Retroactive goals with your raw Google Analytics data

Goals in Google Analytics are not retroactive. They only start showing data once you have configured them.

So, if you forget to set them up, this will happen:

But don’t despair!

If you have downloaded your raw GA data with Scitylana, you can use tools like Power BIExcelTableauQlik or similar to show goals retroactively.

Once the data are outside of GA, you can define or re-define your goals on the fly and see the effect immediately on the entire time range.

How to set up retroactive goals in Power BI

You can use Scitylana with any BI tool. However, here we will show you how to set up goals in Power BI simply because we know this tool better. It’s easy, even if you don’t know DAX.

  1. Open the Power BI file with your raw GA data
  2. Right-click on the Scitylana table under Fields and select New measure
  3. In the formula bar above the reporting canvas, enter this DAX expression:
Conversions = CALCULATE ( [Users], Scitylana[Page] = "/thank-you" )

But remember to replace “/thank-you” with the URL of your own conversion page!

And that’s it!

You have a new measure called Conversions which you can drag and drop into a chart, break down on time, traffic sources, geography and more – and it works instantly on all of your historical data.

Switch your base metric instantly

In the example above, we calculated the goal in terms of users, not sessions. We wanted to know how many users have seen the thank-you page.

If you want to calculate by sessions instead, simply replace [Users]  with [Sessions]:

Conversions = CALCULATE ( [Sessions], Scitylana[Page] = "/thank-you" )

Turn your goal into a percentage

You can also express your new measure as a percentage and turn it into a conversion rate. To do so, simply create a new measure called % Conversions and define it as the number of converted users (i.e. your original measure) divided by the total number of users:

% Conversion = [Conversions] / [Users]

Notice how we use the original measure within the new measure, which is a nice, powerful feature of DAX.

Conversions divided by users gives you a decimal number, but you can easily change format to percentage from the top Modeling ribbon.

Select the new % Conversion measure, then click the % icon:

Add as many filters as you like

Suppose you want to define your goal as the number of users who have seen the thank-you page with a mobile device while staying in London.

No problem!

You simply add more filters to your CALCULATE () function:

Conversions =
    Scitylana[Page] = "/thank-you",
    Scitylana[DeviceCategory] = "mobile",
    Scitylana[City] = "London"

… and you can add as many as you like!

Troubleshooting: Beware of your regional settings!

Please notice that the regional setting of your computer affects the required format of DAX (your goal expression).

In the above we have used US / UK regional setting, which requires you to use comma ( , ) as the list separator and period ( . ) as the decimal point.

If your computer has a different regional setting, you must use semicolon ( ; ) as the list separator and comma ( , ) as the decimal point. In this case, your goal expression would look like this:

Conversions = CALCULATE ( [Users]; Scitylana[Page] = "/thank-you" )

Next step

Now that you have created your own conversion measure and conversion rate, it’s time to add it to the Power BI template.

You can create a blank page dedicated to goals. Here you can insert a KPI chart that shows the status of your goal relative to a target.

You can also insert a combined line and bar chart that shows how your total number of users and conversion rate develop over time. The visualization possibilities are almost endless.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about how GA goals can be defined retroactively within Power BI. As always, we welcome any comments or questions you might have.

// Type writer effect