Stat Centric Blog

Understanding the Difference Between Goals, Conversions, and Transactions

May 26, 2014 - By Levi Page

Let's Review Some Conversion Terminology


When a user successfully completes an action important to the success of your company. In some cases, this can mean they literally "converted" into a customer or a prospect, but it can also pertain to things like downloads, demo views, etc., that lead to a full (or macro) conversion, such as a purchase. In either case, they are important indicators that they customer is engaged and taking the actions needed to help your business thrive. For example:

  • When a user signs up for your company newsletter (a Goal Conversion)
  • When a user completes a purchase (a transaction, also known as an eCommerce Conversion)

Any action that you have defined that contributes to the success of your company. Goals can be thought of as business objectives.

Goal Conversion:

When a user completes a defined goal, a goal conversion is recorded for that visit. An individual goal can only convert once per visit. So if I have defined 3 goals, each of them can convert once, but no single goal can be triggered more than once. For example, visitor A during a visit might trigger a download, a lead, and a sign up for a total of 3 goal conversions (1 download, 1 lead, 1 signup). If visitor A triggers another download during that same visit, only the first download is counted.

Transaction / eCommerce Conversion:

A special type of conversion that is used to track your online sales effectiveness. A transaction can contain multiple purchase items. The term eCommerce Conversion is used interchangeably with the term transaction.

Goal Value

A monetary value assigned to a goal conversion or the total value of all goal conversions for a given time period (depending on how the term is used).

Example: If I have configured a goal called "Lead" and 1 in every 10 leads results in a $100.00 sale, then I will likely want to value each lead at $10.00. This is done during the goal setup process.

Transaction Value

A monetary value assigned to a transaction or the total value of all eCommerce transactions for a given time period (depending on how the term is used). This is also called eCommerce value.

Example: If a user makes a purchase for $128.00 and the shipping and tax is $10.00, then the value for the transaction would likely be $118.00 ($128.00 - $10.00). You will want to set the value of the transaction to the gross revenue obtained after discounts, etc.

So what's the difference between a Goal and a Conversion?

The goal is the desired action you wish the user to complete. The conversion occurs when the desired action is actually completed. So for instance: You define a goal called "Download Brochure". You now have a goal defined, but until a user actually performs a download of your brochure, the conversion has not yet occurred.


  • Goals and Transactions/eCommerce are two categories of conversions.
  • Goals are business objectives that you define which contribute to the success of your company.
  • Transactions represent online purchases and may contain one or more purchase items under a single transaction.
  • Goal value is typically estimated based on the expected revenue (i.e.: $10.00 per lead, etc.).
  • Transaction value (i.e.: eCommerce value) typically represents real revenue obtained from a customer and is used for tracking online sales.
  • The metric Conversions is the sum of Goal Conversions + eCommerce Conversions.
  • The metric Value is the sum of Goal Value + eCommerce Value.