Google Analytics 101: How to Track Your Conversions (Step-by-Step)

Want to track your conversions using Google Analytics, but not sure where to start? Google Analytics can be intimidating if you are new to it, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need to get started are the basics. In this post, we’ll share how to track your conversions in Google Analytics, step-by-step.

“Analytics.” That can be a scary sounding word. Many people assume that analytics are only something that technology gurus with multiple degrees can interpret. However, we’re here to tell you that analyzing your website data doesn’t have to be scary or confusing.

In fact, thanks to some free and premium tools (such as Google Analytics + MonsterInsights or OptinMonster), gaining relevant insights into what’s working and what’s not is actually quite effortless.

In just a few simple steps, you can set up your Google Analytics account and create conversion goals so that you can track your email list signups and understand what’s driving your success, or holding you back.

Let’s dig in!

Setting Up Your Google Analytics Account

Let’s begin with your Google Analytics account. If you don’t have an account, then this is the first place to start. If you already have an account, just skip over the first two steps below and start at Step 3.

Here are some simple steps to follow to get up and running with Google Analytics…

Step 1: Create a Google Account

In order to use Google Analytics, you need to have a Google account. If you already have a primary Google account such as Gmail, YouTube, or Google Drive, then you’ll want to set up your Google Analytics account under the same name. Otherwise, you’ll need to create a new one.

Step 2: Sign Up for Google Analytics

Once you have a Google account, you’ll need to sign up for Google Analytics.

google analytics homepage

Click the “Sign In” link in the upper righthand corner and you’ll see a drop down menu. Select “Google Analytics”. Then you can click on the “Sign Up” button.

google analytics sign up

On the next page, select “Website” and fill in your details, including Account Name, Website Name, URL, Industry and your Time Zone.

google analytics setup1

Check the boxes next to all the recommended options, and then hit the blue “Get Tracking ID” button.

google analytics setup2

You will then be asked to accept the Terms of Service.

google analytics terms of service

After you hit the “I Accept” button, you will be brought into your Google Analytics account.

Step 3. Start Tracking Your Website

Inside your new Google Analytics account, you will see your Tracking ID and your Universal Analytics tracking code. There are several different methods of setting up your website with Google Analytics, some of which use one of these codes.

google analytics codes

If you don’t have a WordPress site, you can copy and paste the Website tracking code into every webpage that you want to track. If you are unsure of how to do this, you may want to have your web developer do this step for you.

However, if you have a WordPress site, there is a much easier way to do it yourself. Simply install the Google Analytics by MonsterInsights plugin and activate it.

google analytics by monsterinsights

Next, navigate to the Insights tab in your admin menu and select Settings.

Then click on the “Authenticate with your Google account” button, and you’ll see a dialog box pop up that looks like this:

monsterinsights allow

Click on the blue “Allow” button. Then, you’ll be given a code. Copy that code to your clipboard and close out the dialog box.

monsterinsights code

Then, paste the code in the other dialog box inside your WordPress admin that says “Paste your Google code here”.

monsterinsights paste code

Hit the “Save authentication code” button and you’re all done!

How to Set Up Conversion Goals

Now that you’ve successfully installed Google Analytics on your website, you may be feeling a little (or a lot!) overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of it. Well, you are in good company. That’s why so many people insert a tracking code onto their websites and then call it quits.

Why is Google Analytics so complex? Well, it’s pretty powerful stuff.

“The problem is that an ‘out of the box’ Google Analytics implementation will only get you so far,” SEO expert Glenn Gabe explains. “Sure, you’ll get the basics, but that won’t necessarily help you glean insights that can boost ROI.”

So the bottom line is, you’re going to have to do a bit of your own setup. However, once you do, you will be able to gather some golden insights.

While there are plenty of aspects of Google Analytics that you don’t need to learn or master at this point, you absolutely must familiarize yourself with conversion goals.

You can do a variety of things with conversion goals, but because so many of you have asked us about how to track email optins–and because list building is so crucial to the success of any business online–we are going to focus on tracking email list signups.

