If you set up goals in Google Analytics there is no method to delete them, although you can deactivate them (i.e. switch them off) instead. This is documented on various sites such as http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2013/02/05/deleting-goals-google-analytics/

The reason Google gives for this is that if you were to delete a goal it could skew the numbers in historical reports. A screenshot is given on the above URL that shows this.

What are peoples thoughts on only allowing users to deactivate - as opposed to delete - an option which they personally have set up?

Given that things change over time, is it correct to "freeze" user input in this manner? For example if a particular goal no longer has any bearing on a website/application, why have it there at all in the dropdown; you can't even click on it anyway yet it's presented in an element which looks like you might be able to?

The explanation Google give relating to reports seems to have a knock-on effect that it makes the dropdown look confusing - if someone were to glance at it quickly, would they realise which were inactivate vs active options and therefore get a clear picture of what was or could be tracked?

The reason I ask these questions is because I am going to be designing a web application where such options may come into play and would be interested in getting thoughts from a cross section of people.

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    I do appreciate their logic but it is a frustration not being able to delete them, especially because there is a max number. I think they should allow users to delete them and create new ones rather than recycle old ones. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


According to lunametrics.com:

Once you set up a goal, it only shows up in your reports from that point forward. It does not apply to historic data. This is because goal setup is part of the processing that happens on your data when it gets sent to Google Analytics’ servers.

As you can see there is a practical reason for that. However, if you read comments on various forums, you get a solid proof that this is bad UX and is not user-centered practice.

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