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EWB Analytics Blog

Flexibility of Event Goals in Google Analytics

Elizabeth Brady

One of the biggest advantages of the newest version (v5) of Google Analytics is the ability to configure a goal based on a tracked site event.  We no longer need to configure a ‘virtual page view’ specifically in order to track the event as a goal.  The goal can be defined by the category, label, action, or value of the event, or on a combination of more than one event characteristic.  However, the language around ‘match type’ for this goal is confusing and may lead some analysts to assume the configuration is less flexible than it actually is. 

I was perplexed when I first saw the three match types for event goals.  What’s the difference between 'that is equal to’ and ‘that matches’? 

Comparing the language to another customization in Google Analytics, custom segments include a long list of straight forward match types.



For  segments, ‘exactly matching’ is the equivalent to ‘that is equal to’ for event goals.  Note there is no choice for ‘matches the regular expression’ for event goals, but upon testing it turns out that ‘that matches’ does, in fact, support regular expressions.   

For a client with several different links to a donation site I wanted to track any click event on qualifying links as a conversion.  I configured the goal to match either of the exact labels tracked for two donation buttons (‘donate’ and ‘give’) or any content link to the donation site (  Testing the configuration against a custom report using regular expressions produces the same conversion results.

Match types for event values differ slightly to permit setting a numeric threshold, which is extremely useful for triggering a conversion based on a visit completing a high-value event.

It is unfortunately not possible to trigger a conversion based on the number of times a specific event is completed in a visit, but I would hope that is on the list for new features. 

Event goals represent one of the most useful features in the newest version of Google Analytics, and despite some confusing language around match type, have proved to be fully flexible and configurable.