We walk you through the basics of Google Analytics conversion tracking and show you how to quantify the results of your marketing efforts.
Important Note: Google Analytics is sunsetting Universal Analytics in July 2023 and replacing it with GA4 tracking. For this article, we’ll mostly be focusing on GA4 to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.
Google Analytics is the holy grail of tracking web traffic and performance.
Our data backs it up. 90% of marketers consider Google Analytics their go-to solution for website tracking.
One standout feature in Google Analytics 4 is its ability to track conversions as events and attribute them across all your marketing and analytics channels.
If you’re not using Google Analytics 4 to track your conversions, you’re essentially missing out on valuable insights that can drastically transform your business.
In just a few simple steps, you can set up conversion tracking to identify where your leads are coming from and determine which channels deserve the most credit for new business.
Topics we’ll discuss:
💡 Pro Tip
Tracking conversions is useful, but they’re not meaningful to your overall business goals. To get more out of your reporting, you need to understand what marketing sources drive the most revenue. With Ruler, you can enrich your Google Analytics reports with revenue attribution data and see which channels generate the most value.
How Ruler enriches your Google Analytics with revenue data
A conversion in Google Analytics is an important action you want your users to complete on your website and is considered a key event to your business. Any action or engagement that happens on your website can be tracked and labelled as a conversion event.
A conversion in GA4 is essentially any action that you define as being valuable to your business.
You can create Events inside your GA4 account to ensure you’re tracking every conversion that’s valuable to your business. Shortly, we’ll walk you through exactly how to track conversions using GA4.
In regards to conversion tracking, there are a few key differences between Universal Analytics and GA4. Let’s take a closer look at what’s changed.
In the legacy version of Google Analytics, conversions were triggered whenever a user completed a goal on your website.
The most common was a destination goal. That’s when a user lands on a particular landing page, such as a thank you url.
Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 doesn’t have goals. Instead, conversions are defined as events.
Before GA4, events were used to track actions across your website.
For example, if you wanted to track the number of times people downloaded an eBook, you would implement event tracking to see the number of downloads.
But now, there is no distinction between goals and events. Every action, including conversions, are tracked as an event.
In Universal Analytics, Goals are limited to 20 per reporting view.
For 20 conversions or more, you need to create an additional view for that property or edit/remove an existing goal you don’t need anymore to make room.
Not ideal if your website offers various products or services and has multiple conversion points.
The same rule doesn’t apply to the Google Analytics 4 property. In fact, there is no limit on the number of events in GA4.
That means marketers can benefit from an almost infinite number of events to track and measure website efficacy.
In Universal Analytics, you can create conversions using the following conditions:
The issue with Universal Analytics is that it limits each Goal to one condition.
For example, you couldn’t specify the following sequence as one conversion goal in Universal Analytics.
“A user lands on your website via a newsletter and makes a purchase.”
The only option you have is to set up a single goal for the pageview and another for any purchases made on your website, leaving you with two separate goals.
In Google Analytics, however, you can use multiple conditions for an event.
That means you can customise your conversion tracking to ensure reporting accuracy. There’s no use tracking conversions if they’re not going to add any value to your business, right?
As we’ve just discussed, Goals are no longer a viable option to track conversions.
Instead, to track and measure key actions on your website, you’ll need to create a custom event in Google Analytics 4 and turn that into a conversion.
First, click “configure’ and select ‘events’.
You’ll see different events. All of these are options predefined by Google Analytics 4.
You can, however, set up a unique event to track a specific conversion. There are two ways to achieve this.
💡 Pro Tip
For this guide, we’ll assume that you’ve already migrated over to your Google Analytics 4 account. If you haven’t, don’t worry. We have a complete guide on how to get started with Google Analytics 4.
The first option is to create a new event based on an existing option in Google Analytics 4.
For example, we could take the predefined event “page_view” and trigger a conversion whenever a user lands on a specific thank you page. Here’s how to get started.
The second option is to configure a new tag in Google Tag Manager that will successfully capture and report a unique event in GA4.
This method gives you a lot more flexibility and control over your conversions.
For this example, let’s say you have a form on your website that doesn’t redirect to a new page.
You could configure your event in Google Tag Manager to track the submission button as a conversion instead.
3. Afterwards, you’ll need to click on ‘Triggers’. Here you’ll want to create a generic form submission trigger. This will allow you to see the form submission event inside of Google Tag Manager, and you’ll know which form id to fire your tag and conversion event in GA4.
Once complete, go into preview mode, type in your domain and fill out a form.
If successful, you should be able to see the form submit event and your variables in Google Tag Manager.
You’ll want to scroll down to Form ID and make a note of the code as you’ll need this later on in this set up.
If you haven’t managed to migrate over to Google Analytics 4, don’t panic. Universal Analytics isn’t completely gone just yet. You have until July 2023 to make the most of UA and its reporting functionalities.
While it is encouraged that you move over to GA4 at the earliest opportunity, not all marketers are racing to make the switch. Our data backs it up. 30% of marketers aren’t planning to migrate until early 2023.
Firstly, you’ll need to head to the “Admin” section of your Universal Analytics account. You’ll find it in the bottom left-hand corner of your dashboard.
