Google Analytics goals for Shopify

"This is too long to read" summary:
Should you be using Google Analytics goals, or just relying on enhanced ecommerce to tell you what you need to know?

Goals are a big feature in Google Analytics. They allow you to track specific things that you want visitors to do.

Google Analytics goals all fall into one of four categories:

  • Destination (Visiting a specific page)
  • Duration (How long someone spends on site)
  • Event (Events are custom things that you define, such as filter interactions, video plays, or downloads. Not all events are goals, but you can track any event as a goal)
  • Pages/Screen per session (How many pages someone visits in a session)

You are limited to 20 goals per reporting view in Google Analytics. That sounds very limiting, but it really shouldn’t be a problem for most Shopify stores. You can create more views (up to 25) if you need access to more goals in the future.

Why do analytics goals matter for a Shopify store?

The point of any Shopify site is to generate revenue. Most stores will do that through direct sales. Others will do it through lead generation. Whatever your business model, you need people to give you money.

Goals are Google Analytics’ way of measuring the actions that lead to money so that you can track them and look at the traffic sources and behaviors that lead to revenue for your business.

What goals should you create for a Shopify store?

There are a lot of ways to use goals, but for now you’ll want to use goals to track revenue-generating actions or things that could lead to revenue, such as signing up for continuous marketing.

Since goals are a pretty specific form of measurement, we’ll use them only for things that offer a direct value to the business.

The most important goals for Shopify stores to track are:

  • Purchases/Checkout completions (Direct revenue)
  • Email list signups (Marketing permission)
  • Push notification opt-ins (Marketing permission)
  • Lead generation (Potential revenue)

We can assign dollar values to sales, sign-ups, and leads. By measuring these things, we can optimize the conditions that lead to them and try to make each one happen more often.

Why use goals when you have enhanced ecommerce?

Enhanced ecommerce tracking within GA is a powerful function for stores. It let’s you see information you would never have in GA otherwise, and you absolutely should use it. But that doesn’t mean it’s a replacement for goals.

Goals allow you to track a broad range of things that EE won’t track. They are far more flexible and valuable when it comes to things not directly product or money related, so most goals won’t be directly product/sale related.

But there is an area of overlap with EE where goals are valuable, too. By creating a checkout goal and funnel that goes along with it, you can unlock some reports that won’t exist otherwise, including visualizations of your checkout steps.

Using goals to track purchases gives you access to some useful reporting that EE doesn’t. Two of the big ones are these two visualizations of your funnel:


Funnel visualization 

Conversions- Goals- Funnel Visualization

This one shows you step-by-step funnel flow stats. Lets you see where people are leaving your checkout funnel.

Even though the Shopify checkout is pretty locked-down, you can still use this information. If you have high dropout rates on the shipping page, it’s likely people balk at shipping cost or time. If it’s at contact or payment info, you might consider more trust-building efforts. No matter what, it could lead you to investigating through surveys and polls.

Google Analytics Funnel visualization

Goal flow report

Conversions- Goals- Goal Flow

This shows you a lot about what happens before and then into your funnel. You can visualize things like traffic sources. This can be handy to visually communicate the effectiveness of specific traffic sources and marketing campaigns. You can also use it for site optimization by identifying where people get stuck of where they leave before making a purchase.

Google Analytics Goal flow report

How to setup your checkout goal

This will walk you through setting up your checkout funnel goal. You can go here within GA to create a goal: Admin- Views (Far right pane)- Goals- New Goal

Goal Setup



Goal Description

Name- Checkout complete

Type- Destination

Select ID and set- This isn’t really important. You can leave it as-is.


Goal Details

Destination- Equal to: /checkout/thank_you Funnel- On (Steps Below)

Named — Screen/Page

  1. Cart — /cart
  2. Customer Address — /checkout/customer_information
  3. Shipping Details — /checkout/shipping
  4. Payment Step — /checkout/payment


Goal value- Off

Verify Goal- Check that the goal is working. This should return the same number of transactions you have had in Shopify in the past 7 days. If it is off by more than just a little bit (timing and reporting differences), there is an issue with the goal.

Note- Make sure to leave the “Required” box set to no. Some setups won’t involve a specific cart page, and you don’t want that complication. You can leave the cart page off entirely if you choose to, it won’t affect tracking conversions, but it will leave the cart page out of the funnel visualizing. This is really just a matter of whether you have some sort of floating/sidebar cart or a dedicated page.

You’ll end up with a goal that looks like this:

Checkout goal setup for Shopify in Google Analytics

Non-purchase goals

Other goals will depend on what kind of marketing efforts you have going, and how you want to implement tracking them on your site.

Email list signups

You should be utilizing email to stay in touch with your customers. Part of that is tracking email signups and knowing what is effective at getting people to sign up, and how subscribers act differently on your site.

To do that, you should enable email signups as a goal. There are two ways to do that:

Event goal: You could figure out how to send event data to GA whenever a sign-up form is submitted. What that looks like will depend entirely on what email marketing service you use, and how things are setup. Some of them will require you to insert code, either directly into your theme or via Google Tag Manager. The submission will be recorded as an event in GA, which you can use as a goal. If you aren’t technically minded or don’t want to pay a developer, I don’t recommend this way.

*Recommended Method* – Destination Goal: Have either your email submission form ( if you use single opt-in for your email list) or your confirmation email URL (if you use double opt-in) redirect to a specific “Thank You” page whenever someone joins your list. You can then track visits to this page as your goal criteria.

I suggest this way because it is less technical and less likely to break if something changes in the way your theme or email provider handle things. You can also use your “Thank You” page to deliver a promised lead magnet, or to point visitors back to products or to other useful content.

Push notifications subscriptions

Push is another high-ROI marketing channel than can be great when implemented well. You should track these so that you can create segments from them and see how they differ from other visitor types. This will let you can a good handle on ROI of your push implementation.

This one will likely be trickier to setup and will almost definitely require help, setup as an event goal, and the use of GTM. I suggest getting help from a Shopify expert or from your Push service provider. There is a chance they can tell you what you need to make this work.

Lead generating transactions

If you make sales through avenues other than just direct, on-site sales, you should track that. Especially for B2B business and big-ticket items, you may have customers needing a conversation or additional information before buying.

This could be:

  • Account creation
  • Phone call link
  • Email link
  • White paper/lead magnet request
  • Lead/contact form
  • Appointment/booking signup

Any of these could be tracked through some combination of destinations, events, and the use of GTM. Phone calls might need a special setup. If they are a large part of your business model, it might be worth looking into special call-tracking services that will report calls to your specific phone number as hits to your GA.

GA goals… should you? Shouldn’t you?

Beyond any doubt, you should set up at least a checkout goal, and probably others as well. They don’t take long to set up, and they add to your toolkit for marketing and conversion optimization.

If you want to learn more, this piece is one of many about data-driven growth for Shopify stores 

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