Jonathan Saipe

Missing Google Analytics Goals

23 December 2007, Jonathan Saipe

There is no doubt that web analytics in general has become a key tool in commercial decision-making as online marketers and web analysts become more adept at extracting important and actionable website and user data.

In the web analytics market, Google Analytics, launched in 2005, clearly has a strong market share (24% in the Netherlands, The Mirabeau Monitor 2008).

Within Google Analytics (and many other web analytics tools), one of the most important areas for measurement is goals and related metrics such as goal conversions, goal conversion rates, reverse goal path and form abandonment. Most web analytics tools will also produce a funnel visualisation based on goal conversion.

No goal tracking
The reason we write this article is because we are astonished by how many businesses that are using Google Analytics have either not set up goal tracking at all, or have set it up incorrectly; sadly the former seems to be more common.

Not only will this prevent measurement of the above metrics, but conversions will not be measurable against referrer types, non-paid (organic search) keywords, paid (PPC) keywords and other important metrics that can have a significant effect on SEM success.

Google Analytics can also use an assigned goal value to calculate ROI or an average score, something which site owners will miss out on unless goals have been set up.

Lack of skills or complacency?
In their web analytics buyer’s guide 2007, E-consultancy highlights the importance of employee skills when using web analytics, and the failings of businesses to set up Google Analytics goals is a good example of this.
Our opinion is that many site owners are still of the mindset that real-time web analytics is a rebadged log file analysis tool similar to original products such as AWStats or Webalizer where basic measures such as most popular pages or “hits” were reported on.

Alternatively, one could argue that because Google Analytics is free and fairly simple to install, site owners do not go to much effort to configure it once it is up and running. If a cost was attached to it, it might encourage site owners to seek out the real benefits and make configuration tweaks accordingly.

Of course there’s always the argument that site owners simply aren’t aware of goals and their importance!
As a final point, we would like to announce that in the near future Emarketeers will be offering a web analytics training course, so watch this space.

Please tell us of your experience in relation to Google Analytics and goal setup.


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