How Much Are Your Visitors Worth? Google Will Tell You… For Free!

  • August 3, 2010 by Guest Writer
  • 45 Comments

How much are your visitors worth?

Guest post by Karol Gajda of Ridiculously Extraordinary

If you’ve got a Web presence (blog or otherwise) that you’re monetizing this may be one of the most eye-opening articles you read this year.

If you’re selling anything or collecting e-mail subscribers (or you plan to eventually) and you don’t know your conversion rates you’re running blind.

Thankfully Google makes it very easy for you to track your stats. A seemingly little-known feature of free Google Analytics is something called Goals.

I’m not going to show you how to set up Google Analytics, because Google will do that for you. Essentially, you sign up for an Analytics account, create a Profile for your Web site, and install a bit of code that Google provides onto that Web site.

Like I stated, we’re going to talk about Google Analytics Goals.

To access the Goals editor, login to Google Analytics, and look to the far right of your Web site profile where you will see this:

Click Edit and from there you’ll see the Goal Sets. Here is what mine looks like:

As you can see I have 2 different Goal Sets. Goal Set 1 is for non-sales such as my “Freedom Fighters” eCourse subscribers, and various goals based on time on site or page views.

Goal Set 2 is for sales of the two different versions of my How To Live Anywhere course.

To set up sales tracking for the Long Haul version I clicked on Add goal and filled out the page to look like this:

If you’re setting a goal with a thank you page (for a sale or an e-mail subscriber) you have to make sure to click the URL Destination.

In the next section of settings we have:

For Match Type you should use Head Match.

For the Goal URL type in the thank you page. This should be the page your buyer is redirected to immediately after purchasing. Paypal, e-junkie, 1shoppingcart, and Clickbank all make defining your thank you page straightforward. Whichever thank you page you used in your shopping cart is the one you should type in here.

Your Goal Value is the cost of the product.

As long as you have the aforementioned Google Analytics code installed correctly on your thank you page Google will start tracking your sales immediately. I’ll show you that in just a second.

First, let me quickly show you what your Goal page should look like if you want to set Pageviews or Time on site as a goal.

As you can see, in this screen shot I’ve set it up for Time on site of 4 minutes. That means if a visitor spends 4 minutes on my site Google Analytics tracks that as a Goal Conversion.

Now let’s get into the sales stats!

To find your sales stats go back to the Google Analytics home page and click on View report for your Web site profile:

Once you’ve done that you’ll have a plethora of options to look at. For this example I’m going to drill down and use traffic referred by Corbett’s Free Pursuits blog to my site in June of 2010:

As you can see, in June 2010 FreePursuits.com sent me 160 visitors.

Now let’s look at the Goal tracking:

So, from 160 visitors, with a 2.5% conversion rate you can figure out that FreePursuits sent 4 sales of How To Live Anywhere Long Haul Edition. As you can also see, each visitor FreePursuits sent me was worth $2.75.

The 29.38% Goal Conversion statistic includes all the goals, including the Pageview and Time on site goals I set up.

That may have seemed a little complicated, but I assure you, once you get into Google Analytics and do it, it is very easy. And more importantly, once you have Goals set up, you’ll know exactly which sites are bringing you sales. With that knowledge you’ll know where to focus your efforts.

Have you used Goals in Google Analytics? Do you know how much your visitors are worth? Let’s talk about it in the comments. If you have questions I’ll be happy to answer them below.

photo by CrazyFast

Karol Gajda, author of RidiculouslyExtraordinary.com.


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Dev - Technshare.com August 3, 2010 at 5:53 am

Hey Karol,

Really Great Post. Very useful article. I never though of doing this before.
Thanks for sharing this great Post. Great work karol. Retweeted…!!!

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 6:52 am

Thank you Dev! It’s a surprisingly little used, but very valuable feature, so you’re not the only one who hadn’t thought of using it before. :)

Ashley August 3, 2010 at 6:02 am

I’ve been wondering how the “goal” feature worked. Thanks for explaining it and it’s usefulness… I will definitely be using it to monitor my goals!

