Google Analytics got you nauseated?
Got a good handle on what users do one your website? If the thought of looking under the hood at your GA (Google Analytics) makes you nauseous, I’ve got some basic solutions for you. Here’s the good news – it’s not all that complicated. There is no better free tool to help you measure your marketing ROI (return on investment).
This post is meant to be a simple tutorial on the kinds of GA issues I see frequently, and a basic road map for helping measure your website’s effectiveness.
I’ve had the opportunity to review about 600 different client’s GA accounts to find ways to help them get a better understanding of what users do their sites, among other business reasons.
Here are the common problems I’ve seen:
- Lack of goal implementation (not tracking any specific user actions on the website, i.e. form fills, whitepaper downloads, email link clicks, newsletter signups.
- Double fired GA tags, which causes duplication of data and other side effects.
- I frequently see the GA script placed both directly on the website and also fired through GTM (Google Tag Manager).
- The GA account the client has access to, isn’t the same account associated with the tag on their website. When folks login, they realize they don't have access to their data.
- GA tag has been implemented improperly which causes GA to not record all data or worse.
- Lack of filter setup, to filter out traffic from the business’s own employees, direct or referral spam.
- Bot filter setting within GA hasn’t been enabled.
- The site has been “refreshed” in the last few months and the web developer either created a new GA account (and didn’t import over old data) or just didn’t place GA back on the site. This one kills me and we see it frequently.
- Client hasn’t been using UTM’s for their digital campaigns, so campaign data is non-existent or difficult to isolate.
This is what I recommend to every client I work with:
- Implement GTM (Google Tag Manager) so pixels can be easily implemented and event tracking can be setup, which will help you avoid annoying your web developer. Instructions here.
- If implementing GA directly on the site and not through GTM, do so per Google’s best practices here. If implementing GA through GTM, do not also add GA script to website code.
- Setup a dedicated View in GA with all data, completely unfiltered, so in at least one View, you’ll be able to retain all data regardless of what filters you apply in other Views. You can’t un-filter, filtered data in GA.
- Setup another View, with filters to filter out your internal website traffic, traffic from outside the country (especially if you are a small local business)
- Use UTM’s for any digital campaign you run, so you will be able to easily isolate your campaign traffic in GA. Google Link Builder can be found here. Certainly, expect your vendors to use UTM’s. If vendors aren’t using their own UTM’s or yours that you provide – I’d consider it a red flag. I've seen it all too often.
- Setup Goal tracking for the below. Instructions here. If you've got a WordPress website, the plugin DuracellTomi makes event tracking relatively easy to set up.
o Email link clicks
o Newsletter signups
o Whitepaper downloads
o eCommerce (track sales at a minimum)
In the future, I'll write about the most important GA reports to pay attention to, custom dashboards, and attribution modeling.
If you need help with any of the above please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.