Then, head to “Goals“. If you already have different Views you’ll need to ensure you’re in the right view, as Goals only apply to the View you create them in.
We’ll assume you’re using a View that’s relevant to your needs.
This is relatively self-explanatory. Assuming you have no existing Goals (or are new to Google Analytics), you’ll see a big red button saying “+ New Goal“.
Hit that, and you’ll be on your way to setting up your first goal.
Google Analytics includes templates for a range of Goal types. If one of these fits your use case exactly, then you can use it.
However, the “Custom” goal option gives you the flexibility to set up your conversion goal precisely as you need it.
Next, you’ll need to give your goal a Name.
Make this something clear and descriptive enough that you know what it is at a glance.
If you anticipate having a large number of goals, consider spending some time to come up with a logical and easy to read naming convention, as it’ll save you time and energy figuring out what your Goals are tracking in the long run.
Finally, you’ll need to add in the details about your goal. There are a few options for this.
The goal can be based on someone visiting a particular URL, which can work well if you have a “success” page for actions like visitors booking demos or after they complete a purchase.
If you want to make sure things are working before you save your Goal, you can hit “Verify this Goal“.
Google will then see how many of your visitors over the past seven days have taken actions that would be defined as a conversion.
It’s quick and easy to see if your goal is set up correctly.
Once your conversion goals are created, you’ll be able to see an overview of them and how they’re all performing over the past seven days from the Goals overview. UA conversion goals are forward-looking and will only give you data on conversions that happen after the goal creation date.
And that’s all there is to it. Remember, Universal Analytics isn’t going to be around forever. So we encourage you to move to Google Analytics 4 conversion tracking sooner rather than later to avoid being left behind.
💡 Pro Tip
Follow Katie on LinkedIn for tips and tactics on attribution, analytics and all things digital marketing. Don’t forget to say hi. 👋
Google Analytics 4 can track any visit to your website, including users that come from an offline promotion or advert.
If your offline advertising campaign triggers a visit to your website, then you can use Google Analytics to track and analyse the performance in a few simple steps.
We already have a guide on tracking offline conversions in Google Analytics that lists every step you need for tracking print, radio and TV advertising campaigns. So make sure you check that out for further instructions.
If you regularly engage with new clients through inbound phone calls, you’ll need to make sure that you’re tracking those in Google Analytics.
Otherwise, you run the risk of underestimating the value of your marketing channels.
Google Analytics doesn’t have call tracking built-in, but you can use a tool marketing attribution tool like Ruler.
Ruler is an official Google Analytics technology partner and enables you to see data for all of your conversions, online or offline, so you can accurately track your marketing ROI.
This data can be viewed within Ruler, or sent directly to your Google Analytics account and displayed there.
Then, when that phone number is called, Ruler will attribute the offline conversion to the marketing channel that the visitor arrived from.
Here’s an example so you can see Ruler in action.
Sara lands on your website after clicking on a Google Ad.
As it’s her first interaction with your website, Ruler will track Sara as an anonymous visitor.
Ruler will collect key marketing data such as her source, keyword search and the pages on your site she visited during her session.
A few days later, Sara returns to your website via an organic brand search. Sara doesn’t convert, but Ruler still keeps a record of her interactions.
After a week, Sara clicks on a retargeting ad on Facebook, lands on your site and converts into a lead after making a phone call.
Ruler tracks all of this information and maps the phone call to Sara’s marketing touchpoints.
Now that Sara is a visible lead in Ruler, all of the information captured on Sara is sent over to your CRM.
When you log into your CRM, you’ll see Sara as a new lead, as well as the marketing channels and keywords she used along the customer journey.
Naturally, Sara will move through the sales pipeline as she learns more about the benefits of your services.
In Ruler, you can keep track of Sara’s progress in the opportunity stage report.
Sara finally agrees to sign a deal.
The revenue is sent to Ruler and assigned to the marketing touchpoints that assisted in the customer journey.
For example, if you opted for first click attribution, then all the revenue would be assigned to Google Ads. If you went for last click attribution, then Facebook would receive all of the value from your CRM.
Remember that Sara converted over the phone?
As we’ve already discussed, Google Analytics 4 can’t track phone calls on its own.
Ruler, however, allows you to integrate with Analytics to create goals for phone calls, allowing you to track call and revenue data against all your traditional metrics.
💡 Pro Tip
We have plenty more information on how Ruler works. Download the brochure on Ruler and see how it can help you go beyond basic marketing reporting to gain a single view of your leads and customers.
Download the guide on why you need Ruler
Tracking goal conversions in Google Analytics is vital if you want to assess how well your marketing is performing and how visitors are engaging with your website and content.
Without accurate conversion data, you’re flying blind.
Setting up conversion events in your Google Analytics 4 account is a great first step to having actionable information that you can use to make smart decisions.
Once you’ve created events, you’ll be able to track your online conversions with ease. If you need more insight into offline conversions such as phone calls, you’ll need to use a tool like Ruler Analytics.
Book a consultation with one of our experts to learn more about offline conversion tracking.