How Goals and Funnels Improve Conversion Rate Optimization

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 26, 2017 9:05:00 AM

The point of conversion rate optimization is to assess where your website’s visitors are falling off the wagon—and why. While there are plenty of tools available to help you evaluate your CRO, we’ve found that several of the features in Google Analytics—the Goals and corresponding Sales Funnels options--are especially useful. Learn how setting goals and funnels helps you improve conversion rate optimization and evaluate where your visitors aren’t converting. 

how-goals-and-funnels-help-you-improve-conversion-rate-optimization-analytics.pngMany businesses and organizations already use Google Analytics to track their website visits, percentage of new visitors, number of unique sessions, and so on. The benefit of the Google Analytics Goals feature is that it allows you measure how often your website users complete specific actions. 

In Goals, you set target metrics based around 4 main templates: whether users visit a destination URL, the duration of time per session, a specific number of page views per session, or an event, such as clicking an ad or playing a video on your site. 

One of the benefits of the Goals feature is it forces organizations to reconsider their target objectives. Ask yourself: What is the number one thing that I want visitors to my site to do? Since there are 4 distinct types of goals you can set up, you need to take into account what you want out of your users and how your website can get them to that point. 

For example, an ecommerce site’s main goal is for users to make a purchase, while a marketing agency wants its target users to fill out a lead generation form, and an association wants potential members to join! In Goals, you can set up a thank you page as the target destination URL to see who is submitting a form or making a purchase.

By setting up goals, you are compelled to reevaluate why your conversion rate tactics aren’t working, and make sure that your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) align with what your organization wants to accomplish. 

When you enter a destination goal into Analytics, you can set up a corresponding funnel to track which pages your users are visiting before they reach the final destination URL and complete the goal you’ve set up.

While Goals are extremely helpful in encouraging people to rethink their website’s top priorities, the corresponding how-goals-and-funnels-help-you-improve-conversion-rate-optimization.pngFunnels option requires you to think about your website’s configuration. Imagine the path your users take from the first page they see and ask which pages they might visit in the interim as they make their way toward your end goal. In the Funnel option, you set up exactly which URLs users would likely visit on the way to your end path. 

For instance, on an association’s website, new visitors might first visit your home page, then your “About” page, and then a page on your membership benefits, all before they reach the end URL destination: where they join your organization and pay their dues.

The Funnel Visualization and Goal Flow reports allow you to see at exactly which point users drop off and leave your website. You can view page by page what percentage of your visitors from the first page in the funnel are making their way to the next step in the process. The benefit of this specificity is that you can find out precisely what sections of your website are not converting as well as others, and figure out how to improve them. When you pinpoint the pages that need improvement, you can selectively make small changes to determine exactly which variable is hurting your conversion rate.

Let’s say your conversion rate is seeing a big drop at your Member Benefits page. Setting up goals and funnels helped you reach this point so you could isolate which website page is performing poorly. The next step is to figure out which element of the page is the problem that’s preventing people from converting to your destination URL: the page where they become a member. 

Consider the following issues:

  • the copy on the page doesn’t provide enough information to actually get people to join
  • your call to action doesn’t imply urgency
  • website navigation is unclear and users can’t tell what step they need to complete next 

These are all potential problems that could be plaguing your page. If you start changing stuff all over the place, you can’t evaluate which part went wrong. But if you selectively make edits to each section using A/B testing tools, you can greatly improve your conversion rate. 

When you are trying to improve your conversion rate, be smart about it. Use tools available to identify exactly where your website is having difficulty converting and focus on those key areas. Using Google Analytics Goals and Funnels help your organization reexamine which objectives on your site are top priorities and determine where in your website’s configuration your users are ending their journey.


Topics: Conversion, analytics, conversion rate optimization

Jessica Hirsch

Written by Jessica Hirsch