November 26, 2013

Google Analytics Conversion Goals

As digital marketers, we have the sometimes terrifying task of growing overall business for our clients, bosses, etc. We can’t effectively measure or sustain continued growth without proper metrics to test or prove our campaigns’ effectiveness. I’m sure everyone reading this post has set up Google Analytics goal tracking before. The tool is amazing, it’s the simplest way to determine what is working on your website and what isn’t. So why aren’t we leveraging goal tracking more?

Many marketers simply set up a destination goal to a thank you page that may be shared by multiple different forms, and call it a day.

You can do better than that.

Before we get into the different ways you can track conversions on your website, let’s go over the two different kind of conversions. If you’re a follower of Avinash Kaushik’s blog then you’ll be familiar with macro and micro-conversions. A macro-conversion is a critical business conversion such as a lead form submission or an actual purchase. A micro-conversion tracks user behavior and smaller event actions (signing up for a newsletter, media play, etc).

While the analytical possibilities are endless and depend on your particular website, below are 30 macro and micro conversion ideas that you can start using today.


Obviously tracking sales is the one goal that we care most about. Without sales there is no business. Tracking sales will be different if you run a large ecommerce site with 1,000 products than a site where you sell one product. For a site with one product, simply setting up a destination goal to a dedicated thank you page is good enough. For the larger ecommerce sites, you’ll want to set up ecommerce tracking so you can track actual items ordered, quantity, category, etc.

Capturing a lead

Most websites don’t sell products online. If you’re a car dealership, landscaping service, or anything in between, capturing a lead is the next best thing to a direct sale. A good qualified lead starts the conversation and puts the sale into your hands. You should have a simple lead capturing form on all of your landing pages. You can track form leads through destination goals.

Social media shares

Tracking social shares will tell you exactly what type of content is performing well. By tracking these trends you can direct your content strategy towards content that you know is working well. You’ll need to be able to edit code or have a developer set up social interactions in Analytics.

Social media followers

Tracking your social media followers is similar to tracking shares, you can use either the social interactions or event tracking methods. Tracking the content categories your followers are converting from can help you better understand how your users view your brand. For example if you are a digital agency and you receive 400% more follows from design related articles over marketing related articles, your audience may view you as more of a design focused agency.

Email subscription signup

Tracking email subscription signups can depend on which email marketing platform you’re using to manage your list. It can be as simple as setting up a destination goal on a self-hosted thank you page, or setting up event tracking on the submit button for the services that take your user off-site to confirm their subscription. By tracking which pages your subscribers are coming from, you are essentially building out a future content strategy for your email list. They wouldn’t have subscribed from that page about homemade salsa if they didn’t want to be sent salsa recipes, right?

New user signup

Any website that allows user registration should be tracking new user signups. You should be using this data to direct traffic to what is working, and analyze what isn’t working. For Agency Metrics, we know that we get 200% more conversions from users who visit our features page first. In the meantime while we analyze the rest of our pages, we’ll try to direct as much traffic to our features page as possible. You can track new user signups with a destination goal to a dedicated thank you or welcome page.

File download

Creating downloadable files such as industry whitepapers or ebooks is a great way to increase brand awareness and leads. Hopefully you are capturing a user’s name and email address so you can send content to him or her in the future. Set up a click event on your form or link to track file downloads.

Customer review or rating

Why track customer reviews or ratings after you’ve already completed a sale? 52% of consumers reported that a positive review would have just as much of an impact in their purchasing decision as a personal recommendation would. Add event tracking to your submit buttons to track reviews and ratings for use with future sales later.

Blog comments

One of the most underrated KPI’s digital marketers are failing to track is user engagement with content. There is no better way to track user engagement than tracking blog comments. Check out this post by @kikolani on how to set up blog comments as goals in Google Analytics.

RSS subscriptions

Track blog comments to measure user engagement with content, track your RSS subscribers to measure brand loyalty. Loyal users are more likely to turn into brand advocates by sharing your posts more frequently with their followers. You can’t directly track users who subscribe to your feed as that is handled by different external feed sources, you can track how many users view your feed by adding event tracking to your feed link.

Demo requests

If you sell a product that requires a private demo, one of your main goals is to get as many targeted users to request a demo as possible. If you’re using a self hosted form you can use a destination goal to track requests. If you’re using a third party form from a CRM such a Netsuite you can set up event tracking to track requests.

Free trial signups

You can track free trial signups just as you can new account signups with a destination goal. You should consider tracking your free trial cancellations as well so you can compare and determine your actual customer signup rate.

