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Google Analytics is a powerful tool for gathering data about how people interact with your website or mobile apps. Setting up goals in Google Analytics is a simple process that can make it easier to track and measure your progress over time.

What Are Goals in Google Analytics?

In Google Analytics, goals are metrics for success that track certain user behaviors when they use your website. You can identify certain actions that you want to count as conversions for your business, such as signing up for an email list, watching an embedded video, or completing the checkout process in your online store. Google Analytics tracks what actions lead to the completion of a goal, how often users accomplish goals, and the value of each conversion.

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What Are the Types of Goals in Google Analytics?

Google Analytics tracks several types of user behaviors that you can use to measure goals:


Destination goals measure conversions when website users visit a particular URL on your website. You can track a single destination, such as a homepage, or you can identify a certain path that users can take to reach the page, known as a funnel.

For example, you could set up a goal that counts as a conversion anytime someone visits the confirmation page that your site redirects to anytime someone makes a purchase. Or, if you want to see how many people find your shop through a blog page, you can set up a funnel that only tracks visits when the user goes from the blog, then visits the shop, then lands on the confirmation page.


Duration goals track progress whenever a user spends a specific amount of time on your website. Use duration goals to estimate how engaged your users are with your content. You can set a minimum time frame in seconds, minutes, or hours, and Google Analytics will count a conversion anytime someone’s session on your website reaches that length.

Pages per Session

Pages per session goals indicate how many pages a visitor viewed while browsing your website. You set a minimum number of pages that a user needs to visit in order for Google Analytics to count their visit as a conversion.


Event goals are any actions that you identify in your website’s code as a conversion. To use events, you first need to add code to your website that tells Google Analytics what user actions to track. Examples of events are:

  • Downloading a file
  • Watching a video
  • Clicking on a button
  • Using an embedded widget

Smart Goals

Smart Goals is a Google Analytics feature that automatically creates and tracks goals for you. It automatically interprets previous user visits to come up with conversion criteria for you. Smart Goals integrates with Google Ads and only works if you have 500 data points resulting from your ads within the previous 30 days.

Once you configure your goals, Google Analytics will start tracking, measuring, and analyzing these types of activities.


How Do You Set up a Goal in Google Analytics?

Follow these steps to start measuring your website’s conversions using Google Analytics:

1. Sign Up for Google Analytics

If you haven’t already, create a Google Analytics account to track your website or app. You can use an existing Google account to log in, then enter your website’s information. You will have to enter some code into your website to allow Google Analytics to track your data, which you can do manually or by integrating Google Tag Tracker.

2. Click on the Admin Tab

At the bottom of your screen, find the “Admin” icon, which is a small gear. Click this icon to navigate to the settings page where you can see the different accounts and data streams that you’re collecting information from.

3. Navigate to the View Column

Once you’re on the admin page, you’ll see three tabs: account, property, and view. You set up views when you first establish a Google Analytics account, with options for website view, app view, or both. Select whichever one you want to measure with your new goal.

4. Click the Goals Button

Under the view column, click on “Goals.” This brings you to a page with a series of drop-down menus and forms that will be the basis for setting up your new goal. This is also where you go to edit and update existing goals.

5. Add a New Goal

The next page allows you to create, edit, or delete goals. Click “Add a New Goal,” then either select from an existing goal template or create your own custom goal, following the prompts to fill out details about what goal you want to measure.

6. Verify Your Goal

Test that your goals are working by clicking “Verify This Goal.” This calculates a conversion rate for this goal based on previous account data and ensures Google Analytics is properly tracking website data.

7. Set a Goal Value

Google Analytics has a feature where you can assign a price tag to each of your conversions, allowing you to measure the total value that different user behaviors bring to your site. This step is entirely optional and applies best to goals related to purchases.

Best Practices for Setting Up a Goal in Google Analytics

To get the most out of setting goals in Google Analytics, keep these best practices in mind when creating a new goal:

  • Be mindful of your KPIs – You can only have 20 goals in Google Analytics at a time, so stay focused on your key performance indicators by only setting goals that are relevant to your growth strategy.
  • Label everything – Naming your goals is optional in Google Analytics, but adding labels makes it easier for you and your team to interpret and share data.
  • Update your goals regularly – Make sure that your data tracking remains relevant by updating goals as your business changes and turning off tracking for goals that are no longer applicable.

Configuring Google Analytics goals can help you start gathering meaningful data and gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your website or app. Once you have this baseline of quality, targeted data, you can start building a strategy for increasing conversions.

Knowledge Base: Intro to Marketing

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