Google Conversion Room Blog Tips on tracking and improving conversions online

Tracking website conversions with Google Analytics

Thursday 18 December 2008 | 09:27

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Let's start with the founding principles! With any website, you want to make sure that the maximum number of users entering your site then go on to ‘convert’ by making a purchase or enquiry with you. If you’re paying for traffic through online advertising, you’ll want to ensure this spend is paying off in terms of clear profits. In this post, we’ll discuss how to set up this important level of tracking in Analytics. Then in upcoming posts we can delve further into advanced features, and give you ideas on how to interpret the available reports.

What is a goal/conversion?

In order to track your website ROI, it is important to define goals or conversions. A goal is an action you wish your visitors to complete when they visit your site. Examples of goals include: a completed purchase, the download of a document or a subscription to a newsletter.

How to set up goals?

You can easily set up goals within Google Analytics and measure how often visitors reach these goals (or convert on your site). What proportion of users who reach your home page, for example, then go on to buy from you? You can also specify steps that lead to a goal (e.g. purchase or lead) and measure how many visitors follow these steps, called a funnel. You can create up to 4 goals per profile in your Google Analytics account. Once you have activated your goal you will begin to see data appearing in your Google Analytics account under the 'Goals' report.

To learn more about setting up goals, please visit the Google Analytics Help Centre.

How to track e-commerce transactions?

If your website has a shopping cart hosted on your own domain, or on a third party site, you can use Google Analytics to track each transaction and import actual values from conversions into your Google Analytics reports. This requires adding an additional piece of code to your shopping cart pages, and also enabling 'E-commerce tracking' in your profile settings. Details of how to do both of these tasks can be found below.

Learn how to enable e-commerce tracking.

Learn how to track 3rd party shopping carts.

Once you have set up this tracking you will have an in-depth view of which keywords or search terms, paid and organic, drive the most revenue for your business. You will also see which search engines refer the most profitable customers to your site.

How to track AdWords ROI in Google Analytics?

If you are an AdWords advertiser you can link Google Analytics to AdWords instead of logging into both accounts separately. When linked to your AdWords account, Analytics will automatically track the behaviour of visitors coming from your AdWords ads, allowing you to gauge the return on investment from your AdWords budget. Identify which areas of your AdWords account could do with adjustment to make dramatic conversion improvements.

Find out more about linking Google Analytics and AdWords here.

All done?

You’ve completed these steps? You’re all set to track how and when your website visitors convert into valued customers on your website. In the coming weeks we'll talk about interpreting your Analytics reports, and taking action to improve profitability on your site. We hope to see you then!

Posted by Evelyn O'Keeffe, Google Analytics Team