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 right hand corner and you’ll see a dropdown menu. Select Analytics. You’ll be redirected to a page where you can choose the Google account you want to use.

google analytics sign up

Click Sign Up, then, 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 redirected to your Google Analytics account.

Step 3. Start Tracking Your Website

Inside your new Google Analytics account, you will see your Tracking ID and your Analytics tracking code. You can also find this at any time by going to Admin » Property » Tracking Info. 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 web page 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 MonsterInsights plugin and activate it.

how to track conversions with monster insights and google analytics

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

Then click on the Authenticate with your Google account button.

Authenticate-with-Google-Analytics-and-MonsterInsights

You’ll see a dialog box pop up that looks like this, so you can select the Google account you want to use:

8 MonsterInsights-Authentication-Select-Your-Google-Account

Click on the blue Allow button so MonsterInsights can access your Google Analytics data.

9 MonsterInsights-Authentication-with-Google-Process

Choose the Google Analytics website profile you want to authenticate with MonsterInsights.

9b mi authentication

Complete the authentication process by clicking I’m not a robot. You’re all set.

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 marketing campaigns – 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 opt in. 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 marketing campaigns, you’ll have to create a separate conversion goal to track each one. You’ll also have to make sure that each campaign 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 marketing campaigns. (More on that in the next section.)

Using Google Analytics + OptinMonster

If you’re using OptinMonster, tracking conversions on your campaigns is super easy. 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 tab

You’ll see Google Analytics listed under Non-Active Connections. Click the Connect button to connect.

connect Google Analytics to campaign

In the screen that comes up, click the green Generate Authentication Code button.

Generate Authentication Code

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.

allow access to Google account

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

copy google analytics code

Paste the code into the Authentication Code 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 green Next button.

enter Google authentication code

You should see this success message after clicking Next:

Google Analytics successfully connected

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:

view analytics detail

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:

analytics graph 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 pretty 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 find out how to get actionable insights with a custom Google Analytics dashboard, and how to get lead magnet ideas with Google Analytics.

Want to know how people behave on your website when they see or interact with your OptinMonster campaigns, as compared to other visitors? It’s easier than you might think! Check out our tutorial on How to Analyze the Effects of OptinMonster Campaigns on User Behavior.

Not using OptinMonster yet? Try us FREE for 7 days!

Jacinda Santora
Jacinda Santora is a writer specializing in ecommerce and growth marketing. She prides herself on her ability to make complicated things easier. When she isn't writing you can find her daydreaming about campervans, drinking coffee, and listening to podcasts.

Comments

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

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

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

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

  7. 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 May 15, 2017 at 5:58 am

      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. 🙂

  8. I have search on google how many goals we can setup in premium account don’t get exact answer except more than 25 goals setup, what is the exact number of goals not mention anywhere any one tell me please how many number of goals are in google analytics

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall March 26, 2018 at 9:14 am

      You can have 20 per view, Ashok. Hope that helps. 🙂 Next, check out our guide to creating a custom Google Analytics dashboard.