Setting Up Goals in Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

Set Up a Destination Goal

If you want to start improving the business performance of your website, you have to have a goal, sometimes called a conversion event. If your goal is a destination (e.g., a “thank you” or confirmation page), Google Analytics makes it easy. Just click on the Admin tab along the top, scroll over to View, and select Goals. Select Create New Goal, give your goal a name (e.g., Purchase), select destination, and then enter the part of the url following your domain name (e.g., if your page is http://www.mysite.com/success, just enter /success).

To make sure everything is set up properly, you can click the Verify link. If you get this message:

This Goal would have a 0% conversion rate based on your data from the past 7 days. Try a different set up.

You may have misconfigured your goal, the goal may not have been reached yet (e.g., nobody has visited that page), or the data may be working its way through the interenets (I have 12 hours between when I started firing an event to when the first completion was recorded).

Set Up an Event Goal using Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics

Occasionally, you may want to fire a goal on an event, such as a button click or a form submission that posts outside of the host domain (hello Paypal). This is a bit trickier. The best way to do it is to use a combination of Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics.

Create the Trigger

In Google Tag Manager, you first need to create a trigger for the event that you want to capture.

Triggers > New > Click > Just Links.

This is where I play a little dangerous. I do encourage waiting for tags for up to 2 seconds (2000 in the milliseconds box). This means that you give Google up to 2 seconds to record the click before following the link…a bit of delay for the user, but you will not be swallowing (as many) clicks by fast transitions. You will want to validate that the form submission works, because you may interfere with validations or other scripts that were built without expecting a delay.

The rest of the selections are basic, so we can now jump to the 2nd part of the process…

Create the Tag

Still in Google Tag Manager, create a New tag.

Tags > New > Google Analytics > Universal Analytics > Add your Google Analytics Tracking ID > Track Type = Event > Action = “BuyLinkClick” (or whatever) > Fire on Click > Select the Trigger you just created. Phew!

Now you are pushing the events to your GA account. If you head over to Google Analytics > Real-Time > Events, you should be able to see it as you click these links.

Create the Goal

Back in Google Analytics, go to Admin, scroll over to View, and click Goals. New Goal > Event > Action = “BuyLinkClick”. Odds are, if you click on Verify, you will get this message:

This Goal would have a 0% conversion rate based on your data from the past 7 days. Try a different set up.

You may have misconfigured your goal, the goal may not have been reached yet (e.g., nobody has visited that page), or the data may be working its way through the interenets (I have 12 hours between when I started firing an event to when the first completion was recorded).

Come back tomorrow to see if this goal is being tracked properly.

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