6 Ways to Track Leads in Google Analytics

Laura Caveney
6th December 2021

We asked marketing professionals for their tips on lead tracking in Google Analytics. Keep reading to see the critical analysis of their insight and what’s missing. 

78% of marketers track leads as a key marketing metric. But 37% of marketers stated that generating high-quality leads was one of their biggest challenges. 

So, where is the disconnect when it comes to lead tracking? 

For this blog, 100% of marketers we spoke to said they use Google Analytics (alongside other tools) to track their leads. 

Keep reading to learn: 

Let’s get stuck in. 

What is a lead in Google Analytics? 

You can’t view leads in Google Analytics due to how it reports on data. Since GA can’t track IP addresses or give visitor-level analytics, it reports on your traffic as a whole. 

And while this is great for understanding holistically how users engage with your website and landing pages, it doesn’t give much insight into how they’re converting. 

Pro Tip 🚀

Want to learn more about getting revenue in your Google Analytics dashboard? Download our guide and get started with revenue attribution.

The difficulty with tracking leads in Google Analytics 

Google Analytics works to highlight data around your traffic as a whole. It cannot break down individual users so they’re identifiable as there are limitations when it comes to using IP addresses. 

Susan Melony, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Product Diggers added, “Saving any user’s IP address isn’t permitted, you won’t be able to follow leads on a person-by-person basis using Google Analytics.”


Why you should track leads in Google Analytics 

While an overview of your traffic is helpful, it only tells you so much. A session doesn’t guarantee a lead and a lead doesn’t guarantee a sale. 

So, while it’s important to keep an eye on how users are engaging with your website, it doesn’t mean those people have, or will ever convert. 

By tracking leads, you can better understand how well your website is converting users overall, plus break it down by channel, campaign, ad and more. 

We found that only 23% of marketers are confident they’re tracking the right KPIs. We also found that marketers using different conversion types had varying levels of success when it came to tracking those conversions. 

% of marketers who use this conversion type% of marketers who struggle to track this conversion
Live chat33%53%

When 91% of marketers say that lead generation is their most important goal, it’s important that you’re tracking leads correctly. So, let’s get into the best ways to start tracking leads in Google Analytics. 

How to track leads in Google Analytics 

We asked marketing professionals for their insight when it comes to tracking leads in Google Analytics. From our research, we found six key ways that marketers track their leads inside Google Analytics. 

The most popular was to create a goal, with 50% of marketers stating this as the main way they track their leads. 

Coming in at the bottom was attribution, which just 2% of marketers stated they used to track their leads. 

Note ✏️

We’re an attribution tool, so we think it’s pretty important! Attribution is actually a missed trick by most marketers as it can actually help you tie closed revenue (not just leads) back to your marketing channels and campaigns. Plus, it can send all of that data back to Google Analytics. Skip to attribution to read more on that. 

Let’s go into each method of tracking leads one by one with some expert commentary from our marketers. 

Set up attribution  

Marketing attribution is a tool that you can use to link anonymous website sessions to converted leads in your CRM. 

Related: Complete guide to marketing attribution

Keenan Beavis, Lead Growth Consultant at Longhouse Media said, “Storing IP addresses isn’t allowed, so you won’t be able to track leads individually using Google Analytics. Combining your CRM with Google Analytics helps you to better understand how visitors browse and engage with your site. It also helps you provide closed-loop data. Closed-loop reporting allows you to compare Google Analytics data to CRM data, allowing you to track a lead from prospect to customer. Using this data, you may assess your sales and marketing performance.”

Remember, marketing attribution tools like Ruler Analytics use closed-loop attribution which means you can connect anonymous website sessions to leads, and then to revenue. 

It also allows you to effortlessly track conversion types like forms, calls, live chat conversations and more. 

Create a goal in Google Analytics

Goals in Google Analytics allow you to track custom events like form submissions, downloads etc. 

Conversion tracking in GA is a great way to get started with lead tracking.

Tim Absalikov, co-founder, and CEO of Lasting Trend – Digital Marketing Agency said, “Goals in Google Analytics are a great way to track the interactions of site visitors with your site. This includes things like sales transactions, button clicks, and downloads.

Related: How to calculate and assign a value to a goal in Google Analytics

To track the interactions of your site visitors, you need to define a goal in your Google Analytics account. Then, when the visitor reaches your goal, you are given one conversion counter. By analyzing the Google Analytics metrics, you can see how many actions your site visitors took and how well your site is performing in accordance with your goal.”

Related: How to set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics 

Check your conversion rate

Melanie Bedwell, eCommerce Manager at OLIPOP, added, “Tracking leads in Google Analytics is an easy and efficient tool our company uses to find new customers. Before you do anything else, set up your goals and conversions. For your goals, you can choose from four categories: destination or URL, event, duration or time spent on site, and pages per session.

“Personally, we like to see how long customers spend on our site. If they’re spending more than a minute for instance, they’re most likely interested in our product and are trying to either find out more information or sign up for our monthly subscription. Once you set your goal, you can track your conversion rate which actually tells you if you’re converting your leads or not. Every business should be utilizing Google Analytics if they want to turn their leads into clients.”

Tyler Brooks, Founder at Analytive’s advice was, “It sounds simple, but just do it! Even tracking *some* lead data puts you way ahead of the competition. Most people don’t set up goals (or set them up properly) which means you don’t have good data to run your business.”

⚡️ Pro Tip

Not sure what your conversion rate benchmark is? No worries. We compiled millions of datapoints to bring you the average conversion rate across all major industries.

