Google Analytics Fundamentals – Tracking Your Website’s ROI

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

Join me at the forefront of web design and digital marketing innovation. I am obsessed with web design, business philosophy and marketing performance.
I write Conversion Insider newsletter.

Google Analytics is the most popular analytics platform with the vast majority of marketing teams using it as a foundation for their data-driven marketing strategy. It uses big data technology to track your visitors’ behavior. You can gain knowledge on how people engage with your content, the average time they spend on your website, bounce rates, eCommerce sales, and find out which marketing channels bring the most profit. Here, we are going to present some Google Analytics fundamentals in terms of website tracking.

Once you have created your account in Google Analytics, you need to add a tracking code to your website. First, you need to find your Google Analytics ID by following our instructions:

  • Click Admin
  • Choose your Account and Property from the Account and Property columns
  • Select Tracking Info from the Property column
  • Click Tracking Code and you will find your code beneath the Tracking ID header
  • Get your global site tag on your website from the Tracking Code menu
  • Copy the contents in the Global Site Tag (gtag.js) box
  • Paste your copy into the <head> tag of every page on your website and upload the updated pages to your website

There is no better way to gauge your website’s effectiveness and measure its success than tracking conversions. Conversion goals measure the business outcome showing you whether or not users are behaving the way you want them to.

While every website is different, some of the common goals you may want to configure include:

  • Subscribing to email updates
  • Submitting a contact form
  • Registering to receive a resource
  • Membership signups
  • Scheduling an appointment
  • Website registrations
  • Watching embedded videos

Once configured, you will find conversion data in your Google Analytics home report, and you will be able to access conversion metrics Goal Completions and Goal Conversion Rate. These are the types of goals you can set up in Google Analytics:

  • Destination goal – Whether a particular web page is viewed.
  • Duration – A length of time a session has lasted.
  • Pages per session – A minimum number of pages viewed during the session.
  • Event – Whether a user took an action that you coded as an event.
  • Smart goal – For this option to be available you need to have Google Ads linked to Google Analytics and no less than 500 clicks from your ads. It uses Google’s machine learning to count conversions for the most engaged users on your website.

With all that being said, let’s walk through the steps you need to take to configure the most common goal – a destination goal:

  • The first thing you need to do is navigate to Admin in Google Analytics and select the reporting view where you want to add a goal.
  • Select Goals and click on Add New Goal. Select Custom to define your goal from scratch and click Continue.
  • Give your goal a name so you can easily recognize it.
  • This step is optional, but you can choose a Goal Slot ID so you can group goals in your report. If you are having any doubts, you can always leave the default selection.
  • Choose a Destination as a type of goal and click continue.
  • Now you need to enter the final URL that you choose as your targeted destination, for example, the URL of your sign-up form.
  • Adjust the match type to control the way Google Analytics will match your URL. Here are the options available:
    1. Equals to – Conversions will be counted only when the URL exactly matches the one you defined as a destination.
    2. Begins with – Conversions will be counted even if there are additional details following the URL.
    3. Regular expression – Matches the URL based on regular expressions.
  • This is also an optional setting, but it can be very useful when determining the ROI of your website. Google Analytics gives you an option to enter a dollar value for your goal and include it in your reports. If you know your average client value, it is a good idea to include it as the goal value.
  • Since our goal is set on Destination, we can also define a funnel that contains the pages we expect people to view before converting. By including these steps, you will be able to make use of the Goal Flow and Funnel Visualization reports. However, it is critical to include only those steps that are directly tied to the conversion action. For example, you can skip your homepage and only enter the subscription page. Setting Required to Yes impacts only the Funnel Visualisation Report (and doesn’t impact the number of conversions reported in Google Flow) counting conversions for people that saw the dedicated page at some point before viewing the conversion page. We recommend setting Required to No.
  • Now you just need to click Verify This Goal and Save.

Your goal is now tracking and conversion data will appear in your reports.

Integrate Google Analytics within Google Tag Manager

This tool allows you to manage and centralize your marketing tags and deploy them on your website without having to modify the code. By deploying all website tags in one place you can make your tag management simple, easy, and reliable. Gathering information is critical for a better understanding of your website’s ROI, so setting up and tracking events like PDF downloads, outbound link clicks or button clicks will help you see the bigger picture. Google Tag Manager offers powerful features like:

  • Tag – Snippets of code or tracking pixels from third-party tools. You can create any marketing tag and use various integrations.
  • Trigger – You can define when your tag should be executed.
  • Variables – Additional information that Google Tag Manager may need for your tag and trigger to work. You can define several variables and deploy them to different websites.

Although it is easy to manage multiple tags in Google Tag Manager, there is still a learning curve to overcome to get the best ROI in your marketing efforts. That is why our web development agency in Chicago is here to help. Follow our lead to learn how to properly set up Google Tag Manager:

  • To create a new GTM account enter an Account Name, Container Name, and hit Create.
  • A pop-up window will appear with instructions you need to follow to copy a piece of code on every page of your site.
  • Copy the two pieces of code on every page in the <HEAD> and the <BODY>.

Now all you need to do is connect GTM with Google Analytics:

  1. Click on Add a new tag.
  2. On the next window select a name for your tag. Let’s call it Google Analytics.
  3. Click on the tag configuration area, and choose the type of tag Google Analytics – Universal Analytics.
  4. Leave the track type on Page view.
  5. Pick a setting variable. If this is a new container, you should have no variable.
  6. Create a new variable Google Analytics Settings and name it GA PROD
  7. Enter the Tracking ID from Google Analytics and save.
  8. Click the Submit button in the right corner of Google Tag Manager to publish the changes you made.

And voila, you’re ready to track your website’s performance.


Fresh inspiration is a fingertip away,
Download Our Portfolio.

Download Our Portfolio