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ga events into goals

Google Analytics: Turning Events into Goals

  • February 17, 2015

About the author

Ryan Stewart

I have an unhealthy obsession with being considered the world's BEST internet marketer. I'm highly active on social media and love a good debate.

There are certain actions on your website that Google Analytics’ Goals cannot tracked.

Typically, these actions take place independently of a page load. A few examples are:

Document downloads
AJAX elements
Web forms (that remain on the same page when submit)

These actions need to be tracked as Events.

Events are an important feature of Google Analytics because they let us track key user actions on our site. However, the reporting of Events is limited. When you’re using Events to track form conversions, they don’t get the job done.

That’s why Google allows you to turn your custom Events into Goals.

Goals reporting is more robust and useful for tracking conversion actions.

This post has two parts:

  1. How to define, create and code custom Events in Google Analytics
  2. How to create Goals based on your custom Events


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Part One: Creating Custom Events

Events aren’t as easy to set up as Goals – it requires customization of your JavaScript file. Implementation details should be covered in your company’s measurement plan. If they aren’t, here’s how to code your Event.

Defining Requirements

I have 5 forms on this website, 3 of which use AJAX elements (no redirect to thank you page). Here’s the JavaScript snippet I wrote to track submissions on our Contact page:

onClick=”ga(‘send’, ‘event’, { eventCategory: ‘Contact ‘, eventAction: ‘Submit’, eventLabel: ‘Contact Page Form’, eventValue: 50});”

Scared? It’s very simple to write. There are 4 elements you need to account for:

1. Category

Category is the name for all events of a certain type. Since I wanted to track contact form submissions, I set the category value to “Contact”.

JavaScript: eventCategory: ‘Contact’

2. Actions

Actions are the specific user events that result in the JavaScript being fired. For my example, I want to JavaScript pixel to fire (track) when a user clicks “Submit”.  Other possible actions:

PDF or document download
Starting a video, stopping a video, pausing a video
Playing a podcast

JavaScript: eventAction: ‘Submit’

3. Labels (optional)

Labels are values that help describe the action. I recommend filling this out if there are similar actions you’ll want to to distinguish. In my example, I have multiple contact forms so I added the value “Contact Page Form”.

JavaScript: eventLabel: ‘Contact Page Form’

4. Values (optional)

This value denotes numeric metrics like file size, video length or download statistics. My leads are each worth $50 to my business so I added the value of “50”.

JavaScript: eventValue: 50

That’s it! Now put all of the values together and hand the file to your developer for implementation.

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Events Reporting

After your development team implements the new tag, navigate to Behavior > Events to verify the tracking. Below is a screenshot from the day after I implemented 5 Events.


There’s a problem with this report. Event report conversion rate takes both shares and submissions into account – that’s not ideal. Each of these actions hold different weights and shouldn’t be looked at as equal conversions.

That’s why Google Analytics gives you the ability to create Goals based on Events.

Goal tracking is more robust than Events. Goal reports display for better conversion data, segmentation and reporting options.





Part Two: Turning Events into Goals

  1. Select proper Account / Property in Google Analytics
  2. Navigate to Admin > Goals
  3. Click “New Goal”
  4. Under “Acquisition” click the radio button for “Create an Account”
  5. Name the goal and select the “Event” radio button
  6. You will be given four categories


Look familiar?


These are the same parameters we set in our JavaScript snippet.

onClick=”ga(‘send’, ‘event’, { eventCategory: ‘Contact ‘, eventAction: ‘Submit’, eventLabel: ‘Contact Page Form’, eventValue: 50});”

All you have to do is enter the values we created earlier.

Category = Contact
Action = Submit
Label = Contact Page Form
Value = 50

That’s it! Your custom Event will now be tracking as a Goal. You can now view more in depth data in the Conversion reports.


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Comments ( 44 )

  • Bradon Says
    9 years ago

    Google analytics I see has more customization options than I ever realized. I will have to examine this closer.

