Measure Marketing Performance with Google Analytics Conversion Tracking

Important Note: This article was originally published on 10th Apr 2020 and was last updated on 12th August 2020.

Google Analytics conversion tracking allows you to see which campaigns and channels are driving the most leads and engagement. For this article, we walk you through a step-by-step guide to help you set up your Google Analytics conversion tracking, and as a bonus, show you how to connect your conversion data with sales revenue in your CRM.

If you’re not using Google Analytics to track your website analytics and goal conversions, you’re missing out on valuable insights.

Once you’ve installed Google Analytics on your website, you’ll be able to see details on top-performing user acquisition channels, visitor demographics, conversion paths and marketing attribution.

All of these details will help you better judge the ROI of your sales and marketing efforts so you can make smarter decisions about where you should be spending your time and money.

If you want to make the most of your Google Analytics account, you’re going to need to set up Conversion Tracking.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • How Google Analytics conversion tracking works
  • How to set up your Google Analytics Account to track conversions
  • Tracking offline conversions in Google Analytics
  • Online and offline conversion tracking with Ruler Analytics.
Editor’s Note: At Ruler Analytics, we offer a closed-loop solution that allows you to connect the leads you generate online with the sales you convert offline. For more information, download our eBook on Closed-Loop Marketing Attribution, or book a demo to see how Ruler Analytics can help you prove—and improve—marketing’s impact on business growth.

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What is Google Analytics Conversion Tracking?

Google Analytics lets you track conversions on your website.

Any action or engagement that happens on your website can be tracked and labelled as a conversion.

Think of things like:

  • Visitor watches a sales video
  • Users starts a free trial
  • Reads a bottom-of-funnel blog post
  • Calls your sales phone number
  • A “conversion” in Google Analytics is essentially any action that you define as being valuable to your business.

You can create Goals inside your Google Analytics account to ensure you’re tracking every conversion that’s valuable to your business.

In the next section, I’ll walk you through exactly how to track conversions using Google Analytics.

 

Setting Up Your Google Analytics Account to Track Conversions

So, you’ve installed the Google Analytics tag on your website.

The next step is to start creating your goals to ensure that you’re tracking the metrics you need to measure your performance.

Here’s how to create Goals so that you can start tracking your conversions.

 

Step 1: Go to Your Admin Panel

Firstly, you’ll need to head to the “Admin” section of your Google Analytics account.

You’ll find it in the bottom left-hand corner of your Google Analytics account.

Google Analytics Conversion Tracking - Step 1 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 2: Within the Relevant View, go to “Goals”

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.

Google Analytics Conversion Tracking - Step 2 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 3: Create New Goal

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 Conversion Tracking - Step 3 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 4: Choose Your Goal Type

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.

Google Analytics Conversion Tracking - Step 4 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 5: Describe and Select Your Goal Type

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.

Google Analytics Conversion Tracking - Step 5 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 6: Add Goal Details and Verify The Goal

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.

Google Analytics Conversion Tracking - Step 6 - www.ruleranalytics.com

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.

Google Analytics Conversion Tracking - Step 7 - www.ruleranalytics.com

It’s important to remember that Google Analytics conversion goals are forward-looking and will only give you data on conversions that happen after the goal creation date.

 

Tracking Google Analytics Offline Conversions

Google Analytics does a fantastic job of tracking things happening online such as form completions, demo requests.

Although, say you’re a B2B business that undergoes long and complicated sales cycles and regularly engages with new clients offline?

In this case, you’ll need to implement offline conversion tracking so that you can track offline activities driven by your marketing efforts.

While many marketers like to think of Google Analytics as a tool for tracking online engagements, you can use it to measure offline events happening away from your website.

The best methods to track your offline conversions in Google Analytics are:

 

Vanity URLs For Offline Advertising

A vanity URL is a custom URL used for marketing purposes. While most of your users will visit your website by clicking, or at the very least copy and paste a link, some won’t.

Vanity URLs are most effective for any businesses that run offline campaigns such as, TV, print and billboards.

To show you how it works, we’re going to take you through a step-by-step guide on how to set up a vanity URL for a print advertising campaign.

Step 1: Purchase a vanity URL

Purchase a unique domain which you would want to feature in your print advertising. Ideally, keep it as relevant to your brand as possible.

google analytics conversion tracking - vanity url - step 1 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 2: Create a URL that is trackable

After purchasing the URL, you’ll need to ensure that it’s trackable. To achieve this, head on over to “Google’s URL builder” to create a UTM.

In the website URL, add in the destination page where you want your readers to land when they type in your Vanity URL. Then, add in any relevant information in the remaining campaign fields.

You can find more information on UTMs here.

google analytics conversion tracking - vanity url - step 2 - www.ruleranalytics

 

Step 3: Redirect/Forward the URL to your destination page

Go to the provider where you purchased the vanity URL and log in to your account. In the account setting for that URL, select the “redirect” or “forward” option. Copy and paste the campaign tracking URL you generated in Google’s URL builder.

