In: Ecommerce, Web Design

Goals and Funnels in Google Analytics

Jul 23, 2014

Google Analytics is one of the best software services for businesses and individuals to measure their goals and conversion rates as they relate to website visits, don’t forget it’s free! As we wrote in our previous articles “Google Analytics: Overview” and “How to Setup an Account”, we’ve learned that Google Analytics is a necessity if you are managing or marketing a website. So far, we explained Google Analytics basics and how to create your account. Now, in this 3rd Google Analytics article, we will write about how to set up specific goals and funnels to track down your visitors in a  more detailed manner.

Every website has its own specific goals and therefore what is explained below will apply to most but will certainly need some adjusting to be correct for your unique business. We also know that where you start  may not be where you end. It’s important to understand in analytics and website development that the market will always be changing.


Explaining Goals and Funnels

Let’s start by explaining two significant terms: goals and funnels. “Goals” are the way to track your visitors by setting up specific tasks. For example, if you want to only track visitors that land to your contact page you can set up a goal to see just this information. This type of goal allows one to see how many visitors came to a page and left without clicking contact page, and how many people actually clicked to see the contact page. You can also count the number of times a user went to a page and time that they spent on a page. In this case, one would simply set a specific goal and Google Analytics would track the data.


A “Funnel” is a tool one can set, after goals are set, for conversion optimization through the steps you want your users to go through to reach these goals. Funnels are not mandatory but are extremely beneficial to see how your visitor goes through points (pathways) on the way the goal/destination you set. For example, if you set up a goal for who lands on your contact page, with a funnel you will only track who follows this exact path you set. You can also determine where in the pathway those users drop off to find a possible problem. Just like a physical funnel, there is only one start point and one end point.  If a user enters a funnel from a page that is not step or page 1, they will not be counted in the sales funnel. A funnel conversion rate which is touted as one of the most valuable pieces of analytics. By examining each step of the funnel and analyzing the number of visitors from one step to another you can optimize the largest drop offs and adjust your site to complete your goals.


Set Up Your Goals

Consider what you want to track; time spent on page, sales, newsletter sign up, or page views before launching a goal because once your goal is finalized you can not delete it, you can only edit it. You can turn goals off and on but they will stay there forever which can sometimes be annoying.

To set up a goal, log into your account and choose the profile you want to track if you have more than one. After that, in the right column you will see “ACTIONS.” Under that click “EDIT” and you’ll see “GOALS”. There are 4 sets that each can hold 5 goals allowing you to separate tracking data into categories like check out, home page or articles.


Goal Types

Once you setup your goal you will see the form below. Goal types are the different kinds of styles to track your goal. Let’s briefly explain each of them:

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URL Destination - Most commonly you’ll be using the URL Destination option in Google Analytics, which basically means which page you are tracking users to land on. After you click URL Destination, another form will show up. It will ask you about “Match Type,” which are the options for you to select how Google Analytics will record a successful goal measurement.

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Time On Site - Besides checking the pages your visitors’ land (1st option), now you can choose tracking times to track the exact time that your visitors spent on a specific page. Also, you can set up a greater than or less than condition to check the bounce rates. For example, track all the visitors who stayed less than 10 seconds looking at your home page. That’s what we call a bounce rate, and a lower number is better.

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Page/Visit - This option is all about how many pages a single visitor visited in your website when they landed on your home page. You should set up a greater than or less than option. For example, let’s say 3 pages, which means if a visitor visits more than 3 pages you’ll complete your goal.


Event - This option is only available on the latest version of Google Analytics. The “Event” option is to track only a specific action like who clicked your download button or newsletter sign up button. You can also configure one or more event conditions at one time.



Using funnels for your goals is the “next level” on Google Analytics, because funnels are a bit complicated. Funnels, however, when used correctly are also very beneficial for you to track specific pathways.


First of all, custom funnels only work with the “URL Destination” option explained in our goals section above. There’s no specific pathway to follow on page time, page/visit, or event. Let’s say the goal is to reach the checkout page. If you put a scenario to that goal by using funnels, your visitors should follow those exact steps to complete the goal. For example, a user gets to a custom landing page and you want them to go from here to a product details page, to adding to cart to checkout, and finally placing the order. If a user goes go through this page order then your goal will be completed. With this funnel one can see, specifically, who reached the checkout goal by walking through our designed pathway (funnel). The google analytics view will not only show you this bottom line number but will also show where users are most often falling out of the funnel so your web developers and designers can make changes to try to resolve the fallout.

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In conclusion, it might be pretty complicated to understand and apply goals and funnels to track down your visitors. Our recommendation is to start slowly. Add simple goals to understand how Google Analytics works.


As eCommerce and website marketing specialists, we at ATAK Interactive want our customers to grow and do better. One way we can help is to educate you about tools we respect and use, and Google Analytics software is one of those tools. Google Analytics is free and crucial for the website owners to install and monitor. We are always here to help you to make your website more effective but it’s always good to know how to track your own website. To read more about website design and online marketing please visit our website, www.atakinteractive.com






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