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In Google Analytics Essential Training, Corey Koberg shows how to use the Google web analytics platform to generate and evaluate information about the visitors to a web site, including data on site traffic, user behavior, and marketing effectiveness. This course covers the out-of-the-box functionality, from account creation to reporting fundamentals, and explains how to glean insights from the vast array of data available.
A food friend of mine, Avinash Kaushik, has the interesting role of being the Analytics Evangelist for Google, and he said that not using goals is a crime against humanity. Now it's possible he's overstating the case just a bit, but I think his point is fairly clear. If you don't have any goals, then what you have is a really, really fancy hit counter, and that's kind of like driving a Ferrari from your driveway to the driveway next door; it does work, but it misses the point entirely. Now, when it comes to defining goals, only you know what the goals for your site are.
We talked in the introduction about choosing goals is an answer to the question of why do you have a web site. And we even gave several suggestions and examples for food for thought. We can find the dedicated goal reports here in their own section there in the Conversions > Goals > Overview. We can configure up to 20 goals per profile, and if you still need more, you just use more profiles. And what you see here in the rest of the reports will depend on your site and how you configure your goals. Now remember, Google Analytics is just a tool. Like any other tool, it has to be configured to get the most out of it. Just like we can figure a drill with a proper sized bit to tell what size of a hole we need, we need to configure goals in Analytics to tell what we need measured, and what we consider to be a success.
One important configuration is that we can actually assign a monetary value to a goal. This allows us to get revenue without having a full-blown e-commerce shopping- card type solution on our site. And the idea here is that if you know a particular goal is estimated to be worth a certain amount to you, and each time a visitor reaches that goal, it will attribute that revenue to the visitor and all the segments associated with it. So perhaps you know that based on historical sales data that your sales team closes out one out of every ten leads they get for 10% close rate, and the average sale is $1000.
So divide a $1000 by 10, and we get an average lead or goal value of $100. So we can go in and tell Google Analytics just that. Once we do, Google will have actual numbers with which to evaluate our keywords, our landing pages, our sources, mediums, and everything else that we want to analyze. Now remember, the bottom line is we're just trying to understand which segments are outperforming or underperforming, so don't stress about having a goal value extremely precise down to the penny. Even if you don't get an extremely anchored value, it's much better to have it than not, even if it's not as precise as perhaps an e-commerce cards reporting would be.
It's way better than nothing and provide a basis on which to compare one visitor versus the others. We also have a few more reports to help us understand conversions on our site. First up here, go back to Standard Reporting, come down here, is the Goal URLs report, which gives us information about the number of goal completions and the total value of those completions broken down by the page our visitor is on when they completed the goal. For this report, we can come up here to the top in the drop down to select which goal we'd like to see. We can see all goals, or we can inspect each goal individually.
This feature to select a goal or view data for all the goals is found throughout the Goal reports. Now the Reverse Goal Path report shows us a unique navigation path that was used to complete the goal. This is an interesting report because it compares our predicted path that we might set up in, say, a funnel with what the user actually did. It starts with the goal and works backwards to see which were the most common paths. But to be honest, I almost never look at the majority of these reports here in the Goal section during my daily analysis, because if I'm looking at goals and conversion rates, it's usually to evaluate the performance of other metrics in other reports.
I want to find those pockets of profitability. I want to find that one keyword that just kills it and converts customers like crazy. I want to find that one landing page that gets tons of traffic but has never converted a soul. These reports here don't give me quite as much actionable info, so let's look up at some reports so we can actually get that info. We're going to go up to the Traffic Sources report, and if you select one of your Goal tabs up here, what you're going to see are metrics based upon those goals. In our case, I've defined four goals, Completing Order, View Software Downloads, Contact Us, and one just for testing.
I can see how the different sources of traffic are performing, not just in terms of visits, but I can evaluate the quality of that traffic based on my individual goals and if I've assigned a goal value, I can even get things like per-visit goal value. You see the same feature in nearly every report in Google Analytics. Defining what these goals are for your business is the first step in moving beyond counting hits and into customizing Google Analytics to tell us what we need to know about the quality of visits on our site.
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