GA : Match Types In URL Destination Goals

> define how Google Analytics identifies a URL for either a goal or a funnel

Destination Goals are set up for you to measure the viewing of specific pages by your website users : the best example is to know how many times your “Thank you for registering ! ” web page has been loaded.

This type of goal also allows the creation of funnels – that is when you specify steps to your final goal : GA tracks where visitors enter and exit the path on the way towards your goal page. Tha way you might see pages where a lot of traffic exits before completing the goal, or where users are skipping step ; all of this giving you precious information about your path to conversion, especially showing problematic or extraneous steps.

You have 3 options for defining how GA will identify your funnels or goal URLs – but note that the type of match you select will apply to all the steps of the funnel if you create one.

Exact Match – for regular URLs

A match on every exact character in the URL, without exception. Use this type if your website pages are fixed (with no dynamically generated parameters such as query parameters or session identifiers) and user-friendly (easy to read).

Beware : make sure the URL you provide in your goal or funnel are exactly the same as on your pages. Also inserting a whitespace in the goal field will invalidate the goal.

Head Match – for filtering out URL parameters

A match on identical characters starting from the beginning of the string up to and including the last character in the string you specify. Use this option when your page URLs are generally unvarying but when they include additional parameters at the end that you want to exclude – ex. query parameters or session ids.

Ex. : a URL visited by a particular visitor might be
In this case, the id varies for every other user. You could still match this page by using /checkout.cgi?page=1 as the URL and selecting Head Match as your Match Type.

Regular Expression Match – for matching multiple criteria

A RegEx enables flexible matching : this is really useful when your site uses stem and trailing parameters that vary in a URL for the same website page.

Ex. with tracking multiple subdomains : users can complete a purchase whether on 2 different subdomains :

Here you could use a RegEx to set a goal for when any web page in the “book” subdirectory is visited with ^/books/.* ; or you can focus on how many purchases where made, no matter for what type of books, using checkout.cgi\?page=1.

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