5 Must-Have Google Analytics Goals


Google Analytics Goals are a must for any business, frankly, no matter your size you must have goals set up. Goals are used to track consumer interactions with specific elements on your site which you can use for optimization of copy, marketing messaging, page content and so much more.

Goals in Google Analytics require additional set up and in this article, I’ll walk you through the 4 different ways you can set up goals in Google Analytics and most importantly, the 5 Goals you must have set up in your own account.

Where to Find Google Analytics Goals

To get started in creating/modifying your GA Goals, you will first need to have Admin access to your Google Analytics account.

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If you have access, the next steps are as follows:

  1. Go to the Admin section in your account

  2. Under the View that you want the Goal to be created on click on ‘Goals’

  3. Click on ‘+ New Goal’

  4. Start creating the goal

My recommendation to you is to create a document that outlines all the information you will input to make it easier and faster when creating your goals in GA.

You should also ensure that the name you give your goal is easily understood and you and anyone else looking at the data knows what is being tracked.

The Four Different Goal Types Available

You have a choice as to the type of goal to create.

They are:

  1. Destination URL - You would use this when you want to track views of a specific page or screen. A great example is the confirmation page after someone has made a purchased.

  2. Duration - this one is pretty straightforward. You can set up a goal that tracks how much time people spend on your site. Perhaps for your business, you know that it takes an average of 5 minutes for people to get the most value out of your content. You can set up a goal that tracks those who spent 5 or more minutes on your site.

  3. Pages/Screens per Session - For this goal, GA would track how many pages a visitor viewed during their visit.

  4. Events - This would be used when you want to track specific interactions on your site. Things like those who viewed a video or download a PDF. You would first need to set up Events in your Google Analytics account, which would require additional JavaScript code or the help of Google Tag Manager.

To get more in-depth detail on how to set up goals in Google Analytics, I highly recommend you take a look at their documentation here and some examples of how to set up specific goals here.

Now on to the 5 Goals you should have set up

The number of goals you set up for your business will be unique to you, Google Analytics gives you a max of 20 goals per View, but if you need to have more, you can easily duplicate your view and create additional goals.

If you are just getting started with Google Analytics and need some ideas of what you should be tracking as a goal, I’m going to give you the 5 you should implement as soon as possible. Remember, like everything in Google Analytics, you can’t retroactively get information, which means the longer you wait the longer it will take for you to start collecting data.

OK, let’s do this!

1.Account Creations

Do visitors need to create an account on your site? If so, you need to be tracking the completion of this. I would recommend that you use the Goal Funnel feature available to you when setting up this goal and specify all the steps the user has to go through to successfully create an account.

Understanding the movement from step to step will highlight any issues the user may be experiencing that could be resulting in fewer sign-ups.

I also recommend that your account creation process be tracked using pageviews and every step be a unique page URL. This is what will allow you to create Goal Funnels. If this is not possible, at a minimum you should be tracking the start and completion pages.

2. Form Completions

Whether it’s your contact form, your request a Demo form or any other form that you have on your site that is important for your business, you need to be tracking this as a goal. Each form would be a unique goal and you can also create a goal that tracks all form completions.

3. Order Confirmation

I would say this is the most important goal for any business that sells directly online. Tracking how many of your visitors get an order confirmation page is a must. For this, it’s important that you have a ‘Thank-You’ page after someone has made a purchase.

4. Shopping Cart Funnel

In line with the Order Confirmation goal, I recommend that you create a Funnel Goal of the various Shopping cart pages. Track the consumer's journey from when they Add to Cart, Enter Details, Shipping, Payment, Checkout and Complete of purchase. This way you will have visibility into how they are progressing through your checkout process and whether they are encountering any issues.

I can tell you from when I had an online retail business, having this goal saved me big time. It noticed that consumers were dropping out when they were on the shipping page. It turned out that there was a bug on the page that was double charging shipping and so understandably customers were dropping their shopping cart.

I can tell you that bugs happen all the time, even when you do extensive testing. This is why it’s so important to ensure your tracking is set up to act as your alarm bell.

5. Engagement with Elements on your site

If you have videos on your site, and/or documents visitors can download, you will want to track these as goals. You can determine whether you want to track each video as a separate goal or track when visitors view any video as a goal.

The method you use will always depend on the information you need to make business decisions. The same is true when looking at creating goals for downloads. Think about how you will use the information that Google Analytics will give you.

These are my top 5 must have Goals in Google Analytics. Start here and once you are using them, you will see if you need to add and/or modify your goals.

For most of them, you can easily implement them with the information you get from the default GA implementation. Some of them, like the Engagement with Elements goals (i.e. downloads or video views) you may need to set up Events in Google Analytics. For this, you will need to either add some JavaScript or use Google Tag Manager.

If you’re not sure and would like some help, you can reach out and book a FREE 30 minute discovery call with me and I can take a look and give you recommendations. To reserve your spot visit the contact me section.

One more thing!

Like all the information that Google Analytics provides, you will get the most value out of your data when you look at both trends and segments. Understanding how things have performed over time or in comparison with other periods is where the insight will come from.

The key to all this is to formulate business questions that you need answered to help you eliminate the guesswork out of your business decisions, specifically when it comes to the performance of your site, your marketing, and lead generation initiatives.

Time to get your goals all set up!

Leave a comment and let me know if you have set up some goals in your account and if so, which one(s).

As always, happy analyzing!


Hi, I’m Karla

I’m here to help small business understand and use their website data to take the guess work out of growing their business.

I’ll love to help you start using your valuable website data to help you grow your business, book a FREE 30 minute discovery call with me and let’s get started.