Covered in this post:
- About post-conversion landing pages
- When to use it
- How to use a destination goal
- Reading the results
- Problems with this method
Track post-conversion landing pages with destination goals
The idea behind this form-tracking method is that you can track a submission by having the form redirect to a specific page, and tracking that URL. We call this a post-conversion landing page, and it often appears as a page with a giant thank you message. This allows you to track a submission the same way you would track any other page on your website.
In order for your reports to reflect the value of these specific page hits, however, you need to create a destination goal in Google Analytics. With a goal in place, you can perform a host of other useful functions as well, like creating funnel visualizations.
Tip: If you don’t have a website or Google Analytics account, you can access Google’s demo account. You can’t create or edit goals, unfortunately, but you can still see how their goals were set up and still create filters, segments, custom dashboards, and so on. Follow this link to read about the limitations of the demo account. .
When to use
This method works best for basic form tracking. If you want to track very specific interactions with your form, we recommend using event tracking. We’ll cover more advanced event tracking techniques in future posts.
How to track forms with destination goals
Step 1: Set up the post-conversion landing page
- Click Add New in the Pages tab on the left sidebar
- Enter an easy-to-remember page slug by editing the Permalink (I made this one thank-you)
- Configure the page and contents with a thank you message or a CTA
Step 2: Redirect your form to the landing page
We used Ninja Forms to build the forms for this tutorial. If you are using another plugin, your instructions for this step will differ.
Access this interface by clicking the Ninja Forms tab in the left sidebar and either adding a new form or editing an existing one. You can visit the Ninja Forms website for step-by-step instructions on how to build a form.
- Click Emails & Actions at the top
- Select Redirect
- Enter the URL for the conversion landing page (make sure to enter the full URL here)
Step 3: Create a goal in Google Analytics
- Go to Admin in the bottom left corner
- Click on Goals under View
- Click on New Goal
- Goal setup: select Custom
- Goal Description: Name the goal (you can name it according to form)
- Select the Goal Slot ID. Since this is the first goal for this view, I selected Goal ID 1/Goal Set 1. You can have a maximum of 20 goals per view.
- Select Destination for goal type and click continue
- Enter the page slug for the conversion landing page
Equals to vs Begins withEquals to
The URL here must be an exact match to the page slug. If your page hits aren’t registering as a goal conversion (see the next step or Step 4: Test), your page slug might be off.Begins with
You can select Begins with if you’re not sure if the page slug is /thank-you or /thank-you.html or /thank-you/ etc and you only have one page with a slug that begins with that (or if you just want to track all conversion landing pages in general).
- Verify that the page slug works by clicking Verify this Goal. If it says This Goal would have a 0% conversion rate based on your data from the past 7 days, try using Begins with or adjusting the slug until the conversion rate looks about right.
- (Optional) You can assign a monetary value to this goal. Here’s some advice from Google:
For example, if your sales team can close 10% of people who sign up for a newsletter, and your average transaction is $500, you might assign $50 (i.e. 10% of $500) to your newsletter sign-up goal—a goal that users complete when they reach the final newsletter sign-up page. In contrast, if only 1% of signups result in a sale, you might only assign $5 to your newsletter sign-up goal. (Google)
- (Optional) You can also turn Funnel on. Check out this guide from Kissmetrics to learn more about conversion funnels.
Step 4: Test
- In another window, fill out the form and click Submit
- Head over to your Google Analytics account and go to Real-Time > Conversions
- You should see a hit for your goal on the real-time conversions report that looks like this:
Note: Even though you see the goal hit here immediately, it might take 24-48 hours for the conversion to appear in the Conversions report (Conversions > Goals > Overview) and User Explorer (Audience > User Explorer).
Google will only record a goal once a session. Meaning, if a user lands on that same page multiple times within 30 minutes, it will only record one goal hit.
Reading the results
Lastly, we’ll take a quick look at how this goal impacts our reports. These are the goals from Google’s demo account. For simplicity, we’ll focus only on that first destination goal, Entered Checkout.
User Explorer (under Audience tab):
You can see in one of the individual user report below that a goal completion is signaled by blue flag icon.
One scenario in which you would want to use this report is if you want to observe how a high value customer interacts with your website.
Reverse goal path (under Conversion tab): This section shows you what pages users visited prior to completing the goal.
Funnel visualization (under Conversion tab): a visual report that shows you user entrances and drop-offs along the overall expected path.
The problem with destination goals
Tracking a conversion landing page doesn’t actually track the interaction. It tracks a response to the interaction. This leaves a lot of room for false positives. If someone were to navigate directly to the conversion landing page (from their browser history, by bookmarking it, sharing it, etc), the goal will register the interaction as a goal completion because it’s only tracking page hits. This is more common if your landing page contains a file download or access to other useful information.
Another issue with this method is that most forms don’t automatically redirect you to a Thank You page. Depending on your form plugin, this could be a hassle. Another downside is that you would have to create a landing page for each form if you want to track them individually.