Don’t worry– it’s actually pretty simple once you know how to do it. Let’s take a look…

Step 1: Create a New Goal

First, select the Admin tab at the top of the page. This will take you to a page with three columns: Account, Property and View.

google analytics admin tab

Under the View column, you’ll see the heading Goals (third down from the top). Go ahead and click on this last heading.

google analytics select goals

Once you’re on the Goals page, click the red “+ New Goal” button.

google analytics new goal button

Step 2: Choose Goal Setup

Next, under “Goal setup”, select the “Custom” radio button at the very bottom of all the options and click “Continue”.

google analytics custom

Step 3: Enter Goal Description

You’ll be prompted to create a name for your goal and choose the type. Enter any name that will help you to remember the conversion you are tracking, and select “Destination” as the type. Then hit the “Continue” button.

google analytics goal description

Step 4: Enter Goal Details

Next, you’ll need to enter the URL for your thank you page: this is the page that a new subscriber sees just after they optin. Type it into the Destination field.

Optionally, you can also toggle “Value” on to enter a monetary value to the conversion. Do this if you know how much each email lead is worth to you. (For instance, if you know that the average lifetime value of a customer is $1,000, and your average customer acquisition rate is 1%, then each lead would be worth $10.)

The “Funnel” option is usually more useful if you are tracking a conversion that happens further down your funnel (such as a sale), so we are going to skip that for now.

Then, hit “Save”.

google analytics goal details

Step 5: Start Recording

As soon as a goal is created, Google Analytics will begin recording data. Now all you have to do is wait.

google analytics goal recording on

(You can always pause a goal by changing the recording status to “off.”)

Step 6: View Your Data

Because you’ve only just started tracking your website, there won’t be any data to show. However, you can view your data by going to Acquisition » Overview and selecting your new goal under the “Conversion” dropdown menu.

google analytics acquisition overview

This will allow you to see your “top channels” which are your top sources of traffic. You will also be able to see a graph of your “sessions”, which is how many times someone has visited your site (each session can include multiple page views).

What you’ll want to look at is your conversion rate in the third section of columns on the right-hand side:

google analytics conversion rate

This will allow you to see which channels are giving you the highest conversion rates. And, if you’ve specified a monetary value to your leads, you will be able to see that total number in the rightmost column.

You can use all of this information to determine which channels you should focus your attention on.

You can also change the dates in the upper right-hand corner to view the specific window of time that you are interested in.

The only downside to conversion goals is that, if you have multiple optin forms, you’ll have to create a separate conversion goal to track each one. You’ll also have to make sure that each optin has its own separate thank you page, otherwise you won’t be able to differentiate your conversion goals.

However, if you have OptinMonster, there is a much easier way to use Google Analytics to track conversion rates on each of your individual optin forms. (More on that in the next section.)

Using Google Analytics + OptinMonster

If you are using OptinMonster, tracking conversions on your optins is even easier. You don’t have to create any conversion goals inside Google Analytics, and you don’t even have to use a thank you page if you don’t want to.

To start using OptinMonster and Google Analytics together, go to the Analytics tab from your edit screen in OptinMonster:

optinmonster analytics

In the dropdown menu under “Google Analytics Account”, select “Add new account.” Then, click on the “Generate Authentication Code” button.

A new browser tab will open up to ask you if you will allow OptinMonster to view your Google Analytics data. Click the blue “Allow” button.

optinmonster allow google analytics

Next, it will give you a code. Copy this code, and then go back to the browser tab with your OptinMonster edit screen.

optinmonster google analytics code

Paste the code into the Authorization Token field. Then, give your Google Analytics account a name in the Account Label (just pick a name that will help you remember which account you are connecting to). Hit the blue “Authenticate with Google Analytics” button.

optinmonster google analytics authorization token

If you are tracking more than one website within your Google Analytics account, you’ll want to select the website you are currently using under the Website Profile dropdown menu.

optinmonster website profile

Now you will be able to collect data from Google Analytics and view your conversion rate right from within your OptinMonster account by clicking on the analytics icon next to your optin form:

optinmonster click on analytics icon

After acquiring a bit of data, you will be able to view a report for each of your optin forms that looks something like this:

optinmonster analytics overview

That’s it! We hope this article has helped you to learn how to use Google Analytics to track your conversions.

