Simple Tips for Google Analytics: Template & Custom Goals

4 Minute Read.

In our last Google Analytics post we covered some of the key areas you can look at to help understand the data your website is providing to you. This week you will learn how to create Template or Custom Goals to track even more specific actions or activities on your website.

Why do we need Goals?

On a psychological level goals are rewards we give ourselves when certain criteria are met. They help us focus our efforts onto one particular action that we can easily measure and compare against previous time periods or results.

Benjamin Mays said, “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”

With that in mind today my goal is to help you create your first Goal in Google Analytics.

There are 4 major steps for webmasters to follow when creating their first Goal in Google Analytics. They are:

  • Creating a Goal
  • Goal Setup
  • Goal Configuration
  • Recording Status

Step 1: Creating A Goal

Firstly, sign into your Google Analytics account. If you’re not sure how to do this, or don’t have a Google Analytics setup for your website yet, you should read Get Started with Analytics from Google.

Select your property and navigate to the Admin tab in the top menu. Under the section labelled “VIEW” click on the flag icon with the name “Goals.”

If you have any custom goals set up already you will be able to see them here, edit them, and turn them on and off.

Click the “+ New Goal” button

Step 2: Goal Setup

There are 2 main paths you can go down when setting up your goal, and you have to choose one. They are:

Template & Custom

Template Goals are predefined goals that can measure many standard areas that webmasters may be trying to track. There are 4 subcategories to the Template section for you to choose from:

  • Revenue – Measures your sales funnel and allows you to assign values, create steps, and understand where people are getting lost, or leaving.
  • Acquisition – User Account creation, or Sign-ups.
  • Inquiry – Visitors to your website contact you through a form, click to call, chat, email, view locations, current promotions, or reviews. Better Understand their behavior.
  • Engagement – Tracks Social Sharing, Newsletter Sign-ups, or how long they view a gallery or video.

Custom Goals are used to measure more specific areas that aren’t as commonly used as the template goals listed above. They can include:

  • Destinations – Visiting a specific page or URL.
  • Duration – Measuring time spent on a particular action.
  • Pages/Screens per Session – Amount of pages a user visits before leaving.
  • Events – Playing a video, clicking a button, and more.

Step 3: Goal Description

Once you selected the type of Goal you are going to use you will be asked to provide a description of the goal.

For Template Goals you will be asked to input the destination URL where the goal will be tracked, assign a value to the goal, and optionally add a path tag to reference your sales funnel.

You also have the option to “Verify this Goal” which will provide you with an estimate of how many goal completions would have occurred in the past 7 days.

For Custom Goals you will be asked to give your goal a unique name, select which goal slot you would like it to occupy, and finally select the type of action or data you are going to track. You can see the choices as mentioned in the Custom Goal Setup section of this post in Step 2.

If you’re planning on setting up Events there is a little bit more to do. You will need to add Event Conditions and Event Tracking Code to your website. Google has a great Events Support section on how to implement all of the steps you’ll need to take.

Once you’ve set the parameters for your goal hit “Save.”

Step 4: Recording & Editing

Your new goal will automatically start recording. You can tell this goal to stop recording by hitting the sliding switch on the right side of the table, or edit the goal by clicking its name. You’ll be able to go in and change any of the parameters you set when originally creating the goal.

Keep in mind you cannot delete a goal. Once data for that goal is recorded it will be there forever, you can change the name and what it tracks, but previous data will still show in your history. This can be confusing, so try to make sure you have a good idea of what your goal is before setting out to make it.

You’ve Achieved Your Goal!

You have 20 goals you can use to track all sorts of wonderful information on your website and you should definitely utilize this feature to better understand how users are interacting with your content, and set some goals for you to work towards and achieve in the future.

Thanks for reading!

story written by Sam Jeanes