The Secret to Unlocking Google Analytics for Nonprofits

Andrew Garberson is a guest contributor for Nonprofit Hub and the Manager of Search at LunaMetrics, a Google Analytics certified partner and search marketing consultancy. In addition to leading the SEO and PPC departments, Andrew is a GAIQ certified analytics junkie with a special interest in nonprofit marketing. Be sure to find him on Twitter.
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Google Analytics for nonprofits without defined goals should be hard to imagine. It’s like peas without carrots, bread without butter or, dare I say, pie without ice cream. (Shriek!)

Fine alone, for sure, but so much better together.

It is surprising how many organizations, even some of the most recognizable brands, use Google Analytics without defined goals in their account. Needless to say, I go great lengths to change that, and this is the argument that I give them.

3 Reasons to Use Google Analytics Goals

1. Tracking online conversions sounds like something for e-commerce websites, but every nonprofit can benefit from this. (Try me in the comments if you don’t believe it!)

I like to break goals into two groups:

Hard conversions: contribute directly to organizational operations or programs. Think online donations, volunteer registrations or form submissions for more information.

Engage a Goal on Google Analytics

This shows how to engage a goal for a form completion. This website delivers a “Thank you!” page once someone contracts the organization, and Google Analytics registers that page as a conversion (and all of the information about that visit).

Soft conversions: are online activities that lead to hard conversions. Think of them as engagement steps, like downloading an annual report or visiting more than 10 pages.

Once you are able to monitor desired outcomes, and how visitors perform them, it is also possible to identify places on the website that interrupt that process, like pages with high drop-off rates.

2. Pages with high drop-off rates suggest that they confuse or deter visitors from performing valuable actions like making a donation or volunteering. Re-examining those bottlenecks might have an immediate impact on operating budget or turnout at the next event.

Funnel Report on Google Analytics

This Funnel Report shows that 91.2 percent of visitors left the website after reaching this page, only one step away from completing the process. Eek! I’m sure glad we had funnel steps defined so we caught that.

3. Google Grants are nothing new, but they might still be the best kept online marketing secret for registered 501(c)3 organizations. You don’t need goals in Google Analytics to receive a grant, but you need goals to use the grants well.

Goal steps allow marketers to analyze essential data on conversion rates to optimize campaigns and get the most from the grant. Free ads can drive hundreds of qualified visits every day

This is the point where I am instructed to breathe, perhaps drink less coffee and, of course, add goals to the Google Analytics account. Don’t let this happen to you. Reap the rewards of adding goals and avoid having to listen to me hyperventilate.

Does your organization use Google Analytics goals? Let us know why in the comments.