 

Step 4: Create an offline report in Google Analytics 

1. Go to your Google Analytics account.
2. Click on the website account for which you’re setting up a vanity URL
3. Go to “Dashboard” and select “New Dashboard”
4. Navigate to “Starter Dashboard” and name it something you will remember.
5. To view new visits from your vanity URL click “Add a Filter” under “Filter this Data.”

 

Step 5: Test your campaign! 

Before you launch your campaign, make sure to test your vanity URL, and check your Google Analytics report to ensure everything is displayed correctly.

 

Phone Call Tracking in Google Analytics

Important Note: Google Analytics doesn’t have the functionality readily available to track phone calls. So, you will need a 3rd party call tracking solution if you want to successfully track phone calls in Google Analytics.

For this demonstration, we’re going to use Ruler Analytics call tracking solution to show you how you would set up offline conversion tracking using a 3rd party tool.

Ruler Analytics allows you to integrate with Google Analytics to create Goals for Phone Calls via our official Google Analytics technology partner integration, allowing you to track calls throughout the Google Analytics and Ads reporting suite.

Step 1: Login into Google Analytics and click on “Admin”.

google analytics conversion tracking - call conversions - step 1 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 2: Click on “Goals”.

google analytics conversion tracking - call conversions - step 2 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 3: Select “+ NEW GOAL”.

google analytics conversion tracking - call conversions - step 3 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 4: Click on “Custom”.

google analytics conversion tracking - call conversions - step 4 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 5: Give the Goal a name such as “Phone Call” and choose type “Event” then click on “Continue”.

google analytics conversion tracking - call conversions - step 5 - www.ruleranalytics.com

 

Step 6: Type “Call” to “Category | Equal to” and “Inbound|Offline” to “Action | Regular Expression”.

 

Online to Offline Conversion Tracking with Ruler Analytics

So, we’ve just shown you how to track phone calls as Goals in Google Analytics so that you can see which of your marketing campaigns and channels are driving the most call conversions.

Which is great, as it means you’re one step closer to measuring the effectiveness of your marketing activities.

That said, it’s always important to remember that:

Conversions and Goals in Google Analytics aren’t sales.

More often than not, businesses that are struggling with sales aren’t short of leads. The problem is usually down to a lack of qualified conversions.

Let’s quickly take a look at an example:

You’re Head of Marketing for an Analytics software company.

In the next marketing meeting, your boss allocates you £10,000 to spend on marketing and sets you an objective to generate more demo requests.

After some consideration, you decided to spend the budget across Facebook and Google paid.

Over a month, you spend £5,000 on both Facebook and Google Paid.

At the end of the period, you log into Google Analytics and navigate to your acquisition report.

You see that Facebook generated 70 conversions and Google just 20 conversions.

Based on those results, it would make sense to cut back spend on your Google Paid campaign and hone in on the opportunities of Facebook.

What if we told you that Facebook was driving low-quality leads that dropped out at the consideration phase, and Google Paid delivered more revenue and a much higher Lifetime Value (LTV).

Would you still cut your budget on Google Paid?

You could have the greatest marketing in the world, but it’s worthless if it doesn’t attract the right people.

If you’re serious about taking your marketing to the next level to secure jobs and budget moving forward then you need to start looking beyond conversions and Goals in Google Analytics.

You need a solution that will help you connect conversion data from your analytics and ads accounts with revenue in your CRM system.

The good news is that Ruler Analytics can offer a solution.

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.

It allows you to align revenue from your CRM with marketing data in Google Analytics so that it can track your visitor’s multiple touchpoints to measure and attribute value accurately across the entire sales cycle.

Here’s how it works:

google analytics conversion tracking - sales journey - www.ruleranalytics.com

1. Ruler tracks each anonymous visitor to the website over multiple sessions, traffic sources and keywords.

2. When a visitor converts, data is captured via form, call tracking or live chat on your website.

3. Ruler matches the real user’s details with their marketing touchpoints.

4. The marketing and conversion data is sent to your CRM. Marketing data includes channel, source, campaign, keyword and/or landing page.

5. Ruler’s attribution solution allows you to analyse the impact throughout the entire sales cycle. Once the opportunity is closed into revenue, Ruler passes this data back to your Google analytics and paid media tools so that you can report on revenue.

 

Final Thoughts

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 Goals in your Analytics account is a great first step to having actionable information that you can use to make smart decisions.

Once you’ve created goals, 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 demo with one of our experts to learn more about offline conversion tracking, or download our eBook for more information on our closed-loop analytics solution.

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Written by

Digital Marketing Manager at Ruler Analytics with a background in SEO, analytics, content marketing and paid social. I help people (like me) close the loop between marketing-generated leads and revenue.