So you’ve got Google Analytics code installed on your site. That’s great. But do you really use it to its full potential? Do you glean actionable insights from it, which help craft your digital marketing strategy?
Google Analytics is the most popular tool for analyzing website traffic that is used by companies of all sizes. Don’t let the fact that it’s free lead you to underestimate it. It is truly powerful.
Yet few companies actually harness the power that it offers. It is often either neglected or used simply as a ‘website counter’. That is like owning a Ferrari and only using it to pootle to the shops once a month. There is a lot more to effectively using Google Analytics than just putting the code on your site. The set up needs to be customized to get the best out of it.
Here are a number of the most common mistakes that we see when we’re auditing Google Analytics installations and how they can be fixed:
1. Set up ‘Goals’
Goals are whatever you are trying to achieve on your website. For an ecommerce site this could be a sale and for a ‘lead generation’ site this could be an enquiry through the contact form.
Once these have been set up properly in Google Analytics, you can start seeing not only the overall numbers of sales / leads, but also start analyzing how you can start getting more. Should you stop certain advertising that is failing to convert into sales? Should you invest more in social media, because it helps with the sales process? These are the types of question you will be able to answer when goal tracking is correctly installed.
2. Set up your ‘Sales Funnels’
Once you have goals set up, you have the option of creating a funnel. This can be used for any goal but is particularly useful for ecommerce sites and their checkout process. The various steps to reach a goal are added to Google Analytics, an example for an ecommerce store checkout could be:
- Add to cart
- Enter address details
- Enter billing details
- Confirm order
Once Google Analytics has started to gather data, it will start to show the percentage of people that drop out at each stage of the funnel. This is particularly useful for fixing website design or usability issues. In our example above, if we found that a large percentage of people completed their address details but failed to enter their billing details, there could be something wrong with the website design of that particular page.
3. Make sure you’re using the latest Analytics code
There have been numerous versions of Google Analytics code that have been introduced over the years. The latest version is called Universal Analytics. This latest version is the one that you should have on your website. Not only does this give the most accurate data, it also allows access to certain features that are not available in earlier versions.
An example is the use of advanced ecommerce tracking. This gives online stores access to additional data such as purchase funnels and promotion code analysis.
4. Make sure your AdWords Accounts are correctly linked
Are you paying good money to run ads on Google AdWords but the data that your getting in Google Analytics is either incomplete or seems to be missing altogether? The first place to look in this scenario is whether you have correctly linked your AdWords and Analytics accounts. This allows you to view AdWords data in Analytics and vice versa.
5. Set up Filters
Sometimes it is preferable to exclude certain traffic from your analysis. A great example of this is that you wish to exclude traffic from your own company. By setting up a filter, the number of visitors to your site will not be artificially inflated by staff that are checking the company website.
Another use would be if you wanted to analyse traffic to a directory on your website separately, such as your blog. This would involve setting up a new View with a filter that only included traffic to the blog section of the website.
It is good practice to ensure that you always have access to one unfiltered View of your data, just in you need to view all website traffic in future.
If you think that your digital marketing strategy is based on ‘gut-feeling’ rather than statistical evidence, then maybe it is time to have an Analytics Audit carried out.