For nonprofit organizations it is critical to understand how users are navigating and using their websites. This simple Google Analytics for nonprofits guide will help beginners understand how to set up Google Analytics goals and help nonprofits understand the metrics they should be looking at.
Planning your Google Analytics use is important before moving on to the tutorial below. Even the best nonprofit websites out there use Google Analytics to make changes and constantly improve their website to ensure donations and engagement grow.
Google Analytics For Nonprofits
Goals in Google Analytics can help you see critical information about specific actions people are taking on your website.
You can see how many people have:
Having this information for your nonprofit can help you make website adjustments and do testing to see what can increase any of your goals you have.
Planning Your Goals
Google Analytics offers a maximum of 20 goals per view in your account, so it is critical that you think carefully about what goals are most important for your charity organization to measure!
The information provided below is a basic primer and meant to be for beginners who want some more data than they are currently getting! There are a LOT of others ways to get this kind of data including the Tag Manager and other scripts – but we wanted to supply the easiest way for you to get great data fast to help your nonprofit have real data to make improvements with.
Goals typically need a thank you page to be able to get the most accurate data.
So for each action you have on your website you would want to create a unique thank you page for that specific action to use what we have outlined below.
Again, there are other ways, but this is the easiest!
Steps For Setting Up Your Goals – page 1
The first step in setting up a nonprofit goal.
- Sign in to Google Analytics
- Click Admin
- Go to the View column and select the view you want to add a Goal for (you may only have 1 view and that is fine!)
- Click GOALS
Steps For Setting Up Your Goals – page 2
The second step in setting up a nonprofit goal.
1. Click the New Goal button
Steps For Setting Up Your Goals – page 3
The third step that requires some customizations to name your nonprofit goal.
This page offers 3 steps – Goal Setup, Goal Description and Goal Details.
Goal Setup/Goal Description
There are some “template” goals you can use if they fit your action. For example if you have a membership website and want to track how many new accounts were created, you can use the Create An Account option – for this example we will use Contact Us since it is a standard tracking action.
1. Click Contact Us under Inquiry
2. Click Continue
3. Enter the NAME of your Goal this should be easy to read and understand when you see it in the reports. So for this example lets use General Contact Form
4. Goal Slot Id – this is how you can “organize” your goals. You may want to put all of your contact goals in Goal Id 2, your donation goals under Goal Id 3 – it is just a way for you to easily find all of your similar goals easily.
5. Type – there are different ways and types of goal tracking you can do, destination tracking is the easiest to implement so we will use that for this example.
6. Click Continue
Destination – this is where you assign a page that the visitor will wind up on to trigger the conversion tracking. For every contact form you create, you should have a specific thank you page for that contact form.
So for our general contact form we may have a page that is called http://mywebsite.com/thank-you
If you have a contact page that is for receiving specific information – like a brochure, you may use http://mywebsite.com/thank-you-brochure
No matter what you use, they must be unique so you track them properly.
1. Choose BEGINS WITH in the destination dropdown
2. Enter ONLY the end of the URL (not the whole domain) – if you are using wordpress you will just use /thank-you in the field
3. Value you can leave blank
4. Funnel is optional but can give you great insight into where people leave your site before completing an action. For a base level funnel you can click the ON button to activate it – for a form you may want to just have the home page and maybe the page that the form is on….
5. In step 1 you can enter Home as the Name then in the next box / to represent your home page
6. In step 2 you can enter Contact Form as the name and then /contact to represent the page your form is on
7. Click VERIFY to see if the website has had any of these actions in the last 7 days (in the example below you can see when we clicked verify it shows the goals would have had a 1.10% conversion rate – which shows our funnel is working correctly)
8. Click Save – you have just set up your first goal!
It may take a little time before your goals start being tracked. But once it does here is how you can view your goals.
1. Go to Reporting
2. Click Conversions
3. Click Goals
4. Click Overview
This page will show you a general overview of how many Goal Completions you have had and what pages converted those goals. In the example below you can see we have had 2 goal conversions to a page called /thank-you which we set up for our General Contact page.
If you click the left area you can view the Goal Completion Location – which will show you the URL where the conversion happened.
Or you can select Source/Medium which will tell you how that conversion got to your website.
You can view other Goals you have setup by clicking the dropdown above the Overview tab as shown below. (we only have 1 goal installed, but others would appear in the dropdown if we set more up!)
So now you know we have had 2 Goal Conversions – but how many were in our “goal funnel” that did not complete that conversion?
Click Funnel Visualization in the Goals area where you currently should be
On this page you will see the funnel.
