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How To Set Meaningful Goals In Google Analytics

by Ascedia - March 1, 2017 - 3 minute read

Recap from our last post: Getting started with Google Analytics is free and easy. In just three simple steps, you can have everything up and running. What comes next? The fun part!  

You’ve taken the first step and are diving into your newly created Google Analytics account! You spend a lot of time making your website great – now it’s time to measure its success by setting up – and tracking – goals. 

Think about what you would consider a successful action from a user. Is it filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter or spending a certain amount of time on your site? All of these activities can be measured through Goal tracking. Goals can be created and managed in the Admin tab:

From there, select +”New Goal” and then name your goal to get started:

As you can see, there are five types of goals you can choose from. 


You would use this type of goal to measure how often users reach a certain destination on your site, such as a thank you page. 

For example, on our site it’s important to us to know how many visitors fill out the Contact Us form

Our site is set up with fixed URLs, so each time someone completes the form, they are directed to a specific thank you page. 

In this case, to set up the goal, you would select Destination Begins With and then enter the portion of your URL that comes after your site’s .com (i.e. /contact-us/thank-you/) 

In some instances, you might want to add a monetary value or a specified path to track as well. This can be done by toggling the Value or Funnel switches on. 

Duration and Pages Per Session

If you are interested in measuring users who are especially engaged with your site, you can track Duration or Pages Per Session goals. 
We often like to track how many users spend longer than the average or visit a higher than average number of pages per session. Limits are customizable based on your own site’s engagement trends: 


Event tracking allows you to track interactions on the site – think video plays, PDF downloads, button clicks, etc. (we’ll break Events down further in an upcoming post.) Certain events may be more important than others and should therefore also be recorded as goals. 

For example, while we are tracking “Job Application Submissions” as an event, we also want it to be included in goal reporting. In this case, we’d set up the goal off of the category, action or label of the event: 


  • Regardless of the type of goal, always hit Verify to confirm they have been set up correctly.
  • If you want to measure something more complex, like dynamically generated URLs or multiple events, you can use Regular Expressions to capture a string of data. Google breaks down the various examples nicely. 

Once your goals are set up, you’ll be able to explore the data through the Conversions report set: 

The overview allows you to see a full picture of all goal completions on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. Or you can break it down to a specific goal by selecting one from the goal completions drop downs above the graph. Through this reporting category, you can also dive into each goal by URL, reverse goal path, source/medium or flow. 

Reminder: A goal can be layered on top of or applied as a “dimension” to most other data sets, meaning that if you want to know how many goals came from a particular city, you can navigate to a different report set (like Geo > Location) and see goal completions by location. 

As always, if you have questions about the implementation of your own goals, you can contact our team to learn more! Happy Goal Tracking! 

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