What are goal values in Google Analytics, and why they are so important?

How to calculate the value of your pages using Google Analytics

Goal Values and Event Values in Google Analytics have been around for a fair while but we find that they are still horrendously underutilised by businesses, they remain the best way to assign return on your investment (ROI) to your website or app—even if you are not an e-commerce store!

So why aren’t they used?

We’ve encountered a lot of clients who are not using Goal Values when we start working with them. The main reason is that they aren’t aware that Goal Values exist, but another, very avoidable reason we are often given (for websites that operate as lead generation tools) is:

“We don’t get any money out of a contact form submission, so it’s worth nothing”.

However, this is usually followed up by something like:

“We get roughly 30% of our leads from the website”.

As you can imagine it doesn’t take a lot of effort to prove that these statements contradict each other. Furthermore, with a little more work we can work out a calculated value for this form submission that we can apply to the goal moving forward.

As a side note, there a multiple ways to assign goal or event values. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Average Saving (aka Calculated Saving)

  • Average Value (aka Calculated Value)

  • Actual Value (requires the most work)

  • Symbolic (a nominal value that allows for better reporting - this is very useful for charities and other NGOs)

We generally work with clients, big and small, who end up using Average Value and/or Actual Value.

How to Calculate Values

Calculating Values for leads is a process that involves looking at the conversion rate of your leads to paying customers and then the average lifetime value of a paying customer.

We covered this in more detail in a previous article about Measurement Plans, but let’s say we are running a Removalist Company called HammaJack Removalists. Our company has an average lifetime value of a customer (profit) of $300, and looking through the past 3 months of data we convert 66.6% of leads to paying customers. Therefore, we’ll attribute the value of a lead on our website as $200. We can now use this to work out our ROI.

What goal values allow you to do

Google Analytics, at its most basic, is a marketing reporting tool. At the heart of measuring marketing efficiency is ROI.

By assigning a value to a lead form, a product purchase, a phone call, or whatever the main purpose of the website is, a business allows themselves to assess the performance of different channels, like Ads, eDMs, Social Media as well as the website’s efficiency.

It takes away any ambiguity—and allows you to completely understand your inputs and outputs.

Let’s go through an example.

For example, let’s say our removalist company wants more leads. To get more leads we decide to run a Facebook campaign for people who live near the local university. Our site usually gets us 10 leads a month, but we are hoping our campaign will get another 10, at least.

We set up the campaign, and track it correctly with UTMs and spend $2000 in the month. At the end of the month, we have gone from an average of 10 leads to 23. Now it appears the campaign has done its job, but we spent a lot of money so we need to make sure it was worth it.

The only way we can figure this out is if we know how much a lead is worth and then have set these up in Google Analytics.

If we had previously set up Goal Values, Google Analytics makes it frightfully easy to compare the amount of money spent vs. the amount of money made.

As you can see, in the screenshot, this campaign, over the time period spent $2,000 but had a value $4,600 which means that for every $1 spent on the campaign we made $2.30. Not a bad ROI.

While you could get this calculation manually, there is no need when Google Analytics makes it so easy to do in the first place.

Now it’s worth mentioning that if we are using a non-Google source like Facebook we need to also import the spend information - however, if we are using a Google product, like Google Ads, this is done automatically if we have linked the accounts.

But wait, there’s also page values

If you’re still on the fence about Goal Values, there is one more feature that will surely tip you over the edge. That feature is Average Page Values.

If you’ve ever wondered if a page affects conversion on your site, and if so by how much then page values are for you.

Page Values are an amazing metric that are assigned when a goal is completed. You can see the detail here, but the basics are that every time a goal, with a value, is completed all the pages that were viewed by the user in that session are given a share of the goal value.

As an example, let’s say that a user comes to the HammaJack Removalists’ homepage, then looks at a pricing page and then submits a lead form on the contact page and this lead form has a value of $300. In this example, each of the 3 Unique Pageviews would receive $100 of this goal completion.

Over time this will show the average value of your pages and you’d be able to understand which pages help conversion and which pages don’t.

Page Values.png

For bonus points, you can supercharge Page Values by using Content Groups for a higher level analysis.

Setting up goal values in Google Analytics

You set up Goal Values as part of the Goal creation process, however, it is important to figure out how you want to create your Goal Values as a whole. As a recap the options generally are;

  1. Average Saving (aka Calculated Saving)

  2. Average Value (aka Calculated Value)

  3. Actual Value (requires the most work)

  4. Symbolic (a nominal value that allows for better reporting - this is very useful for charities and other NGOs)

It is also important to routinely review your Goal Values to make sure they are still accurate.

Avoid adding goal values for everything

As a side note, be aware that you can overdo Goal Values and can, therefore, inflate the value of certain sessions. The easiest example is if an e-commerce site has a goal for a user adding a product to their cart and then one for purchasing the same product. If a user did both of these actions, and they both had values, this would inflate the overall value.

The general rule is that the only goals that should have values are ones that are at the more pointy end of the spectrum. In the above example, only the purchasing goal should have a value.

Most important point

If you only remember one thing from this article, make it this:

Goal Values in Google Analytics are incredibly important, and a little planning upfront will lead to an incredible amount of value.