Destination goals in Google Analytics are great when your aim is to direct your visitors to a particular page (usually a thank you or a confirmation page). Unfortunately, it can get a little more complicated when you have the same destination URL for two different user journeys. You can create unique URLs with GTM to set up distinct Google Analytics destination goals.
One example is when a user can access that destination page via different website journeys. Imagine that you have a generic thank you page and visitors are driven there when they sign up for a newsletter… but also when they fill out a contact form. Another situation may be when you want to track user registration goals from a checkout page but once the user signs up, they are taken back to the same checkout page. You may not always have the power to make website development changes to create unique URLs for these different scenarios.
Another example is when a user is able to bookmark a thank you page and start a new session with it. You may want to exclude these visits from your goal conversions.
You might expect the funnel functionality in Google Analytics to narrow down these user paths. Unfortunately, this feature only affects the Funnel Visualisation report. Your conversion rate will still be calculated based on the total number of sessions where your destination page was viewed.
Google Tag Manager offers a great solution to these problems where you can change the URLs that are sent to Google Analytics based on the different journeys that your visitors took.
Define the page to make unique
The first step is to create a trigger that defines the exact criteria for your scenario. For this, you want to create a Page View trigger that defines your Page Path and also the Referrer (the previous page visited in your desired user journey).
Note that your Page Path will start with a forward slash and your Referrer will be the full URL.
If you are unsure what the exact link to your page was, head to the preview mode and check the exact Referrer value in the variables section.
Create a tag to overwrite Page Path
Next, add the tag that will rewrite the Page Path before sending it to Google Analytics. This is a Page View tag where you configure Fields to Set and attach the trigger configured above. If you’re using a Settings variable (which you should do!), tick “Enable overriding settings in this tag” to get the Fields to Set options. Add a “page” field and input your new path name that you’ll want to see in GA.
Amend your Base Page View tag
Finally, you need to amend your existing Base Page View tag where you add the same trigger from first step as the exception. This will ensure that you don’t have duplicate hits on for that same page – one with the old URL and one with the new one.
Create your Destination Goals
Once all your GTM work is complete and you’ve published your container, head to Google to define your new destination goal. Now you can use your new page view path as the goal destination.
Splitting up your destination goals in the way described above will make your Google Analytics reports much more meaningful and precise. Your goals should help you find out exactly what different users of your site find relevant. You should also want to find out how different goals influence one another. When you don’t have the power to make development changes, often the tactic of renaming page paths will be very effective.