We recently explored a few of Google Analytics features that you can use for evaluating the performance of your website. One aspect that we didn’t explore in detail, goal tracking, is arguably one of Google Analytics’ most powerful capabilities – as long as you know how to customize GA to utilize these features.
Goal tracking allows us to identify specific objectives related to your website and online marketing efforts, and use those to create and track measurable objectives. Using the GA interface, we can evaluate the factors that led to conversion (or not) and improve upon them.
As a result, you have a concrete way to measure the return on investment (ROI) of your SEO and online marketing efforts, and increase your bottom line.
What Is Conversion and Why Should You Measure It?
Conversion is a common term that online marketing and SEO professionals use, but what does it really mean for you, the business owner?
When we turn a business prospect into a customer, we have converted that individual. We like to define conversion as the process of convincing someone to do something we (you) want them to do. For your business, this might mean they provide you with their phone number or email address. It might mean they schedule an appointment with you for a free estimate, sign a contract for services or complete a purchase on your ecommerce site.
Although the ultimate conversion – the sale – is the overarching goal, many factors lead to a final decision to purchase. So while you definitely want to keep track of sales, we also need to know what induced them to convert along the way.
This way, we can gain critical insight as to what works for which visitors and prospects, and focus on doing more of that in the future. And, for those activities and campaigns that don’t work as well, you’ll know where not to spend your marketing budget.
Why Goal Tracking in Google Analytics Is Crucial
Since the earliest days of internet marketing, business owners have voiced the same complaint: It is inherently difficult to measure the true value and ROI of online marketing and advertising activities.
Like all marketing and brand-related promotion, some portion of your SEO and internet marketing serves primarily as a way to introduce your company and increase brand awareness. However, the majority of your marketing efforts should focus on more specific, measurable goals.
And, no different than traditional marketing, it’s important to establish clear objectives for your online promotion and advertising efforts. Designing campaigns and online marketing initiatives with measurable goals is the logical place to start.
To ensure that customizing Google Analytics provides measurable benefit, whatever objectives you establish must be actionable goals.
What Are Actionable Goals in Google Analytics?
If you designed and sent out a mailer, you would (of course) include a clear call to action.
A call to action, or CTA, must include actionable language that is easy for your prospects to recognize and understand. On a mailer, this means including simple instructions and no potentially confusing extraneous information.
On your website, landing page, newsletter or other online marketing efforts, your CTA should be equally clear and obvious. When you tell your prospects exactly what actions to take, you increase the odds that your goals will be met.
To track the results of your mailer, you might have to manually note the number of prospects that call or sign up for your offer. For online marketing activities, customizing Google Analytics will automate this goal tracking for you.
All you have to do is tell Google Analytics what to track and how.
Enter Google Analytics Custom Goals
The basic Google Analytics interface provides only two main categories of data: how many views each page has and where those visitors came from. It doesn’t even really track clicks, unless those lead to other pages on your site.
These default features have limited benefit for most businesses today, as online marketing activities have grown progressively more specific and sophisticated. Of course it’s important to know how many views a page receives and the source of those visitors. However, that’s not enough information to determine whether any given campaign is doing what it was designed to do.
Let’s look at a specific example.
If you have a form on your site that allows visitors to sign up for a free ebook, GA’s default settings can only tell you how many visitors saw the page, and how they got there. It can’t show you the more important aspects of how many clicked on the form’s button or – most important – how many visitors completed and submitted the form.
Custom goal tracking settings can tell you that, and more.
Let’s say you set up an optimized landing page as a funnel for the free ebook. At the same time, you ran an ad and a boosted post in Facebook for the same purpose. If all three of these activities attracted about the same number of visitors to the sign-up form, does that mean that all three were equally effective?
No, it really doesn’t. We can only determine which option was more effective if we know which visitors provided their information by actually signing up for the ebook. Customized goal tracking can answer that question with a high degree of certainty, so you never need guess or assume.
If everyone who came from your landing page signed up for the ebook, half the visitors from the ad signed up, but none of the boosted Facebook post visitors did, would you still feel the same about spending more money for all three?
Custom goal tracking can show you specifically which of your marketing initiatives are effective and which ones are not a good investment.
Setting Up Custom Goal Tracking in Google Analytics
Setting up custom goal tracking requires a fairly robust knowledge of the computer code required for accurate tracking. This can be confusing and time-consuming for even the most sophisticated GA user.
At Be Locally SEO, we customize the goal tracking features in Google Analytics for you, based on your specific campaigns and online marketing activities. We have the ability to track detailed statistics that will tell you at a glance which activities are working and which are not.
Some of the metrics we can track include website actions such as sign-ups and purchases, and clickthroughs from landing pages and newsletters. We can even track phone calls initiated on your website, and contact forms that were submitted.
So what does this all mean for you and your business?
By customizing the Google Analytics goal tracking capability, we can offer our clients the ability to see all of your important goals, objectives and conversion measurements at once – whatever they may be – in a single, easy-to-read report.
Be Locally’s sophisticated approach to Google Analytics goal tracking takes all the ROI guesswork out of internet marketing. Our best-practices and integrity-driven SEO and online marketing platforms provide you with a variety of significant benefits that you can see and measure. Contact us today and let us demonstrate the benefits of Google Analytics goal tracking for your business.