Getting the most out of Google Analytics – Part I


When it comes to assessing the success of an online marketing campaign, a website or a product, numbers are of utmost importance. Google Analytics has been revolutionary in tracking some of these numbers. Google Analytics has been useful to view page traffic, unique visits etc. But the more important question now that you have access to these numbers is, what do you make of it?

In this ‘Getting the most out of Google Analytics’ series, I hope to help you as a marketer use the numbers you generate to move your business forward. In this first part of the series, we’ll look at Goal Setting & Tracking.

Metrics that Matter

A lot of us think of Google Analytics as a tool to give us numbers, on-page traffic & visitors. Google Analytics actually gives us many more metrics that we need to be looking at:

  • Leads
  • Event registrations
  • Whitepaper / ebook downloads
  • Sign ups, etc.

So with these, how can you measure success? The answer is with ‘Goals’.

Google Analytics allows you to track goals in 4 ways:

  1. Destination
  2. Duration
  3. Pages / Screen per session
  4. Events

Coupled with these goals, you can also create goal funnels that allow you to see just how many people moved through each step of your marketing process and at what stage they dropped out. This important information that could be telling you whether your page needs fixing or your product price is too high or a page is too confusing or not interesting.

Goal funnels should not be used unless you require the user to move through a series of pages. This is because unless it’s mandatory, users rarely follow a clear path on your website and tracking a goal funnel might prove futile.

Google Analytics Goals on the interface: The Set up

Step 1: Go to Google Analytics standard reports
Step 2: Select the website for which you want to create the goal

Step 3: Click on Admin on the bottom LHS

Step 4: Click Goals

Step 5: From Goal sets, hit +New Goal to set up a new goal

Step 6: Name your goal (something that’s clear enough for you to remember what you’re tracking)

Destination Goals

This goal enables you to keep a track of specific URLs. When a user visits that URL, the goal is triggered. These work if you want to check payment confirmations, success pages (ex: /success.php) etc.

This goal is important if you want to measure:

  • Purchases (Ecommerce)
  • Form submissions (Leads)

What you can do with this: This goal is important for you to understand if your users are reaching the aim of the website – is she/he making a purchase? How many are making a purchase in a day/ month. If not, you can even find out where in the funnel she/he’s dropping out.

Duration Goals

This goal allows you to track how long your visitor was on your page. If your website is a blog, you probably expect him/her to stay 30 seconds or longer (or 5 seconds and less if it’s not what he/she wants to read). The duration goal is triggered if your visitor stays longer than the time you set.

This goal is important if you want to measure:

  • The quality of your content (if she/he stays longer, you know she/he likes the content you share)
  • How engaging your content is
  • On the negative side, how long it took her/him to reach her/his desired aim
  • Visits below a specified amount of time

What you can do with this: This is valuable information to know if your website / blog offers users content that makes them stay. This could help you assess how you can improve your website design probably by using attractive images, improve user experience by adding clear navigation or add engaging content so the user takes lesser time to reach his desired aim.

This is also useful for support sites who are trying to help customers answer their questions as fast as possible.

Pages / Screen per session

This goal is triggered when a visitor visits more than one page on your website (depending on how many pages you set as a goal).

This goal is important if you want to measure:

  • Again, content quality
  • Engagement
  • Ease of navigation
  • What pages your customer is viewing

What can you do with this: This information is useful to track your customer’s “footprint” on your website. Once you have this, you can profile your customer and feed content that is tailored or at the minimum, of interest to her/him. An e-commerce site can use this information to display to the user Similar Items or Others Also Viewed content.

Event Goals

Event goals are slightly more complex. You will need to set up the events which you can then select as your goal. You will need to add some JavaScript code to the element you want to track. Analytics will track this when the event has occurred. For more on that, check out the Google Analytics Event Tracking Guide.

When you set up an event, you define it with a category, action, label & value. The event goal will be triggered only if the event matches each of the criteria you’ve defined.This goal is important if you want to measure:

  1. External links
  3. Time spent watching videos
  4. Social media buttons
  5. Widget usage

Do note that you cannot use event goals in a funnel. The steps of the funnel need to be a link (which includes the goal). Therefore, if your steps do not have unique URLs and you still want to build a funnel, you’ll have to use those virtual pages. 

What can you do with this: Like I mentioned above, this goal can enable you to track just about anything – from downloads, to social media clicks to time spent on videos. With access to this data, you can attempt to understand what your customer’s interests are. You can even run remarketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter & other social media to target the right audience.


Google Analytics have proven to be extremely useful for marketers and businesses. However, knowing what to do with these numbers is key. TrackMaven is also a great software that can help you make sense of Analytics. In part II of the Getting the Most out of Google Analytics Series, I hope to cover the power of UTM links in email campaigns and how to use it.


About Amrita

AmritaAmrita is a marketing specialist by profession who loves writing, music and animals.



Amrita is a marketing specialist by profession who loves writing, music and animals.