Google Analytics can seem intimidating at first due to all the options available, but it’s actually quite simple once you know what data to focus on.

Creating conversion goals allows you to view the data that’s really important: your email list conversion rates. Or, you can simply integrate OptinMonster with your Google Analytics account in a few clicks and start gathering conversion data on each of your optin forms right away.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out 7 Steps to Optimize Your Facebook Ads for Conversions.

Mary Fernandez
Mary Fernandez is a professional blogger. When she’s not at her desk, you can usually find Mary exploring sunny San Diego, CA with her laptop, husband, and three kids in tow.

Comments

  1. Roy Miller says:

    Mary, this is a very in depth article. I like that you show all of the steps visually, not just a bunch of text. There is much to be learned from this. Thank you for posting it.

    1. Mary Fernandez Mary Fernandez says:

      I am so happy it was helpful for you, Roy!! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. Shubhankar says:

    Hi Mary, this is very nice and depth blog for beginners but in future can you post a blog on How to decide marketing tactics based on google analytics data? OR How google analytics data can useful to create new marketing tactics? so it can be social media marketing or it can be content marketing or it can be email marketing. Thanks for sharing this information but I would like to know more about google analytics. Hope so we will met soon with your new viral blog 🙂
    Thank you,
    Cheers,
    Shubhankar Borade.

    1. Mary Fernandez Mary Fernandez says:

      Hey Shubhankar! Thanks for the suggestion. As a matter of fact, I have a post planned on how to use Google Analytics to get ideas for lead magnets, so stay tuned for that! 🙂

  3. Anil says:

    I already had my Google Analytics account setup and tracking code on my website. But, this post was so cool to setup my goals. Setup 3 opt-in goals: 1) Blog MP3 opt-in, 2) Blog PDF opt-in, 3) my main lead magnet ebook opt-in. Thanks Mary for clear steps for doing this!

    1. Mary Fernandez Mary Fernandez says:

      Yay!! That is awesome, Anil! I’m so glad this helped you to set up those 3 optin goals. 🙂

  4. Troy says:

    Hi Mary,

    With the thank you page link that gets put in, how does this work for people that use Leadpages? Because the link they give you is not a link hosted on our own site (it has ‘leadpages.co in the middle of the link) Google Analytics is unable to record the data.

    Thanks

    1. Mary Fernandez Mary Fernandez says:

      Hey Troy! I know Leadpages has a place to insert code into the head tags for Facebook ad pixels and such, but I’m not sure if it would work to put the Google Analytics code there… You’ll probably have to ask Leadpages about that.

  5. Robert Hii says:

    hi Mary thanks for this article i finally learn some basic conversation tracking process.

    in your article it says each of the different channels. However, i would like to see conversion from different pages instead. for example. 10 people visit page A, and from analytic see how many people of the 10 click on contact us and submit inquiry after visiting page A.

    can what you show in this article do the same thing?

    1. Mary Fernandez Mary Fernandez says:

      Hey Robert! Yes, you would follow these same steps and simply enter your Contact Us page as the destination URL.

  6. Mary says:

    I am using a Yes/No optin and the ‘no’ option sends users to another website of mine. In google analytics is there a way to track the users who visit the site from that optin link?

    1. Mary Fernandez Mary Fernandez says:

      Yes! There are a few ways to do it, but probably the best way is with Google Tag Manager. Here’s a tutorial.

  7. Nadim says:

    Hi Mary,

    I have setup and tested a Goal twice, but in View –> Goals it says the conversions is 0, but in Real Time –> Conversion is says 2.

    Also where do i see all my goals. Because it shows only Goals in the last 30 minutes.

    Thanks.

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall says:

      Hi Nadim, this guide from Google tells you a couple of places where you can see data on goals, and has some other useful info. Hope this helps. 🙂

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