On the funnel you will be able to see the pages that you set up in the goals and how they came through the funnel. The data you get from here can help you improve your conversions – if you are losing a lot of people at step 2 in the funnel – then you need to improve that page and do some testing!
Google Analytics Metrics Nonprofits Should Use
Your nonprofit website is critical in helping you achieve your goals – but without proper analysis and data, there is no way you can know how to properly market, target and modify your website to meet those goals.
A typical non-profit website will want to achieve the following:
- Educate — let people know at a glance what your nonprofit does – then allow them to click a link to learn more about the mission. When you properly educate your visitor – we hope that some of the below will happen!
- Join Newsletter List — so that people can learn more about recent news surrounding your nonprofit.
- Follow Socially – to become more engaged with your group and be able to participate in conversation and learn more about the mission and related works.
- Gain Support — without the support of people – whether local, national or even international your nonprofit cannot be successful. Supporters are meant to be your advocates who talk about your mission, volunteer, donate and embrace your community.
- Acquire Volunteers — to help you at events, fundraisers and to be an active member who makes a difference for your nonprofit.
- Raise Donations — to help you further your mission and meet your goals.
So, that is a lot to do! If you have a website with actions to achieve all of the above – like sign up buttons, links to follow or a page to accept donations, how do you know people are taking these actions?
Below are 3 Google Analytics metrics that will get you started in understanding your visitors are using your website and how you can improve your website to increase the above actions.
Of course there are many more metrics you can and should use, but because we wanted to really give you visuals and tips we kept it short! We will write additional posts sharing other analytical metric tips for nonprofits.
The data we are sharing actually comes from our own website – we are based in NJ and target clients in the US.
Metrics To Analyze Device Type
One of the biggest issues within the non-profit segment we have found recently is the lack of a responsiveness on websites. This can have severely detrimental affects on your website usability and results.
WHERE TO GO IN ANALYTICS: To see what visitors are using to view your website you will go to AUDIENCE > MOBILE> OVERVIEW.
You should see a screen like the below. In this example you can see that most of the traffic comes from desktop users….and there was even a conversion from the Desktop view – very few visitors cam through the phone or tablet on these dates we checked.
Although our website is mobile friendly you can see by the below it is not critical to our business for it to be mobile friendly. because almost 80% of our traffic comes from desktops.
In no way does this mean we should not have a mobile friendly website, it just tells us that it is more important to focus on our desktop version.
Knowing where your visitors come from is critical in defining whether your website is doing its job by targeting the right people. If you are a local nonprofit – most of your traffic should come from local areas. If you are seeing results from all over the world and minimal results from your local area – that is not going to benefit you.
WHERE TO GO IN ANALYTICS: To determine the locations of your visitors you will go to AUDIENCE > GEO > LOCATION
You should then see a screen that looks like the one below. You can see almost 75% of our traffic is from the US which is great. Although we can do international work – our main focus is US based organizations.
For local nonprofits – you will want to make sure you are getting visitors from your specific area and surrounding local areas. By clicking on the United States link in the report you can begin to further dissect location information.
For our example you can see in the image below that 35% of the traffic this week comes from New Jersey based visitors – we are based in NJ so that is expected!
You can look at the maps to get an overview of where your visitors are coming from. As you can see we get visitors from all over the country, which is expected and welcome with what we do.
Page View Metrics
Learning more about the pages your visitors are viewing the most can help you create content that is more engaging and help you modify your existing pages to improve your conversions.
WHERE TO GO IN ANALYTICS: To find out which of your pages are visited the most go to BEHAVIOR > SITE CONTENT > ALL PAGES
You will see a page that looks like the one below and from here you can see the most popular page is our /what-is-meta-description/ then our /best-nonprofit-websites/ post.
The 2 most important things to note are your bounce rate on time on page. Of course there is MUCH more to this area, but these are the 2 things we think every nonprofit should focus on.
As noted by Google, is the percentage of single page sessions a visitor has on your website where they take no additional action. Many focus on this metric and get upset when their bounce rate is high – but having a high bounce rate may not always be that bad, especially for blogs.
You see in the image below our bounce rate is very low – that is because we set it up to be calculated differently!
Time On Page
This is a metric we care a lot about – more so than bounce rate. Time on page is how long a user stays on a single page to view your content. If you time on page is low it can be a signal that your content is not engaging. You can see below our average site wide time on page is over 5 minutes – but many posts are in the 10 minute range – meaning we are delivering strong content.
So as you can see – even from a baseline perspective there is a ton of information you can use in your website to improve the aesthetics and also to improve your marketing.
Although this was a very low level analysis – there is enough information here to get you started!
Analytics can be a scary place to venture – but it is a crucial part to improving your organizations online success.