5 Common Sense Google Analytics Tips

You’ve set up a Google Analytics account and you are happily recording page views, sessions and bounce rates.

You hope the information you’ll gain about your website visitors will help evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing plan and your user’s experience.

But are you sure that you’re not making any simple mistakes?

Below are some of the common Google Analytics mistakes we seen on a daily basis, which can play havoc with your data.

1. Create A Test View

This tip is about safeguarding your Google Analytics.

Imagine you make changes to your Google Analytics settings in an attempt to better understand your data, but in the process end up corrupting or losing information, pretty disastrous right?

It is therefore absolutely essential to have a place where you can test changes to your configurations and settings to ensure that they are watertight before implementing them. By doing this, you will protect your data, keeping it safe and clean.

2. Use Sensible UTM Parameters

Although Google Analytics does have some capability to analyse where your traffic is coming from, most of the important information has to come from UTM parameters which you set and apply yourself.

Without UTM parameters it is basically impossible to keep tabs on your marketing strategies to find out what is working and what is not.

So, what is the best way to do this?

Well first of all, don’t even think about writing them yourself! Instead use this handy tool from Google which will allow you to make sensible UTM parameters in seconds:

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867?hl=en

You should then attempt to track every URL you possibly can, including ad links, social media links, email links etc.

It is also a good idea to have a think about how you name your campaigns, keeping it as simple as possible.

3. Use Google Tag Manager

If you haven’t already installed Google Tag Manager on your website, you should ask yourself, why not!?

Not only does it have built in de-bugging features but it will also help you with the following:

  • It will allow you the flexibility to tweak simple tags without a developers help.
  • Your tags are kept well organised and are all archived meaning you can roll backwards to an old version.
  • There are built in tags to make your life easier e.g. AdWords, Remarketing.
  • Best of all, all of this can be done super speedily.

Download Google Tag Manager: https://www.google.co.uk/analytics/tag-manager/

4. Exclude Internal Traffic

This may seem obvious, but there are companies which still fall into the trap of recording their own visits to their site. Make sure you set up a view filter to exclude your office IP address.

5. Record Micro Conversions

It would not be hard to persuade most people of the importance of Google Analytics goal recording in measuring the success of a website.

However, it is important that websites and businesses do not place too much emphasis on their Macro goal or goals (the major reason for your sites existence, e.g. customer purchase, lead generation).

For example, an E-Commerce website should be recording goals such as signing up for a newsletter, adding an item to cart, sharing a product via social media, or even entering a competition, as well as their Macro goal of customer purchase. Recording success in these areas will allow each of these steps on the buying chain to be enhanced.

The same can be said for other websites, although defining Micro goals can often be more complicated. For example a lead generation websites’ Macro Goal could be an inquiry via a contact form, whilst its Micro Goal might be visiting a certain relevant page or even the time spent on site.

Summary

  1. Make sure you safeguard your data with a test view
  2. Use sensible UTM parameters to track your traffic
  3. Download Google Tag Manager
  4. Set up IP address filters to exclude internal traffic
  5. Track Micro goals as well as Macro goals

 

These common sense tips will all help you to make the most of Google Analytics. If you are still having trouble, it is worth investing in a Google Analytics consultant, in order to maximise the marketing potential of your business.

Ed Brocklebank is the founder of Metric Mogul, a digital analytics consultancy. He helps business of all sizes become more data-driven through marketing technology. He runs training for General Assembly London on Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.