What are Goals and Goal Sets in Google Analytics

Goals

Goals are the end action/activity that you want from your users. They are a measure of success of your site or marketing campaign. Example: Registration, Whitepaper Download, Time on Site more than 10 mins. Currently Google Analytics allows you to create Goals based on Page URL, Time on Site, Page Views/Visit and Event. (I will cover creating goals in another post)

Goal Sets

Goal sets are a way for you to group related goals. For example if you want “Whitepaper download” as one of your goals and there are 3 whitepapers that you currently have with three different pages. You can then use all three of these different pages as 3 goals within the same Goal Set. There is no validation to stop you from using totally unrelated goals in one goal set e.g. member registration goal and whitepaper download goal but you should not do that unless you don’t have any more room to add goals.
Each goal set can have up to 5 goals and there are 4 Goal Sets available per profile.


Goal Sets in Reports

You will see you Goal Sets as Goal Set 1, Goal Set2 and so in your reports. (see below)


When you click on any of the Goal Set in any of the reports that have Goals (e.g. traffic sources report) you will see all the goals in that Goal Set in your report (see below)

How are the Google Analytics Reports Organized

Google Analytics reports are organized into 3 tabs

  1. Home Tab – This tab contains “Real Time Reporting”, Intelligence Events and Dashboards
  2. Standard Reporting – This tab contains most of the report that you will use on regular basis
  3. Custom Reporting – This tab has an option to create custom reports and will also list all the custom reports that have been created in that profile.

When you first log into Google Analytics, you will be taken to a screen with a list of all your accounts and properties.

Click on a property to see a list of all the Profiles underneath in.

 

 

(If you are not familiar with Account, Properties and Profiles then see How Google Analytics Account are Structured)

Click on the profile that you want to see the reports for and it will take you into a section of Google Reports called “Standard Reporting”.  These are the reports that will use most of the time.

I will describe these sections in details in upcoming posts.

How to Give Access To Others To Your Google Analytics Reports

Before you give access to anybody you need to decide the level of control you want the new user to have and what profiles you want to give access to

User Role:

There are two levels of access

  1. User
  2. Administrator

User access level only allows the new user to see the reports only in the profiles that the user is given access to.

Administrator Access allows the user to see reports for all the profiles in an account and also allows them to perform Administrative functions such as add new users, create filters, create new profiles etc. (These administrative tasks will be covered later)

To start adding a user, go to the “Settings” section of Account, Property or a Profile and clicking on the ”Users” tab.

 

When you click on “New User” shown above, you will be taken to the screen below.  This is where you can provide access.

Note: The email address that you are adding as a user should have a Google Account. If the user does not have an account then he/she will be asked to create one using the same email address.

 

In the above form

  1. Add the email address of the person
  2. Assign a role
  3. Select the profile from “Available Profiles” section on the left hand side
  4. Click on “Add” button in the middle
  5. The profile will be added to to the right hand side box and will be removed from the left hand box
  6. Click on Create User and you are done

 

 

See Also: How Are Google Analytics Accounts Structured

Regular Expressions and Google Analytics

What is Regular Expression

According to Wikipedia a regular expression provides a concise and flexible means for “matching” (specifying and recognizing) strings of text, such as particular characters, words, or patterns of characters. Abbreviations for “regular expression” include “regex” and “regexp”.

Where Are Regular Expressions Used

Google Analytics allows the use of regular expressions in profile filters to allow complex implementation search reports using regular expressions (see example: How to Exclude Internal Traffic from Google Analytics, create custom reports with regular expression filters and create advanced segments with regular expression.

 

Create Profile Filters

Search Reports

Create Custom Reports

Create Advanced Segments

Learning About Regular Expression

There are several resources available on the web.  Lunametrics has also written a quick guide on Regular Expression for Google Analytics.

We are also working on a guide and if you have any examples of how you have used regular expression with Google Analytics then please send those to us.

