Google Analytics Demystified: Part 5 – Goal Tracking and Funnels
In Part 4 of this series, Google Analytics Demystified: Part 4 – Conversion Tracking I explained briefly what conversion tracking was, how it could help you, how to install it, and provided an updated release of a new Simple Google Analytics Zen Cart contribution to which I added Conversion Tracking.
In Part 5 of this series here, I’ll talk about Goals and Funnels. They each play a unique role in overall tracking of your website, however when used together, provide some super insight for you to determine where “bottlenecks” occur in your sales conversion path (the ideal path a visitor takes through your site to reach the end goal of buying your product.)
Google Analytics Goal Tracking
Goal tracking gives you the ability to set up to 4 unique goals that you would like to keep a record of for important events (actions) that users take when they visit your site.
These Goals can range from simply filling out a contact form, to downloading a free brochure, to an actual sale that generates revenue. The choice is yours, but choose wisely. At the time of this writing, Google only allows you to track up to 4 total goals. I would choose those that have the biggest impact on the success of your business.
Unlike the first three components we have reviewed in this series on Google Analytics, Goal Tracking does not have its “own” set of tracking code you need to install. As indicated above in my note, it operates off of the installation of the “Vanilla” Google Tracking code. However, just the installation of the “Vanilla” tracking code alone will not activate Goal tracking. You must do that from within your Google Analytics account.
Setting up Goal Tracking
To start Goal Tracking in Google, you need to set up the goals and optional Sales Funnels (which I will talk about later in this post) from within your Google Analytics Account.
The following is an illustration of how you might setup Goal Tracking for your online store.
First, when you login to your Google Analytics account, click on the “Edit” link next to website that you wish to setup a Goal for. On the page that follows click the “Edit” link again next to any one of the open conversion Goal slots (you have 4 to choose from).
You’ll come to a page that looks like this near the top.
In the above screenshot, you see that in order to setup a Goal, you must enter at least two elements (the Goal URL, and the Goal Name) and then activate it by selecting the On radio button next to the “Active Goal” section.
Save your changes to setup your Goal.
When you combine Goal tracking with Funnels, it opens a world of knowledge about the efficiency of your website’s ability to take visitors down a path that leads to a sale.
Funnels, when attached to Goals, point out trouble spots in your “conversion chain”. These trouble spots oftentimes cause visitors to abandon the process and lead to a loss in sales for you. Using Funnels, you must find these weak points and barriers in your site and address them making changes as needed if you are to have a shot at increasing sales.
A partial sample of what a Funnel report and associated Funnel path might look like is shown below.
Sample Funnel Path
Sample Funnel Report
The above funnel depicts a partial “conversion chain” for an e-commerce website. This portion of the funnel indicates it has no problems (100% of the visitors who start the checkout move through the first two steps). If we had users abandoning the process, that number would be lower.
Unfortunately it is normal, although not ideal, to expect some sort of abandonment in the process. It is those points at which a potential customer decides to leave that we must look at closer and address. It could be that a mis-spelling on the page in question is causing customer confidence to drop and thus leading them to abandon.
It could also mean any number of other things like, technical errors in the checkout process, usability confusion, information overload, or you name it. The key is to determine what it is that is causing your potential customers to leave, and correct it. Turn a negative into a positive and your sales should increase.
For a more detailed explanation and step-by-step setup process, as well as a nice “copy and paste” funnel path URL structure ready for Zen Cart, be sure to download a copy of Google Analytics Uncovered for Zen Cart: The Workbook..
This 70 page workbook goes into great detail on a number of items surrounding Google Analytics and Zen Cart. It includes tons of screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and many Helpful Hints directly relating to Zen Cart that are aimed at helping you increase sales from your store.
In the final Part 6 of this series I’ll wrap up what we have talked about for the past few weeks and explain how all the pieces of the Google Analytics puzzle fit into Zen Cart.
Until then … keep tracking.