How to Set Up Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics

If you want to get any kind of useful data out of Google Analytics, you need to set up goal tracking. Once you're tracking goals such as opt-ins and purchases in analytics, you can start finding out where your most valuable traffic is coming from, where you're losing valuable traffic and much more.

Read on for a step-by-step tutorial on how to create and track conversion goals in Google Analytics.​

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Simple Conversion Tracking (Lead Generation)

First, we'll look at the easiest way to start tracking goals. We'll use lead generation as an example, so our goal is to get a view in Analytics that tells us how many people are opting in to our mailing list:

  1. In Analytics, click on the "Admin" tab in the top menu.
  2. In your website's "View" column, click on "Goals".
  3. Click on the "New Goal" button.

You'll see these options next:

  1. Enter a name for your new goal. Create a descriptive goal so that you'll understand it when looking at reports later.
  2. Select "Destination" as the goal type.

Now, we're ready to move on to the next step:

  1. Enter the URL of the page a new lead lands on. Only enter the part that follows your domain name (more details below).
  2. For this setup, we don't need the value or funnel options, so you can leave these set to "off".
  3. Click on the verify link to test the goal you've set up. Note that this only works if you're setting up a goal that has had at least one conversion in the last 7 days.

About the "Destination" Field

In this field, you should enter the part of the URL of your success page (but only the part after your domain name). In most cases, there will be an option in your autoresponder service for a "thank you page URL" or something similar. This determines where new leads are sent after signing up and it's the page you should enter here.

There are 3 options in the destination field's drop down: "equals to", "begins with" and "regular expression". In most cases "begins with" is the best option to choose. This means that the goal will still track when there are parameters added to the success page URL.

You can also use the "begins with" option to track the total number of new leads that are signing up through different forms and seeing different confirmation pages. For example, if you have three confirmation pages:

  • ​http://yoursite.com/email-confirmation-freebie-1/
  • http://yoursite.com/email-confirmation-mini-course/
  • http://yoursite.com/email-confirmation-newsletter/

You can use the "begins with" option and enter:

/email-confirmation

This will track all of the leads coming to each of the three success pages as one single goal.

Finally, click on the "Create Goal" button to start tracking conversions. Note that Google doesn't track retroactively, so it will only start counting conversions from the moment you've created the goal.

Tracking Revenue (Product Purchases)

The basic form of goal tracking we've set up above is a good start, but you can get even more value about not just knowing the number of conversions you're getting, but also knowing how much those conversions are actually worth.

Getting more conversions isn't always better. If you can get fewer conversions but more revenue (e.g. fewer orders but a higher value per order) that's good for your business.​

Unfortunately, tracking revenue in Google Analytics is a bit more complicated and often requires custom coding. Here are your options:

The Non-Techie Way to Track Revenue

I've created a guide that you can use to track conversions without needing custom code. There's one caveat: this method only works for sites that have a limited number of possible purchase prices.

If you sell just one product at one price, this method is perfect. If you sell 3-5 products or different offers at a maximum of 5 different price points, this will still work swimmingly for you. If you have more than 5 price points, this method will not be worth using, however.​

Plugins & Automatic Integrations

Depending on what tools you use to process payments and product delivery, there are some options that take the pain out of setting up revenue tracking. Here's a non-exhaustive list of your options:

The DIY Approach

You can read Google's own guide to setting up Ecommerce tracking for your site here.​

To get started, go back to the "Admin" tab in Analytics, click on "Ecommerce Settings" in the view of your website and set the option to "On":

What it comes down to is that upon a completed purchase, you need to load this code on your page:​

ga('ecommerce:addTransaction', {
'id': '1234',                     // Transaction ID. Required.
'affiliation': 'Acme Clothing',   // Affiliation or store name.
'revenue': '11.99',               // Grand Total.
'shipping': '5',                  // Shipping.
'tax': '1.29'                     // Tax.
});

The values for product ID, name, transaction value etc. need to be dynamically filled, depending on the purchase that your visitor just completed. This is where either some custom coding or an integration with your payment processing system or shopping cart software comes in.

Conclusion

Time spent setting up good goal tracking in your analytics tools is a good investment. Look for some of our future posts where we'll give you specific examples of how you can use this newly acquired data to improve your business.

With this guide, you will be able to set up some basic conversion tracking in just a few minutes and you're now also better equipped to tackle the more difficult issue of revenue tracking.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment!​

Shane

P.S.: If you'd like a downloadable (PDF) reference guide with the content of this post, you can unlock it here:

Author: Shane Melaugh

Shane Melaugh is a co-founder and the CEO of Thrive Themes. When he isn’t plotting new ways to create awesome WordPress themes & plugins, he likes to geek out about camera equipment and medieval swords. He also writes about startups and marketing here.

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