Analytics and Search Marketing Tips
Google Analytics (Version 5 Only) now allows you to use events as goals. If you are like us, you probably thought this day would never come!
Events as a goal type…why does this matter? Well, because you can now track more types of site interactions as goals.
Ready, to take a tour of how to use events as goals? We breakdown the setup into four key parts of an “Interactions” goal based on multiple event categories and actions:
As you can see, there is now a fourth goal type option called “Event” on the goal setup screen. The three previously available goal types were limiting and didn’t allow you to easily track user behavior that didn’t initiate a pageview.
In Version 4 of Google Analytics, it was fairly easy to track basic site activity, as well as clear lead generation and sales funnel pathways as goals.
However, the challenge was tracking lower commitment site interactions that signal high levels of site engagement (without inflating pageviews via a virtual pageview call). It is these signals that help us measure the quality of visitors who are in the early stages of the buying cycle. Without this measure, clients often neglect these vital visitors and thereby don’t see the value of investing in online marketing efforts to identify and drive good potential customers to the site.
This is where the power lies in tracking events as goals. You can use one or more event category, event action and/or event label as a condition to trigger your goal. The simple matching options of “head match” and “exact match” are available, or you can use the awesome power of “regular expressions” to come up with sophisticated solutions that can match a variety of site interactions in one goal.
This is often the case when attempting to measure engagement. By the way, if you want to explore complex ways to consider measuring engagement check on Eric Peterson’s post “How to Measure Visitor Engagement.”
Some examples of site interactions you can track:
Keep in mind that many of these examples require additional tracking code setup.
If the event value does not meet a certain condition (i.e. threshold) it won’t trigger the goal. You can set the event value threshold to be “greater than”, “less than” or “equal to” an event value. This allows all kinds of creative goal tracking solutions.
For example, you can measure video engagement and determine how many people watched a video for at least 2 minutes by enabling the event value condition and using a threshold greater than ‘1’ (assuming you have properly set up event tracking for your videos). Note that we use ‘1’ here because it is a condition of ‘greater than’ and event values are integers/whole numbers.
You now have the ability to pass in the actual event value (i.e. a dynamic value) for the event or you can have the goal value default to a constant value. Keep in mind this must be a whole number/integer.
If you have been waiting for better ways to measure overall and individual types of site interactions that help you to better understand user engagement on your site…then your wait is over.
The inherent custom nature of event tracking coupled with the flexibility of using the event category, action and label with regular expressions as the match type, allows limitless potential to create unique, creative goal tracking solutions.
Share your ideas, experience and questions for using events as goals below in the comments. Thanks for reading and make it a great day!
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Kayden is the founder and Managing Director of Blast Analytics & Marketing. He lives to do better and loves sharing his ideas and experiences. Kayden uses his seemingly infinite knowledge of web-based technologies to lead from the front and constantly push the edge of what is possible.51 posts on the Web Analytics Blog.
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