How To Track Leads In Google Analytics

Inbound Lead Attribution: Every business and company will have a different criterium for what consitutes a lead. But how does one track them efficiently? This post will dive into the how and where to track leads using Google Analytics (a powerful free software). 

1. What is a Lead?

First and foremost, a “Lead” is not a sale. 

Where a lot of data analysts will be lead astray is when they skip the step of defining a lead (in regards to their business). While this will vary from business to business, the important part to remember is to remain consistent throughout the process. 

What a ‘lead’ is however, is the precursor stage to a sale. 

I think everyone here can agree upon the definition of a sale, where a transaction occurs, typically resulting in a net-positive revenue for the business. Leads however, can be a phone call, web form, page view on your website, etc., these will vary per business. 

While I won’t pretend to know your particular industry or business, there are systematic similarities throughout every company. Let’s start with an example from my business that might help shed some light on lead-definition. 

Example:

My business is no fancier than yours, in fact some may consider it to be less-than glorious..but that’s neither here nor there for the time being. 

My business revolves around projects, both shert term and on-going. These projects can vary from building a WordPress website to search marketing strategies (and most recently motion graphics). Whatever the project may be, it starts off with a lead. Since my business is 100% online (emails and forms), I rely on inbound marketing strategies (SEO, PPC and word of mouth marketing) to generate projects. 

The ‘lead’ in this scenario is an email or form submission via the site. The vessel for the lead is one of the previously mentioned inbound marketing strategies (SEO, PPC, word of mouth). 

2. What Are Your Business KPIs

KPIs or ‘Key Performance Indicators’ in a business represent the precursor action, or series of actions, that your customer (lead) will go through prior to becoming a lead. 

I would bet money on the fact that your future customers hang out in certain areas of your site or business more than other places on the site. Per haps it’s your pricing page with in-depth descriptions of your services or products. Or perhaps it’s an ‘about us’ page that showcases your work in the local community. 

OR if you’re in the B2B realm, maybe it’s a case study that details how you’ve increased a client ROI by 10x. Again…I won’t claim to be any kind of expert on your particular business (without looking at the metrics behind-the-scenes) but I’m coming from a KPI-framework perspective (based on years in sales and marketing metrics).

The best thing you can do for your lead-tracking knowledge is to start tracking the details/info on these KPIs. This may mean an analytic tracking software. I would recommend Google Analytics, at this point it’s one of the gold standards for free website metrics.

The best part of Google Analytics is that once the software is installed, you have powerful insights that can be pulled whenever you need. Even if you just set it and forget it, it’s better than throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. 

A KPI can also be web traffic that originates from a particular source. Let’s say that you have an email or social media campaign (other examples could be Google Ads, direct-to-site traffic or SEO efforts). You blast out an email update to your followers but embed a link that leads back to your site (called a hoplink). 

From here users enter your site from your email or social media campaign and start the exploration and research process. They end up loving the sound of your services/products and they fill out your website’s contact form. Congrats, they are now in your inbox!

At this point your sales process will begin to take over, whether it’s an inside sales team or an autoresponder that you’ve configured to provide next steps before you have time to reach out to them. 

3. Now What? Data-Driven Lead Tracking

If you have unlimited ad spend, congrats! Otherwise, you might want to double down on what’s working and eliminate what doesn’t (this also helps from a time-saving perspective).

So how do you dive into the data, where they came from and where they went on your site?

The answer is Google Analytics! 

4. Contact Form Approach

Remember that form that arrived in your inbox from the KPI section above? Let’s track that first. Assuming Google Analytics is already installed on your site, you’ll want to create a ‘Thank You” page that redirects the user after filling out the form. 

The rationale behind this is that you’ll need a snippet of code to fire/activate when, and only when, a user has reached a specific page. There are ways within Google Analytics to track a redirect page only if the user has gone through a series of specified pages (dictated by you) but this is more advanced than I’ll get through in this post. 

I use this same methodology for my own site (the one you are currently on).

Step 1.

User finds my site, either through SEO, PPC or another channel (irrelevant at this point in time). 

Step 2.

