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Our Definitive Guide to Google Analytics for Nonprofits

Google Analytics is a beast. It packs a serious punch when informing your marketing efforts. You should know the metrics of success for your marketing campaigns and Google Analytics equips you with data-driven decision making. Employing a Google Analytics account is an asset for any organization but in the world of nonprofits, it can be transformative.

For example, wouldn’t it be nice to better understand your website traffic? Imagine knowing the exact journey your potential donors took to land on your nonprofit website. You would have a better idea of your traffic sources (like email, social media, organic search, and partnerships) and how to leverage those sources even more or give less attention to those that aren’t serving you. Time is one of the most valuable resources for nonprofits. Spend it wisely by being more efficient with your marketing efforts.

Analytics tracking is the best way to stay informed and on top of your marketing strategy. We’ve put together this guide to help you get started with Google Analytics for your nonprofit organization.

Let’s start with the linchpin of Google Analytics: goals.

What are Google Analytics goals?

First, it’s important to understand the types of Google Analytics goals. There are duration goals, event goals, and destination goals.

Duration Goals

Duration goals (also called session goals) allow you to measure:

  • How many of your users visit your website for a specific amount of time
  • How many of your users visit at least a specific number of pages on your website

If you’re seeing a high conversion rate for either of these, it means your users are taking time on your website to learn more about your organization.

A low conversion rate here may indicate that visitors didn’t find your content compelling enough to stick around. Or, that they were there to do a specific task and accomplished it quickly. Your destination goal conversions (see below) should help you understand the nuance.

Event goals

Event goals are registered every time a user conducts a specific action on your website. That could be a video play, file download, button click, etc. You can determine which “events” to track depending on the data you’re trying to generate.

Destination Goals

Every time a call to action is completed on your website, it translates to a goal completion.

Destination goals register a conversion (or goal completion) every time a user reaches a particular webpage. These are typically confirmation pages or thank you pages that are reached after someone makes a donation or signs a petition. Similar to event goals, you can choose the “destinations” by tracking the specific URL of the page you determine as a conversion—and those should be based on your business objectives.

For example, a visitor makes a donation to your organization. That donation becomes a conversion when they reach the thank you page after their donation. Your business objectives may include increasing your online donations. This conversion helps you track that overall goal.

Using Google Analytics just to see your traffic won’t show you the full picture. More traffic doesn’t mean your visitors are doing what you want them to do. With conversion tracking, the goals you determine will tell you what percentage of your users are fulfilling your desired outcomes.

For more on setting up destination goals:

What goals should my nonprofit organization be tracking?

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In reality, you could track anything you want to! Most nonprofits focus on three main goals: Email, cause engagement, and donations. You may also prioritize program enrollment or volunteering, depending on your organization’s goals.

Aim to drive every visitor to achieve all three goal completions at least once. To do that requires thinking about your overall goals and website flow. What’s the simplest ask you can make of your visitors at the onset of their experience? Lead with that. For example, perhaps you offer an email sign-up or a petition signature. By asking for something small from new visitors, you’ll set yourself up nicely for bigger requests later down the road. Aim for consistency across the experience. Your visitors should feel a certain cohesiveness when advancing from one request to the next.

Read more about these three important metrics to track in your web analytics:

Measuring your nonprofit website performance

Our Nonprofit Website Performance Guide encapsulates everything we’ve talked about here and helps you get set up in Google Analytics with step-by-step instructions.

The guide details how your nonprofit can harness Google Analytics and other tools to evaluate whether your website is supporting your business goals. By using this guide, you’ll be able to:

  • Set up Google Analytics for success
  • Measure homepage engagement
  • Explore where your traffic is coming from
  • Optimize your site for search engines

Bonus: Google Ad Grants

Once you’re confident in Google Analytics, you might also check out Google Ad Grants. It’s part of the Google for Nonprofits program and grants your nonprofit organization $10,000 of free Google Ads per month. Yes, free. That’s a gamechanger for most nonprofits! There are some eligibility requirements, including having valid conversion tracking set up in Google Analytics.

We recently updated our Insider’s Guide to Google Ad Grants. It outlines the program and covers eligibility requirements. You’ll find pointers on how to structure your Google Ads account, too. You can also download our free resource: The Complete 2020 Guide to Google Ad Grants. This step-by-step guide is written by Google-certified experts at Mighty Citizen. It will help you apply for Google Ad Grants, set up your advertising campaigns, and maintain your ads over time.

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