How Are Google Analytics Accounts Structured

Google Analytics account are structured in three layers

  1. Account – Account is the top level classification. Each company should ideally have one account. If you are implementing Google Analytics for your client then create a separate account for them. You have to start with an account before implementing Google Analytics.
  2. Properties – Properties are underneath an account.  Property is generally tied to a site or an application e.g. mobile app, however you can decide how you want to organize your sites. Each property gets a unique Google Analytics tracking code. If you have multiple sites then you might arrange them in separate properties under same account. Having them in separate properties will give you a separate tracking code for each of them.
  3. Profiles – Profiles are individual set of Google Analytics reports that you create for a property. You can have multiple profiles under the same property. You would want to do that if you want to apply some kind of filter to create a different view of your data e.g. a profile for internal traffic only, a profile for external traffic only and a profile for all traffic.

User Access

User can be assigned to Account, Property or only a Profile. You can do so by going to the “Settings” section of Account, Property or a Profile and clicking on the ”Users” tab.

How to Connect Google Analytics to Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster tool provides information on the keywords that your site appeared for on Google, the number of impressions of those keywords,  your sites ranking for those keywords, the  number of clicks to your site for each keyword and the pages that the visitors landed on. It really important for Search Engine Optimization purposes to know how your site is appearing in Google search engine.

Once you connect your Google Analytics account with a site listed in Google Webmaster tool you will be able to see Google Webmaster reports in Google Analytics in Traffic Source –> Search Engine Optimization report (see below)

How to Connect Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools

  1. Go to http://www.google.com/webmastertools and setup an account for your site. You will be asked to verify that you are the owner of the site
  2. Once you have verified the ownership you are ready to link your site to Google Analytics
  3. To link the two accounts go to the “Property Settings” tab of your Google Analytics profile. There is a “Wheel” icon on the right hand side on Google Analytics (see below). Click on that icon to go to “Property Settings” section of your profile. (see below)
  4. Click on the “Edit” link in the “Webmaster Tools Settings” section (see below)

  5. It will open a page that will allow you to select your site. Select the profile and you will be back in Google Analytics.
  6. If you have multiple profiles using the same tracking code then you will have an option to apply the site to all those profiles or you can just choose the ones that you want. That option will be available in the dropdown next to “Enabled Profiles” text.
  7. Hit the “Apply” button and you should start to see your data in the “Search Engine Optimization” report.

How to Track Downloads in Google Analytics

Downloads such as PDF, piece of code etc. can be tracked as Events in Google Analytics.

Event tracking requires

  1. Calling trackEvent function
  2. trackEvent function can take up to 5 parameters, of those 2 are required

What are those parameters for trackEvent function

  1. category (required) The name you supply for the group of objects you want to track. It can be anything but be consistent with whatever you decide to use.

I suggest using “Outbound Links”  for outbound link tracking

  1. action (required) A name for the type of user interaction for that event.  But again you can use anything you like e.g. “Click”,“Partner Link Click” or whatever makes sense for your business.

I suggest that if you have different categories of link then use the category name that defines those links.

  1. label (optional) A string to provide additional description for that event.

I suggest using the actual name of the links e.g. gapremium.com, google.com etc.

  1. value (optional) An integer that you can use to provide numerical data about the user event.

You can leave this value in case of outbound links or use 1 unless you want to give more weights to certain links.

  1. non-interaction (optional) Boolean value, set as true or false

true= not a valid interaction, count it as a bounce

false = considered a valid interaction (default)

If you DO NOT set this value then an outbound click will be considered as a valid interaction thus WON’T BE COUNTED in BOUNCE RATE.

Suggestion: Since you really do want people to click on outbound links, set this value to true e.g. it is a valid hit and not a bounce.

How to call it?

