is part of the Digital Analytics Fundamentals course on Analytics Academy. View the full course athttp://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com.

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