Goal Matching Revisited

Guide on the different match types that Google Analytics uses to define goals. For something that is so integral to a successful Google Analytics configuration, goals are easily one of the more confusing aspects of the tool, and we get more questions about goals than perhaps anything else.

Last week, Google quietly updated the Google Analytics Goal Settings page. They rearranged the order of the fields, and also clarified something that has long been somewhat under-emphasized. In the explanation text for the Goal URL:

For the goal page “http://www.mysite.com
/thankyou.html” enter “/thankyou.html”

 

Previously, the example text basically told users to just copy and paste the entire URL from their conversion page. Now, only the Request URI is required.

Actually, this isn’t a change to the way that Google Analytics recognizes goals. It’s always worked this way, targeting only the Request URI. It would simply discard anything in the Goal URL that wasn’t part of the Request URI (anything after the dot-com, basically) and match what was left.

Now that the official recommendation is to use the Request URI, it looks like old-school goals are still backwards-compatible and will function with the whole URL. But for future reference, for a goal URL of:

http://www.mysite.com/thankyou.html

You only need to put:

/thankyou.html

Into the Goal URL field.

How do you use Google Analytics’ Goal Matches? Are you a regular expressions junkie, or do you stick to tried-and-true exact match? Leave us a comment!