Most marketers have a basic grasp of Google Analytics and know that it’s an important element of improving digital marketing. But it’s a complex system and there are ways of using it to give you clearer insight into your audience, how they are using your website, and how to increase conversions.
This is a quick ten step guide to the top mistakes to avoid with Google Analytics.
Mistake 1: Not upgrading to Universal Analytics & not using Google Tag Manager
Google Analytics is great in many ways, but known for its poor customisation when setting up tagging – thankfully this has changed with the advent of Universal Analytics. Configuration has become easier, especially with sub-domains. Use this with Google Tag Manager and you will have much more accurate data about your users. This is another free tool from Google that means the tagging can easily be done by the marketing team rather than IT.
Mistake 2: Not having control over your Google Analytics account
It can easily get out of hand who has access to your Google Analytics account. Do an audit to make sure there are no past employees and that everyone on there needs access. Make sure they are using a corporate email address for security and keep those with ‘edit’ rights to a minimum. Ensure you have control over it and it wasn’t created under another agency’s account.
Mistake 3: Not having duplicate, cleansed views
Because of the way Google Analytics is set up, you can’t get data re-processed. So it’s important to have a number of different views set up with different filters. For example, you need one that filters out all staff and also an unfiltered or raw view to compare it to. For the basics you should have the following;
- All sessions
- All external sessions
- All internal sessions
- All sessions (raw)
- All sessions (raw duplicate)
Mistake 4: Not enabling demographic data or remarketing
Every marketer wants to know the demographic of their audience. Google Analytics looks at data such as age, sex, interests and what they are shopping for through its DoubleClick integration. So firstly make sure you switch this on for your site. Once you know who your audience are, you can target them more effectively using AdWords. In order to convert you need to concentrate on getting users back to your site after their initial visit, email marketing and remarketing are effective ways to do this. So consider a pop up to capture data when people arrive on your site. You can also remarket to people who have visited your site through AdWords, perhaps offering a discount to entice them back.
Mistake 5: Not using (or worse; misusing) campaign tracking
One simple rule here – use campaign tracking for inbound marketing only and never on your own site for measuring performance of internal content. For example, definitely make sure that email campaigns are connected to your Google Analytics via campaign tracking. Also switch on auto-tagging in Google AdWords – it does all the hard work for you, allowing you to see how your AdWords are attracting and converting visitors. Don’t use manual tagging, it will skew your data. And absolutely never use campaign tracking on internal links as this will also corrupt your data – set these up as event tracking instead.
Mistake 6: Not managing conversions
A conversion should be something a user has to do, like complete a form, make a purchase or download something, not just a simple page visit. So think carefully when you are setting up your goals – make sure you have defined an end point. Use the goal flow reports to analyse the points where the user drops out – then you can work on fixing any issues and creating more of those all important conversions.
Mistake 7: Not abiding by Google’s Terms of Service
Mistake 8: Not using event tracking, custom dimensions or the user ID
Mistake 9: Not understanding the Google Analytics data model
You need to understand how Google Analytics collects, processes and reports data in order to get the most out of it and create meaningful reports. For example, traffic sources can be misleading – looking at users rather than sessions will help you here. You also need to get to grips with segmentation, to understand specific users and sessions that link to your objectives.
Mistake 10: Not acting on data
Once you’ve done all the basics, and filtered out unnecessary data to generate the information most useful to you, then you need to define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Ask yourself about the purpose and objectives of the website and what metrics could indicate achievement of these. Try Google Analytics intelligence events for inspiration. Once you have these, tailor your dashboard so you are focussed on monitoring your KPIs, it will really help you to achieve your objectives. Then you can start to think about why some pages have a high bounce rate (Google can’t tell you this sadly!) and try A/B testing to fix problems.
The great thing about being data driven with analytics is that it helps to keep you on your toes. You are constantly striving towards achieving goals and it makes it easy to monitor this. Get the basics right and you will soon see an increase in conversions.
We hope that this quick guide helps you to avoid some of the common pitfalls. If you would like to discuss it further with one of our experts, please get in touch.