  • Fred M. Says
    8 years ago

    Google Analytic s can be tricky to use, this is some really good advise on events. Thanks for adding the JavaScript for creating custom events, but, its good to know I can just hire you! lol

  • Bianca White Says
    8 years ago

    Their are a lot of different elements to custom events. I think I will take a look more at this. I do know a little about coding so I think I could attempt the step by step. If not their is Ryan to the rescue.

  • Willy. S Says
    8 years ago

    Google analytics is a tool that must be mastered by internet marketers. It helped many marketers in formulating marketing strategies.

  • Jennifer Robertson Says
    8 years ago

    I never realized that Google Analytics could do so much. Thank for this informative information.

  • Al Says
    8 years ago

    I never ever knew you could turn events into goals. Man I’ve been sleeping on this great resource. Thanks for opening my eyes!

  • Prak Says
    8 years ago

    Thanks for breaking every thing down. I have been struggling to grasp google analytics understanding.

  • Hendrikson Says
    8 years ago

    I never realized there was a problem with events reports in Google analytics. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Gladis Says
    8 years ago

    I don’t know how you learn all this stuff but you are a true pro at what you do. No rehashed garbage here!

  • Tobias Marty Says
    8 years ago

    This doesn’t work if I do a validation after submitting and only want to track the successfull ones.

    I know that I cannot put an onload event to a tag.

    Do you have any idea how to solve this?

  • Rodolfo Says
    8 years ago

    Awesome Ryan, I hope this works for me now!

  • Vipin nayar Says
    7 years ago

    Great Ryan, awesome bro, you always give quality information, that I do not need to look any where else. Thanks for sharing this valuable tips.

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    7 years ago

    youre welcome!

  • Kapri Says
    7 years ago

    So excited I found this article as it made things much quicrek!

  • Sony kashyap Says
    7 years ago

    Thanks for posting this detailed information about how to create Goals in google analytics.

  • Riley Says
    6 years ago

    Thanks for this.

    The javascript file that you create. Is that just its own snippet alone or part of the GA code snippet? Thanks in advance

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    6 years ago

    A part of the GA code snippet

  • Eddy Says
    5 years ago

    Why when creating the event did you choose Acquisition>Create An Account and not just a custom event?

  • Simon Says
    5 years ago

    thanks. found this overview helpful.

  • Somya Singh Says
    5 years ago

    Sir, will you help me to set event track goal on this website.

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    5 years ago

    Sure, you have to set an appointment with our staff and one of our consultants will review it.

    5 years ago

    Hi, Ryan,
    maybe you can help me (even if you charge something for it):
    For a bunch of reasons my team wants to use google forms embedded in our website. So we have a form page like this, for example: http://www.nespe.com.br/pos-edicao-inscricao/
    The question is how to set up analytics goal for these forms. I’ve looked everywhere, simply cannot find a workaround.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Yacine Says
    4 years ago

    Have you written the top comments yourself? It sounds like it’s a variation of the same comment: I didn’t know GA does this. You are great!
    Anyway, thanks for sharing this and for the tool to create those events. That helps.

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    4 years ago

    We’re always getting hit with a ton of spam :/

  • Sheflix.com Says
    4 years ago

    World’s best internet marketer and doesn’t even know how to implement a custom made JS into HTML. I bet you do not even know SQL, a must for all marketers. You sir, are a below average “marketer”

  • Ryan Stewart Says
    4 years ago

    Na dick, I have 50 employees who know it for me. That’s why you’re commenting on MY BLOG and I have no fucking idea who you are.

  • Nandini Agashe Says
    4 years ago

    Thanks. I will follow you more. You are great.

  • هودی ترکمنی Says
    1 week ago

    البته این نکته رو نباید فراموش کنیم که هودی مردانه خیلی هم در فصل
    سرما به گرم شدن شخص کمک میکنن و جز لباس های گرم
    به حساب میان به خصوص اینکه با
    توجه به کلاهی هم که هودی ها دارن کاملا مناسب و آماده این فصول به نظر میرسن.

    جستجوی پیشرفته پاک کردن فیلترها فقط
    کالاهای موجود بله قیمت


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