They submit a contact form from one of the many forms scattered throughout the site (yes, not all pages direct to the same generic contact form and there’s a reason for this). These forms are set up so that after a user fills out the required information they are automatically taken to a confirmation page. The URL, also called the slug, of the page ends in something like /confirmation. So your site’s confirmation page may look something like www.YourSite.com/Confirmation

This is important to know in the following step. 

5. Google Analytics Setup

The following setup instructions assume that you already have Google Analytics installed on your site, that’s the only prerequisite here. If you are a beginner to Google Analytics data I’ll be sure to include screenshots below for reference. 

Google Analytics does a great job of letting you know traffic breakdowns and give you the who, what, where, when of your site’s visitors. I would argue that the why is the most important portion of lead generation but more on that in another post, this is just about the tracking process for now.

The following steps will walk you through the contact-form-submission route of tracking leads (i.e. where your leads are coming from). 

Lead Tracking in Google Analytics

Step 1. Confirmation Page Redirect

Remember that confirmation page from higher up on the page? We’ll need that now. If you’ve been skipping around and landed on this paragraph then here’s what you’ll need to know:

You’ll need to not only create a confirmation or ‘thank you’ page but then set your contact form to redirect to that page. There are dozens of plugins that will do this for you if you want to go the DIY route, otherwise I’d say ask your site’s developer, they will be able to do this quite easily. 

Copy the URL from the confirmation page, maybe it will look something like this:
www.YourSite.com/Confirmation

Step 2. Navigate To Admin of Google Analytics

Now, we’re going to navigate to the admin section of our Google Analytics account (refer to the screenshot attached). From the main dashboard page (default home screen upon loading Google Analytics), click on the gear icon in the bottom left section. 

Google Analytics Admin Section

Step 3. Navigate & Click on Goals

Once the admin screen has opened (after clicking on the gear icon from the home screen), click on the ‘Goals‘ section on the right column (circled in orange in the screenshot below). 

Goal Setup Google Analytics

A new screen will open and you will be presented with the following screen/columns. Click on the ‘New Goal’ button. 

Tracking Leads using Google

Upon clicking on the ‘New Goal’ button, you’ll see a new screen with the following options. There are three numbered stages which you will need to complete in sequential order (you can always go back however to change a setting before saving). 

Google will give you a few templates (selected by default) to choose from but they will also give you a ‘custom’ option. Personally, I recommend the ‘custom’ option as it allows for a bit more configuration based on your needs’. (circled in orange in the attached screenshot).

Track Customers Using Google Analytics

After clicking on the ‘custom’ parameters from stage 1, you’ll have to name and describe the goal configuration. The name is up to you, it only appears in the reporting inside your Google Analytics account. I label mine something short and to the point so that I know without digging where it came from (something like ‘contact form submission’). 

Lead Configuration

After clicking on the ‘custom’ parameters from stage 1, you’ll have to name and describe the goal configuration. The name is up to you, it only appears in the reporting inside your Google Analytics account. I label mine something short and to the point so that I know without digging where it came from (something like ‘contact form submission’). 

The second important part within this stage is to define the type of goal. For this type of tracking a redirect you should click on ‘Destination.’

Lead Generation Tracking

NOW you’ll need that URL (the redirect page you created or copied earlier). By default, Google Analytics chooses ‘equal to’ for the destination. What you’ll want to do here is insert the END PORTION of the URL (everything after the slash / ). 

For example, if your confirmation page is www.YourSite.com/confirmation you’ll want to insert only “/confirmation” (without the quotes, the quotes here are just to separate the text within the paragraph.

Goal Setup Google Analytics

On this particular screen you’ll also see two other options, Value and Funnel. If you’re new to this source of lead tracking and do not use ecommerce for your form submissions I would recommend leaving these both off for now. 

From here you’re almost there – Click on the save button to finalize the Google Analytics Goal tracking. This is the last step in setting up lead tracking via the form-redirect method. 

 

6. Get Help with Tracking

Need further assistance or ideas in tracking leads? The method described above works for most businesses but custom solutions can include tracking leads via email or other acquisition channels. Get in touch using the form below and I’d be glad to chat. 

Questions or Projects?

Get in touch below with projects, configuration questions, or just to bounce some ideas back and fourth.