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 7:22 am

You’re welcome Ashley! :)

Onibalusi Bamidele August 3, 2010 at 6:18 am

Wow! Really great post Karol,

I just started using Google Analytics goals and I have been wanting to know how to track time on site, this post really taught me that :)

Thanks a lot for the great post,
-Onibalusi

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 7:23 am

Hey Onibalusi!

Glad I could help. :)

Mars Dorian August 3, 2010 at 7:12 am

Nice work Karol,

I actually use Google Analytics but I never even thought about doing the magic that you show us here.

Haven’t done a product yet, but I put in the hours to understand this goal system.

I remember reading your post on building a survey with Google docs. That was ass-kicking as well !

have an epic day !
Mars, now goal-oriented ;)

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 7:24 am

Thanks Mars! You’re welcome for the magic. ;)

Tony Ruiz August 3, 2010 at 7:24 am

Analytics is a great way to understand the user. May be the only way, a least from what I know. Great post Karol. You broke it down really well.

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 7:25 am

Thanks Tony. Analytics definitely helps understand our users. Analytics Goals help even more. :)

Lee Hughes August 3, 2010 at 7:31 am

Nice intro to goals,

You can also set up other funky stuff using GA. For example custom reporting which you can set up to track RSS. Not only that but you can set it to track where they can from, what page they subscribed from and the keywords they used etc etc..

Very handy :)

Thanks again for the post

Andrew August 3, 2010 at 9:35 am

Hey Lee, I’d be interested in learning how to do those things!

Steve August 3, 2010 at 7:46 am

Thanks Karol, for this article. I use analytics, but have not doe the goal thing yet. I just wasn’t sure how to go about it. I will be working on this today! Thanks again, and thank you Scott for having Karol as a guest!

Ofthesea August 3, 2010 at 7:54 am

FANTASTIC info! I thought goals was only for hitting a specific URL, off to tinker with Analytics to set up length and pageview goals!

Lee – cool tip too, will look into that too!

Karol, I’ll look into taking your course as soon as I’m done with my current Blogging 101 bootcamp. living all over is EXACTLY what i want to do. Do you contemplate travelling with children?

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Hey Ofthesea!

Since I don’t have children I only very briefly touched on the fact that it’s doable. http://www.soultravelers3.com and http://www.manvsdebt.com have both traveled with children … along with many other families, of course.

Joel Runyon August 3, 2010 at 10:05 am

Great write-up Karol.

Really fun to get inside your head and see how you run things on your own site. Good stuff!

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Thanks Joel!

Dave Doolin August 3, 2010 at 10:28 am

Yep, been using Goals for ages. Works great!

At some point last year I wrote up a long article about it too. This would be a good time for me to make another pass through that, make sure it’s up to date.

The best thing about using Goals is that it’s the best way I know to keep your head out of the clouds and feet firmly on the ground: the numbers don’t lie. I know when I’m getting a very low (ok, 0) conversion, what I’m doing isn’t working and it’s time to try something new.

But that’s a good thing!

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm

So true! The numbers definitely don’t lie. :) Thanks Dave!

Rebecca Osberg August 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm

A wonderful tool to know how to use. Are there any other Google Analytic tricks that a beginner user would be smart to learn?

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Hey Rebecca!

I you simply set up Google Analytics and then set some Goals you’ll be doing more than probably 99.99% of Google Analytics users. :)

Cheers,
Karol

Asatar Bair | University of the Heart August 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Nice article. I had used GA goals, but I like the addition of subscribers, time on site, page views, etc. I added those today and have been pleased to see 3 new subscribers, 10 visitors who looked at 5+ pages, 5 who looked at 10+, and 13 who spent 4+ min on site, just in the last few hours. That’s good stuff for a new blog such as ours.
Think traffic readers — use this power only for good!
Asatar

Erroin Martin August 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Excellent article! I have been focused primarily on the URL destination goals because it is the easiest one to set up. This tutorial on time, page views, and referral sources is important and powerful. Thank you!

