Monday, 02 December 2019 20:12

How to delete Goals in Google Analytics?

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Short Answer - You cannot.  Goals cannot be deleted in Google Analytics.  Well there goes the bounce rate for this article!

Before you hit the back button to look for a 'better' answer let's review the options.

This might also be a perfect time to review your overall approach to tracking website goals and key performance indicators.  This article from Avinash Kaushik Digital Marketing and Measurement Model will help you think through how to align Google Analytics goals with your overall website and business goals. 

Google Analytics Views can have up to 20 Goals.  These goals cannot be deleted but there are steps you can take to make the most of what Google Analytics has to offer. 

Let's assume we have a couple goals like this:

Google Analytics Can I Delete Goals

So what are our options?  Well there are a few things you can do - disable the goals that are no longer useful, create a new view or repurpose goals .

If we have not yet reached the 20 goal limit we can disable our old non-recording goals and create new goals.  If we have reached our limit then maybe it is time to start fresh with a new view and new goals.  And in certain cases maybe we can repurpose an existing goal (but read first to make an informed decision).

Disabling Goals

We can turn them off so they do not record the goals any longer.  It is a simple process open up the Google Anlaytics -> Admin -> View - Filters and click on the Recording switch to off.  This will clean up all the Google Analytics reports that show goal information:

Google Analytics Can I Delete Goals? How to turn off recording.

Create a New View

When you are out of goals in a view then creating a new view is an excellent approach.  At the same time other updates can be made as well - filtering out internal traffic, linking to Google Ads, Search Console and other Google Tools.  Maybe linking other websites using sub-domain or cross-domain tracking is on the list too!  Basically any of the View configurations that will help improve data overall can be done as a part of configuring a new Google Analytics View.

Wait what about my historical data!?  Well yes that can be a pain to have to make this change, You can always go back to your earlier view for historical data - using the API or Data Studio to show both the old and new data.  And again it is a great time to make a clean start.  And you will be amazed at how quickly the time passes. 

Create New Goals

Once you know what you want to record for your goals consider all the goal types available - the two we use the most are Event Goals and Destination Goals.

Here is a the Event Goals details page:

Google Analytics Can I Delete Goals Event Goal

We can use the Event Category, Action, Label and Value as a part of our goal conditions.  We also have the conditions of Equals to, Begins with and Regular Expression - so a lot to work with here for our goal creation.

One great way to use goals is to capture the goal detail in the Event - so on a registration form (as we show in our 'repurpose' example below) capture detail about the location, price, user details.  This can be stored in the Event fields or create custom dimensions for this information.  And then with the Top Events reports or custom report will allow you to view the detail information.  And your Goal will provide the 20,000 foot level KPIs.

and of course do not forget about our stand by Destination Goal:

Google Analytics Can I Delete Goals Destination Goal

We have the same conditions as our event goal.  So again a lot of flexibility built into Google Analytics.

There are also the Duration, Pagesper Session and Smart Goals - we do not use these as often.  But the detail to create them is available in the Google Analytics Help pages.

Repurpose Goals

Another approach is to change or repurpose an existing goal.  This will allow us to maintian our view history.

IMPORTANT NOTE Google does not recommend this approach.  The reason is that the historical information stil reflects to old goal configuration so users of the data can be confused by the old and new goal data showing in a report.  We will illustrate this repurposing - but starting a New View is our go to recommendation.

Let's show how to do this with an example, we initially created a goal for an Event in New York City, but we host events all over the world.  We would run out of goals very quickly - what we decide is to create a new goal for all our regstrations - so starting with this:

Google Analytics Can I Delete Goals correct old destination

We repurpose our goal details to this:

Google Analytics Can I Delete Goals correct destination updated

We changed the goal name from "New York Registration" to "Website Registrations" so we will know exactly what we are seeing in the future.  We also change the destination from "/thank-you-nyc" which would only work for New York events and made it generic.  Now any page that starts with "thank-you" will record this event.  (There are multiple alternatives to goals - for example a generic event goal could be created while recording the city information in the event as well.)

Important Note: This goal will only record the "Website Registrations" from the time you update this goal - so the historical data will still show NYC Registrations  

 Google Analytics Can I Delete Goals correct destination annotation


So now you know what to do if you run out of goals.  But more importantly - stepping back to develop a measurement plan that focuses on a Key Performance Indicators will helps us avoid this issue completely.

With these new higher level goals we will see an overall indication of website health.  

Google Analytics Can I Delete Goals Acquisition New Goal

And using the Google Analytics reports we will aslo be able to dive into the detail to view the effectiveness of our various Channels, Campaigns, Ad Groups:

Google Analytics Can I Delete Goals Acquisition New Goal AdGroup

With that conversion rate we need to put a little more money in our Rental House Ad Group!



Read 20557 times Last modified on Monday, 27 April 2020 17:17
Jay Murphy

Jay Murphy is a digital analytics expert and founder of Trionia, where he specializes in transforming data into actionable insights for large and mid-sized businesses. With over thirty years of experience and a passion for Google Analytics since its inception, Jay has honed his skills to bridge the gap between technical data analysis and strategic business planning. An educator at heart, he has developed and taught comprehensive digital marketing courses at both the undergraduate level and within organizations, enriching minds with his deep understanding of the digital analytics landscape.

His career, which began in systems analysis for spacecraft guidance, has evolved through roles that blend technical acumen with strategic vision across various sectors, including Fortune 500, Higher Education and Non-Profits. Certified in Google Analytics since 2011, Jay's leadership at Trionia has spearheaded successful online campaigns and innovative marketing strategies, underlining his commitment to leveraging data for growth. Jay's approach goes beyond the numbers; he's a storyteller who uses data to drive business success, making him a pivotal figure in the digital marketing world.

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