I personally find the goal and funnel visualization option in Google Analytics to be the most useful of all tracking options. It provides a way for you to track if your website is successful in converting visitors to clients, signing up for services, or making a purchase/donation, etc. Below are all the ways it can track these visitor conversions (as a percentage compared with total website visitors):
- How many visitors visit a specific page on your website.
- How many visitors complete a contact or enewsletter signup form (via the thank you page).
- How many visitors complete an ecommerce transaction (via the thank you page).
- How many visitors stay on the site for a specific amount of time/duration (i.e. more than 5 minutes).
- How many visitors visit a specific amount of pages (i.e. more than 5 pages).
- How many visitors visit through a specific route/path of pages to get to a goal page (called a funnel).
- What each goal is worth in dollar value. This value is specified by you, but is optional.
NOTE: If interested in tracking outbound links to external sites, read that section below.
Setting up a Goal and Funnel Visualization:
- Once logged into Google Analytics and viewing any screen within the Reporting tab, just click the Admin tab in the header.
- Click the Goals link under the View column (make sure the correct website is selected in the pulldown above).
- Click on the +New Goal button at top.
- Under Goal Setup, choose either pre-filled configuration template OR custom. Click Next Step.
- Under Goal Description, give your goal a proper identifying name, ID (if needed), and type. Your type options are listed and explained below. Click Next Step when finished.
- Destination: To track the percentage of visitors who reach a specific URL destination (goal) or full route/path through the site (funnel). You can also assign Goal Values in the next step.
- Visit Duration: To track percentage of visitors who stay on the site for a specific amount of time.
- Pages/Screens per session: To track the percentage of visitors who visit a specific amount of pages.
- Event: Advanced functionality. See this article for more details.
- Under Goal Details, choose whatever options it gives you based on the type of goal you chose. Click Create Goal when finished.
- If using the destination type and want to track a certain path, I recommend turning on the Funnel option and fill in the funnel steps with the first page of entry, second, third, and so on… leaving the final page of the sequence in the Destination field above. Just realize that it will not track conversions if the visitor comes from somewhere other than the path you specified when using this option. So if you want to track general conversions to this destination without a path, then turn off the Funnel option. Keep in mind you can setup both as two separate goals.
- If you want to assign a monetary value to the conversion, turn on the Value option.
- When you are taken back to main screen be sure to turn Recording to ON. You can always turn off at any time. You are limited to setting up 20 goals.
Then to view your goal data, in the left sidebar of your Reporting tab go to Conversions > Goals > and choose any submenu item. To view each goal separately you will need to select the goal from Goal Option pulldown at top of page. I like the Funnel Visualizations the most. You can even choose to add it to your dashboard by clicking “Add to Dashboard” link at top.
Tracking outbound links:
If you want to track outbound links, meaning links that leave your own site to visit an external site, you have to add special code to the website. All you have to do is add some additional code to the outgoing link you want to track. For example, a normal link may look like this:
Just simply copy and paste the additional code highlighted below, add to your link between the a and the href, and replace the ‘Link Name’ with whatever you want to name your outgoing link. This will enable you to recognize what link it is tracking in your Google Analytics report. Your final link code should look like this:
onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Outbound Links', 'Click', 'Link Name']);" href="https://www.outgoinglink.com/">Outgoing Link
Then once you have uploaded these changes to your site and the data starts to accumulate, you can check it out by logging into Google Analytics and and in the left sidebar of your Reporting tab go to Content > Events > Top Events.