How to set goals in Google Analytics step by step


9 minutes


Goals and conversions in Google Analytics are one and the same thing, which means a useful action on the website. If we want to track conversions on the website, we need to set goals in Google Analytics. The goal may be to subscribe to a newsletter, request a call back, add an item to the cart, go to the checkout page, and so on.

Tracking goals allows you to find out which traffic source is the most effective, highlight audience segments, and find problem areas of the website. And understanding the problem is half the solution!

Micro conversions and macro conversions for setting goals in Google Analytics

In Google Analytics goals are usually divided into macro and micro conversions, depending on the type of website and importance for the business:

Website typeMicro conversionMacro conversion
Online store (E-Commerce business)
  • adding an item to the cart;
  • ordering a phone call;
  • phone call;
  • subscribing to email newsletters;
  • using an online chat;
  • leaving a review;
  • registration in your personal account;
  • adding a product to the comparison.
  • checkout of a purchase from a cart;
  • ordering goods “in 1 click”.
Corporate website (services business)
  • registration in a personal account;
  • downloading a white book, or presentation;
  • using an online chat;
  • ordering a phone call;
  • subscribing to email newsletter;
  • go to the “contacts” page.
  • phone call;
  • the submitted form after clicking the “order” button.
Landing page
  • online chat;
  • ordering a phone call;
  • email newsletter.
  • phone call;
  • the submitted form after clicking the “order” button.


It is important for an entrepreneur / marketer to have macro conversions performed on the website, but you also cannot miss micro conversions. How to set up goals in Google Analytics is discussed below.

This will allow you to understand traffic from different channels more deeply, optimize your activities in advertising campaigns, and make data-driven decisions about changes on landing pages.

Of all the listed goals, you can track everything in Google Analytics except phone calls: you can use any call tracking service to keep an eye on them. When you connect call-tracking, you can import information about calls into Google Analytics in order to receive data on the number of calls and the sources that led to these calls.

How to set up goals in Google Analytics: algorithm

Algorithm of how to set Google Analytics goals:

  1. Description of the main steps of the user to achieve different conversions, i.e. how the user reaches the target action. It is necessary to write down micro conversions and macro conversions separately, as well as determine their importance in order to assign their value.
  2. Technical setting of goals in Google Analytics.
  3. Checking the goal setting in Google Analytics.

Important! You can set up to 20 goals in one Google Analytics view – keep this in mind in the first step. Usually this amount is sufficient.

How to set up goals in Google Analytics: conversion types

#1. Landing Page: the goal is achieved by visiting a specific page, such as a Thank you page.

When to set the goal in Google Analytics? It is great for corporate websites, landing pages and small online stores. To track conversions, you need to create a “Thank you” page, which should appear in the browser every time the user reaches the final macro conversion: make a purchase, enter data and send it after clicking the “Order” button, etc.

#2. Duration: the goal is achieved if the user stays on the page for more than a certain amount of time.

When to set the goal in Google Analytics? It is suitable for informational and commercial websites. For informational purposes, you need to set a target time, how long the user should be on the website and, if this duration is reached, consider the goal achieved.

For commercial websites, you can use a temporary remarketing target. When installing, it is important to remember that by default, the session duration in Google Analytics is calculated as the difference between the time of the first and last interaction.

#3. Pages/Screens: the goal is achieved if the user has viewed a certain number of pages.

When to set the goal in Google Analytics? Good for informational websites as well as commercial remarketing.

FREE audit of Google Shopping campaigns – leave your request to get step-by-step report and plan for optimization to boost your store!

#4. An event, such as a click on a button.

When to set up the event in Google Analytics? Goal setting Event can be used to track button clicks / form submissions on the website. For example, if there is no Thank you page after filling out the form. Often it is used on corporate websites and landing pages.

In addition, setting an event in Google Analytics is used to track the main activities of an online chat: an established dialogue with a user, an offline message sent or contacts. As for chat software solutions, they usually have their own documentation on setting goals, which can be searched on the system’s website.

No. 5. Smart target.

It is available only if there were at least 500 conversions from the Google Ads account in the last 30 days. Setting a smart goal in Google Analytics can be used to build a remarketing audience, but don’t take it too seriously as a goal.

How to check your goal setting in Google Analytics

To check if the goal works, click on the “Check” button. If the goal is configured correctly, you will see how many users have reached it in the last 7 days (if Analytics was running at that time and collecting statistics).