Read the average conversion rates by industry.

Connect your CRM to Google Analytics 

Where do you track and nurture your leads?

A CRM is usually a great place to get started with that. And remember, you can also use a Google Sheet if you’re only handling small numbers of leads. 

Related: How to link your CRM to Google Analyticshttps://www.ruleranalytics.com/blog/analytics/google-analytics-crm/

Get lead source data

Keenan Beavis, Lead Growth Consultant at Longhouse Media, advised, “The most effective and time-tested technique to monitor leads in Google Analytics is to use a premium CRM application to manage form data. This means supplying your CRM with a lot more data than just the lead data and creating many custom fields in the website form. Google Analytics data can help your CRM software learn more about each lead.

Your CRM platform will determine how you link the two. It’s simple to put this up with very little coding experience if you utilise the HubSpot CRM (it’s free!). Other CRM platforms, on the other hand, may necessitate the assistance of a developer.”

Patrick Crane, CEO of Love Sew added, “Integrating your CRM tool with Google Analytics will help drastically improve your lead tracking and optimisation techniques. This pairing provides you with a comprehensive and personalized snapshot of a potential lead’s journey. When combined with lead data from Google Analytics, the data collected through the CRM tool will allow you to develop a better understanding of how each site visitor is interacting with and moving around the site. From these insights, you can figure out what actions your most qualified leads take when they are on your website. You can then determine the best course of action at each stage of each individual prospect’s journey to turn these qualified leads into actual sales conversions. 

Related: How to send lead source info to your CRM

But remember, the CRM integration will only pull through form submissions.

Track lead form data

As Alex Rector, Marketing Director, TheraPlatform, explains, “Using a premier CRM programme to handle the data obtained through forms and filtering it into leads is the most effective and time-tested way to track leads in Google Analytics. This means providing a lot of additional data to your CRM in addition to the lead data, as well as generating multiple custom fields in the website form. But your CRM software will know more about each lead owing to information acquired in Google Analytics.”

Note ✏️

Your CRM won’t be able to accurately track every conversion. Here’s how to:

Track form submissions
Track phone calls
Track live chat

Create thank you page and track users 

One other way to track form submissions is to use thank you pages. If you use a thank you page (make sure it’s not indexed so it won’t appear in Google search results), then you can get an idea of how people landed on that page. 

Caroline Hoy, CMO, Concord agreed, “Your thank-you page allows you to better follow your prospects and ensure that they are not only website visitors but also action-takers.”

Gavin Johnson, Managing Director at EV Cable added, “A well-written thank-you note may help your company in many ways. It validates that your leads have done an activity, like downloading a freebie from your website. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to promote your newsletter or other next steps with the reader. First, I fill out the lead generating form, set up/modify the Google Analytics objectives as needed, and create a customised thank you page. Those that choose conversion will be sent to this page. Once this is done, Google Analytics starts recording and we can see which channels are bringing us the most traffic, conversions, and leads. That visitor is a valuable lead since they can only get to these pages by filling out a form on your site. I use objectives to track how many people go to the Thank-you page.

For beginners, just generating thank-you pages for when someone submits a form on your website is a terrific approach to monitor leads. You instruct Google Analytics to track every time someone visits your thank-you page, and you’re off!”

Create a Google Tag Manager and set up events 

Google Tag Manager is another great way to track key actions on your website. 

Maja Teagle, SEO Manager at Boostability said, “We track SEO leads by creating Event and Destination goals (tags and triggers) in Google Tag Manager for things like phone call clicks, form submissions, thank you or confirmation page visits, and engagement with CTAs. Our Google Analytics account is connected to our Google Tag Manager account so the information is transferred over where we can analyze it on a deeper level.

“It gives us insight on how people are engaging with our web pages and CTAs, plus we can test out different lead generation and CTA strategies to see if engagement and conversions improve or decrease based on our updates.

It allows for greater transparency across the board so we can strategize more effectively and drive better results for the business.”

Use tracked URLs 

You should ideally be using tracked URLs across your marketing campaigns and channels. But they’re particularly useful for understanding how users engage and convert. 

Susan Melony, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Product Diggers said, “Consider a tracking URL to be a label you may add to your original URL. It’s simply like a standard URL, except with a text string at the end that serves as our label. When appended to the end of a URL, this line of text is known as UTM (urchin tracking module) code or UTM parameters, and it can assist break down your website visitors’ source when your source URL is clicked.

You may use free tools like Google’s URL Builder to create bespoke campaign URLs.

Because you can measure the efficacy of your whole campaign at a detailed level with campaign tracking codes, or tracking URLs, you can receive important insights into your marketing efforts.”

Note ✏️

Remember, if you don’t have eCommerce capability on your website, then tracked URLs won’t be able to show you much. If you combine tracked URLs with goals, then you will be able to drill down on how campaign pages work to drive certain conversions. 

Wrapping up 

We found that 78% of marketers track leads as a key marketing metric. Only 64% of marketers track revenue

That’s a fairly big disparity. And while lead tracking is important, understanding how your marketing impacts revenue is even more important. 

Not sure how to get started with revenue attribution? You’re not alone. But, by switching it to marketing attribution you can reduce your spend and increase metrics like return on investment and return on ad spend. That means more sales at a lower cost, what more could you want?! 

Read how Ruler can attribute your closed sale revenue back to your marketing. Or see exactly why you need a tool like Ruler in your marketing stack. 

How ruler attribution revenue to your marketing - banner - www.ruleranlytics.com