@Erroin

Mel August 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Thanks Karol, I often set up goals for certain pages but didn’t know you could set them for time on site or pageviews – this feature is fantastic!

Wendy Kelly August 3, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Hi!

Great information. We use goals for our site, but need information on what might be considered “good” conversion rates. Obviously this will vary depending on the type of goal set. Still, any good ideas on where to go to find out what conversion rates we should be shooting for?

Dean Saliba August 4, 2010 at 8:02 am

My Google followers are priceless to me. :)

Stacey August 4, 2010 at 8:43 am

Wow, I had no idea you could do this in analytics. Thanks for the step-by-step process with pictures. You made it really easy to understand. I’m off to set some goals now. Thanks!

Jon August 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm

If you are selling from your site, you should use the Google Analytics ecommerce page. The Goals you have described are good for showing trends throughout Google Analytics (in many of the reports you will see a goals tab for each set of goals right above the trend line) but the ecommerce module gives you much more detailed analytics on your sales such as:
conversion rate
transactions
average order value
purchase products
and a variety of product information.
In order to access this, edit the profile, on the profile settings click edit on the top right hand corner of the Main Website Profile Information and change the ecommerce website radio button from no to yes (its roughly halfway down the page between Apply Cost Data and Site Search)
Now comes the interesting bit – warning code is in this link so you may have to discuss with a developer, but basically this goes at the end of your shopping cart process such as the thankyou page (which may be part of the shopping cart software or on your site) http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/tracking/gaTrackingEcommerce.html
There are stacks of features in Google Analytics that are not set up out of the box, which I would be happy to help people with (I’ve use GA for years, as well as other web analytics/search/email/social media measurement tools)
cheers
Jon

Ana @ Blog Traffic Generation August 5, 2010 at 6:00 am

That’s a perfect overview, Karol, as far as I am concerned.

I am fairly new to using Google Analytics (sat untouched on my to-do list for too long:). I’ve seen the “goals” section there, but never had the time to actually explore it.

Now that I have your step-by-step instructions, it looks pretty simple – thanks for that!

Ana Hoffman

TrafficColeman August 5, 2010 at 6:16 am

Howdy Karol

Its very important to get your ducks in a row to know whats worth your time or not. Knowing what each visitor is worth is something most marketers don’t do because they haven’t reached that level yet that their traffic is really enormous yet.

My blog get a lot of traffic so I have to be on my game an see if I’m meeting my goals with Google Analytics, this software will keep you on track of knowing whether your at your goal or bout to surpass it.

“TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

Mario Mendoza August 6, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Awesome post Karol. I’ve been trying to get the most out of my Analytics and found this article so useful. I really needed to centralize alot of my subscriber stats and get a better way to track conversions. No blind guessing. Thanks!

Hector Cuevas August 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Wow.. this is a great post.. very detailed and clear

Never used the feature.. now I will – thanks for this Karol

Julius August 11, 2010 at 5:41 am

Great guide for Google Analytics. I will definitely put this into action. I have been using goals for some time now but not very effectively.

World Top 10 September 13, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Its a very useful post indeed, with very clear analysis. Thank you Karol

Earl Kallemeyn January 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Thank you for the overview of Google Analytics, and how it relates to your relationship with Corbett Barr. It has been very helpful.

Lee Hughes August 3, 2010 at 9:36 am

Maybe I would allowed to write about it. Who knows ;)

Karol Gajda August 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Hey Lee!

I focus more on e-mail subs than RSS subs so I never tried to figure out how to track RSS.

Maybe you should write a Google Analytics Advanced article? ;)

Karol

Lee Hughes August 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Sure,

I don’t know GA that well but I know and use this method. It works every well. :)

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