Создание цели в Google Analytics

Also, you should know how to check your goals in Google Analytics in real time. To do this, perform any targeted action yourself. Then open the Analytics section Real-time report → “Conversions”. Is your conversion included in the report? If so, great, everything works. If not, check the goal setting in Analytics, perhaps an error has crept in somewhere.

Создание цели в Google Analytics

Example of setting goals in Google Analytics for the online store

Let’s look at an example of how goals are configured in Google Analytics on the scrubt.com.

Macro conversion: filling in and sending information when you click the Buy button on the product page. It is better to track such a goal upon reaching the “Thank you” page and assign it a maximum value (relative to other goals), for example, $5.

Настройка цели в Google Analytics

The first-order micro conversions on such a website – those where the likelihood of reaching which could mean a real sale – are “ordering a call back” and “establishing a chat dialogue”. Both goals are set up via an event with $ 3 value.

At the same time, we determine behavioral micro-conversions, which mean users’ interest in goods / services: clicking the “Details” button, going to the “Contacts” page, duration “more than 50 seconds.” For these purposes, let’s set the value to $ 1.

With this set of goals in Google Analytics, we in Penguin-team PPC Agency can already receive detailed reports and formulate hypotheses to improve the effectiveness of advertising campaigns in Google Ads.

If you need to track real value transactions in ecommerce, install ecommerce.

How to set goals via Google Tag Manager

If you have a Tag Manager code on your website, then the code (sending an event / event to Analytics) can be created through it.

Step 1. Create Google Tag for tracking conversions

In GTM go to Tags page → Create button. In the tag configuration, select Google Analytics – Universal Analytics, tracking type – Event. Fill in the category and action, as well as value and label if needed.

If in Analytics the goal of an Event looks like this:

Создание цели Analytics через Тег менеджер

Then the tag in the Tag Manager will look like this:

Создание цели Analytics через Тег менеджер
Создание цели Analytics через Тег менеджер

Below you will see a field for adding a trigger, that is, the rule by which the tag should be triggered.

FREE audit of Google Ads campaigns – leave your request to get step-by-step report and plan for optimization to boost your business!

Step 2. Create a trigger in GTM

A trigger is what fires a tag in response to a given event: click on a button, view the page, and so on. A tag needs at least 1 trigger to run; it will be called at runtime.

There are 4 trigger categories in GTM: pageview, click, user interaction, and more.

Page view:

  • DOM ready (gtm.dom): The tag is activated after the browser has finished creating the html page and the DOM can be parsed.
  • window loaded (gtm.load): fires after the entire page has finished loading, when the window is fully loaded;
  • pageview (gtm.js): works when the Tag Manager container is ready to go.


  • All elements (gtm.click), triggered when you click on any element on the page. In the activation settings, you can select “All clicks” (clicks will be recorded anywhere on the page, whether it’s the background or the text) or “Some clicks” (you can select the place, when you click on which events will be recorded);
  • Links only (gtm.linkClick), triggered when the tag is clicked.

User interaction:

  • YouTube video: triggered when watching a video on the website, only works for the YouTube player. You can track start, end, stop / rewind / buffering, browsing progress, or any of these;
  • Scroll depth: works when scrolling (both horizontal and vertical);
  • Element Accessibility: fires when an element on the page becomes visible;
  • Submitting the form: The name speaks for itself.

The choice of a trigger is a purely individual thing, which depends on the type of business and the goals that the specialist has.

After setting up the trigger, it is important to be sure to check the work of the goal. If everything works as intended, publish and voila, you’re done!

Importing set goals from Analytics to Google Ads

After setting up goals in Analytics, you need to import them all into your Ads account.

To do this, open the Tools → Conversions → “+ Conversions” tab. Click “Import” → click on the Google Analytics button → Continue → select the goal to import and click on the “Import” button and “Finish”. After that, the import will be working, but the statistics that were received earlier (before the import was enabled) will not be transferred.

Here’s an example of what a report looks like in Analytics without configured goals:

Импорт целей в Аналитикс

It doesn’t show which traffic sources bring conversions and how effective each is. Accordingly, the decision of where to reduce the budget and where to increase it happens intuitively – and here there is already a risk of investing time and resources is not reasonable.

And here is the same report, but with customized goals for making data-driven decisions:

Импорт целей в Аналитикс

You can immediately see which source brings different types of conversions and what total profit the business gets from each channel. Here, decisions on investments and sources costs will be more justified.

Conversion tracking is one of the most important steps in online marketing. Thanks to different types of Google Analytics goals, you can get insights that will be useful later for improving your website and advertising campaigns.

FREE audit of Google Shopping campaigns – leave your request to get step-by-step report and plan for optimization to boost your store!

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