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Improve Conversion Using Google Analytics & Virtual Pageviews

This article extends on a recent article written by Matt on the 4 Ways To Measure Your Conversions With PPC.  To Measure your website –  goals are essential. I can’t put it better than Matt’s statement:-

‘Goals and conversions are where it’s at. These are the true measure of success in your PPC campaigns (and everything else for that matter!). Clicks tell you the number of people who arrived at your site, but tell you nothing about what they did in terms of interacting with your web site and completing tasks.’

But did you know that you can measure goals for all your traffic sources in Google Analytics?  It is great to be able to see how effective your Pay Per Click spend is, but below I help describe how to measure conversions using the Google Analytics tool.

Tracking Goals

Most of the time, tracking a conversion or goal through Google Analytics is relatively straightforward.  For example, when a thank you page is accessed after a lead is submitted or a checkout is completed, add these goals to your Google Analytics profile and suddenly you have the ability to see how effective your traffic sources and keywords are being at creating conversions. In fact, by applying these goals you can look at how a huge number of metrics affect goal conversion.

The graphic  to the right provides a snapshot of which traffic sources have resulted in goal completion. As you can see, placing a value for the goal allows a per visit value to be calculated, valuable information for deciding where to allocate your campaign budgets.

Tracking Tricky Goals

Sometimes in Google Analytics, we need to track a goal that doesn’t have a page to record a visit to. This can be a mail form that doesn’t link to a thank you page, or perhaps a link to an external link to an online reservation system.  How do we track this?

Google Analytics has a simple solution. Use a javascript call to the analytics tracking code to create a virtual pageview. Let me show you how:

1) Identify the goal/link to track.   Example below is for an online booking system for a hotel chain.

2) We simply need to add the following javascript to the button <a> link. To create a virtual page view.


3) Add the virtual page as a goal in the account profile, and hey presto… you’re tracking conversions that you previously weren’t!

The image to the right shows 5 email inquiries that were initially considered to be the only conversions on this site. Now, because we have setup a new goal, we can also see 144 online reservations that were not being tracked before. This provides a much more accurate picture of how effective this website is being.

The Goal of Goals

The aim of all this goal measurement is to understand the true value of your website and the internet marketing campaigns that you are running.  It is understanding how many customers your site really brings to you which then allows you to see how effective your online ad spend is for you. Measuring goals as effectively as possible unlocks this information and allows you to make “data driven decisions”.  There is nothing better then taking opinion out of your decision making and going with ones that are driven by data.

Post By Jon Dyer (18 Posts)

Jon is the VP of Operations at TechWyse and analyzes everything. This includes your analytics accounts and the difference between Coke and Pepsi. He often shares with us his advanced level knowledge of campaign analysis and Google Analytics.

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