Upgrading/downgrading an account

If you’re running any type of SAAS or subscription-based business then you absolutely should be tracking when users upgrade or downgrade their account. You don’t need new sales to generate more revenue, converting users to upgrade is just as potent as a new sale. Create a custom funnel inside of your web app that guides users to upgrade.

Saving products to wishlists

People love window shopping, and it’s no different online. Amazon has been using wishlists for years. They understand that people don’t always have the money for that $300 pair of Cole Haan’s, but when they can afford to splurge they make it easy for the customer to find and complete the sale. Most ecommerce CMS platforms include this function, you can track it by adding an event to the link.

Video engagement

Videos are rich content and can encourage user sign ups, if they click the play button. Video and other media can be tracked with standard event tracking, you can track plays, pauses, and stops.

_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Videos', 'Play', 'Gone With the Wind']);
_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Videos', 'Pause', 'Gone With the Wind']);
_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Videos', 'Stop', 'Gone With the Wind']);

Add-to cart clicks

By tracking your add-to cart clicks with event tracking you can quickly measure the success of any landing page changes that you may be testing in timed intervals. If you keep optimizing your add-to cart rate, your sales will continue to rise as well.

Home page promotion clicks

Did you design a slick new promotional slide on your homepage for the holidays? Place event tracking on it to see how it compares to your normal promotional slides. Once you find one that is working well, re-use that template across all of your slides.

Call-back requests

If you’re in a service based industry you might have a form requesting a call-back. Like any other form, you can measure your call-back requests through destination tracking.

Mobile phone number clicks

Surely by now you either have a mobile optimized or responsive website. Placing a click event on your phone number is the simplest way to track incoming phone calls from mobile traffic without using any third party call tracking software.

Phone calls

This is one of the hardest metrics to track with Google Analytics as you will need to set up call tracking through a third party such as Twilio. You can build a custom app, or use a service like Twimlbin to set up goal tracking as a pageview or an event. Once you start tracking phone calls in Google Analytics you can get a broader image of your actual conversion rate.

Advertisement and affiliate clicks

Just like any outbound link, you can track your affiliate and advertisement clicks through event tracking. If you’re in the affiliate game or you run paid ads on your website you’ll want to track and optimize your outgoing clicks to your partners.

Live chat engagement

Some people question the value of a live chat window on a website, myself included. At least, I used to. I just purchased a new car last month, and I started the conversation through the live chat window. It can be a powerful sales tool, make sure you’re tracking it. You can track chat engagement through an event.

Modal box views

You can embed anything from contact forms to iframed content inside of a modal box. The problem is you can’t track modal content like you can a standard web page. Add event tracking to your trigger link to start measuring how many views this content actually gets.

Contact form submissions

Every website should have a form on the contact page, it’s the easiest way for consumers to get in touch directly with your brand. Use destination tracking on a dedicated thank you page to measure contact form conversions.

Form error messages

Integrate Google Analytics event tracking into your input fields on critical forms like your registration or checkout forms. You’ll be able to see trends such as users getting hung up on specific fields. You can use this error data to build a new form that will help you increase conversions.

Site searches

Determine user intent  and navigability by tracking site searches. Your customers are basically telling you “this is what I am looking for”, and “why did I have to search to find it”.  Analyze your customer search queries to build a better experience for your customer that will ultimately lead to more conversions. Read this article on how to set up site search in Google Analytics.

Author profile views

Tracking the author profile views on your blog is an easy way to see which authors are the most popular. You don’t necessarily need to set up goal tracking for this as you can just filter through site content in Google Analytics. However, it is easier to segment and track if you set up destination goals to your author pages.

Specific widget clicks

You’ve loaded up your sidebar with as many fancy widgets as possible, but what’s the point in having a fancy mortgage calculator if users aren’t using it? Clear out some of the dead space by figuring out what works and what doesn’t based on user clicks.

404 error page views

Having too many 404 pages on your website is bad for user experience and overall brand image. You want to figure out where which pages are trying to be viewed, and where they are being linked from. This article on how to track 404 errors in Google Analytics is a tutorial on how to set up proper 404 page tracking.

Embedded map engagement

If you’re a local business, you’ll want to be able to track the number of users who have clicked your map, or have typed in directions. If you’re using a custom application or store locator plugin, you can add event tracking directly to your search field. Search Engine Watch also has a suggestion that involves using a third party API.

Now I want to hear from you. What are you favorite goals to track, what hang ups do you run into? Leave a comment below and we may cover some of the nuances in another post.

Try Agency Metrics For Free!

30 Day Free Trial

Start your risk-free, no credit card required 30-day trial today to fully experience Agency Metrics!

Sign Up