Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Conversion Goals with Google Analytics

Conversions are the completion of any defined goal of your website.  Likely, what first comes to mind when thinking of conversions are goals related to an e-commerce site, such as sales.  However, many other sites have different goals, such as subscriptions to a newsletter, downloads, time on site, or pages viewed.  Google Analytics offers several tools to easily track the success of your site in achieving these goals.

Tracking conversions in Google Analytics requires a user to define specific goals.  Tracking sales and transactions related data requires a user to embed a snippet of code in their site.   Aside from transactions, Google Analytics enables users to track four other categories of goals.  These include URL destination, visit duration, page per visit and events. 

URL Destination
This category enables you to track when a specific page has loaded.  This is a great category to use when tracking a goal such as subscriptions.  A visitor is generally sent to a thank you page after registering for a newsletter and this page’s URL can be used to track subscription conversions.

Visit Duration
This tracks visitors who stay at your site for a specified amount of time or longer.  This can be an important metric for e-commerce sites, but may be a more important indicator for blogs and content related sites to track visitor engagement with their site.

Page per Visit
Visitors view a specified number of pages or more per visit.  Our blog, for example, has a goal that visitors view 2 or more pages per visit.  This is another goal that may provide insight into user engagement with your site.

This category can be used to track event s such as clicking on an ad, or a recommendation on a social media site and requires additional set up to track.

A Note on Conversion Rates
Once you have established your goals you will be able to view the data for analysis under the conversion bar in Google Analytics.  One way in which this data will be presented is in conversion rates.  Conversion rates are generally calculated as goal achievement per visit and Google Analytics uses this basic formula to calculate conversion rates.

This simplistic calculation, however, may lead to distortions.  Avinash Kaushik has suggested that calculating conversion rates in this manner greatly inflates the available opportunity.  Kaushik suggests that there are many visitors who are non-convertible, such as those that bounce and others who have no intention to buy.  Kaushik provides several recommendations on how to arrive at a more accurate picture of the real opportunity by filtering out those visitors who are not convertible.  Check out Kaushik's article for a great analysis as to why you want to look closer at your conversion rates:


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