_gaq.push([_trackEvent(category, action, label, value, noninteraction));

Example:

_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', ‘Download', 'eBook', 'How to Use Google Analytics', 1, true]);

So your code will like

<a href=”howto.pdf” onClick=”_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', ‘Download', 'eBook', 'How to Use Google Analytics', 1, true]);”>Download How to Use Google Analytics eBook</a>

Also see:

How to Track Outbuond Links in Google Analytics
How to Track a Non-Pageview Events in Google Analytics

How to Track a Non-Pageview Events in Google Analytics

Any user or non-user action on the site can be tracked as Events in Google Analytics. Generally you use event tracking for flash interaction, downloads, AJAX events, video views, outbound links etc.

Event tracking requires

  1. Calling trackEvent function
  2. trackEvent function can take up to 5 parameters, of those 2 are required

What are those parameters for trackEvent function

  1. category (required) The name you supply for the group of objects you want to track. It can be anything but be consistent with whatever you decide to use.

I suggest using “Outbound Links”  for outbound link tracking

  1. action (required) A name for the type of user interaction for that event.  But again you can use anything you like e.g. “Click”,“Partner Link Click” or whatever makes sense for your business.

I suggest that if you have different categories of link then use the category name that defines those links.

  1. label (optional) A string to provide additional description for that event.

I suggest using the actual name of the links e.g. gapremium.com, google.com etc.

  1. value (optional) An integer that you can use to provide numerical data about the user event.

You can leave this value in case of outbound links or use 1 unless you want to give more weights to certain links.

  1. non-interaction (optional) Boolean value, set as true or false

true= not a valid interaction, count it as a bounce

false = considered a valid interaction (default)

If you DO NOT set this value then an outbound click will be considered as a valid interaction thus WON’T BE COUNTED in BOUNCE RATE.

Suggestion: Since you really do want people to click on outbound links, set this value to true e.g. it is a valid hit and not a bounce.

How to call it?

_gaq.push([_trackEvent(category, action, label, value, noninteraction));

Example:

_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', ‘Video View', 'Start', 'How to Use Google Analytics', 1, true]);

You will call this above function from onClick event of the video play

Also see: Tracking Outbuond Links – http://www.gapremium.com/2012/01/how-to-track-outbound-links-in-google-analytics/

How to Quickly Create Custom Reports and Learn About Them

Several reports in Google Analytics now have a quick link to create custom view of those reports.  (See “Customize” option in the image below).  

When you click on “Customize” option you will be taken to “Custom Reporting” tab with the current report shown in an editable format. See the two images below, I have marked two sections in the reports that you see and then same sections are marked in the customizable format.  When you compare these two views, you will get an idea on how to construct your custom reports.

Report View

 

Custom Reporting View

In the “Custom Reporting” view you can also add remove Metrics and Dimensions, rename the tabs and add filter and save the report as a custom report.

How to Remove Duplicate Home Pages in Google Analytics

In your Google Analytics Site Content à Pages reports you might have noticed that sometimes the home page or the main page of a subdirectory is shown in two separate lines (see below).


The reason for it is that Google Analytics takes the URL as it shows in the browser and if they don’t match it considers them as two different URLs.

Example:

If a visitor directly comes to this site the user will see http://www.yoursite.com but if the visitor clicks on a page that take the visitor back to the home page but this time appends the URI for the home page i.e. index.htm then visitor will see http://www.yoursite.com/index.htm

So in Google Analytics Site Content àPages Reports you will see 2 rows

  1. /
  2. index.htm

How To Fix the Problem?

For Google Analytics to consider both the URLs are the same page, you have to configure Google Analytics to always append index.htm (or whatever your home page is e.g. default.asp etc.) as the default page .

  1. Go to your “Profile Settings” page of your Google Analytics Profile – Check How To Delete a Google Analytics Profile post to learn how to go to “Profile Settings” section.
  2. There you will find a section called “Default page”. Enter the name of your home page there e.g. index.htm in this case
  3. Hit the “Apply” button at the bottom of this Profile Settings page and you are done. This will fix your problem.

Also see How to Rename URLs in Google Analytics