Stop Making These (Fatal) 12 Mistakes In Google Analytics

2018/07/13 08:00

Common mistakes of digital marketers

These are the Google Analytics mistakes that could be affecting your online marketing efforts.

When it comes to digital marketing, tracking and measurement are key. Luckily, Google Analytics makes this pretty easy.

If you’re like most marketers who rely on reports and insights from Google Analytics in order to better understand your audience, content, and campaigns, it’s imperative that you use this tool correctly. However, there are a few mistakes that you could be making that could derail your online marketing efforts.

12 Google Analytics mistakes to avoid at all costs

Below are some of the most common mistakes that marketers make when using Google Analytics. Fortunately, most of them are very simple to correct.

  1. Never questioning your data. As a marketer, it’s your job to be skeptical. By double checking and questioning stats and consulting additional reports, you’ll increase your chances of making sound business decisions. As great as Google Analytics is, it’s never a good idea to blindly trust your data.
  2. Failing to track all pages of your website. This mistake goes hand in hand with not checking your setup. Google’s tracking code should be on every page of your website if you don’t want to miss out on important data. Carefully check your setup to ensure that you’re tracking data correctly.   
  3. Not automating where you can. Spend additional time on errors and data that require a more personalized approach and perspective by automating some of your reports. Google Data studio is a great tool for this as it allows you to create and automate custom reports that can be sent to your team or to clients at whatever frequency you specify.
  4. Forgetting to filter traffic. In order to make your data as accurate as possible, it’s important to filter out spam traffic as well as internal sessions when pulling a report. While this might not make a massive difference in smaller organizations, larger organizations may be racking up hundreds or even thousands of internal page views that could skew reports. In terms of spam traffic, remove any spam URLs or host names that could be spiking your traffic for more accurate reports.  
  5. Not using UTM tracking correctly. When used correctly, UTM tags can provide marketers with an array of useful campaign insights but this can easily fall to pieces when UTM tags aren’t consistent or used correctly. To prevent any future frustration, it’s best to create a spreadsheet that outlines the exact tags that everyone on your team should be used for campaigns.
  6. Failing to segment your data. If you really want to take your digital marketing strategy and efforts to a whole other level, it’s important to segment your data instead of only using aggregate data. Location, demographics and behavioral statistics will provide you with invaluable insights.
  7. Not using annotations. This one is particularly important if you’re working on a big team or are adding new people to your team. Annotations help add context to your reports, reminding and informing people about any major changes or campaigns that might have taken place on certain dates and made a difference to your data.
  8. Forgetting to set up goals. Google Analytics goals are one of the best ways to track your progress. You don’t need to run an eCommerce store to benefit from goals either. Any action or activity that generates a lead or conversion or improves your customer experience should be tracked using goals.
  9. Never using custom alerts. Custom alerts are your early alert system, helping you to catch issues before they become major problems. Custom alerts are really easy to setup and will alert you to issues such as drops in traffic and conversions as well as broken links.
  10. Not enabling site search analytics. If your website has search functionality, you should definitely enable site search analytics. This is one of the best ways to find out what your website visitors are searching for, which will give you valuable insights into potential gaps in your content strategy or overall offering as a brand.
  11. Not taking the time to understand GA terminology. There are a number of key Google Analytics terms that you need to thoroughly understand if you want to create accurate reports. For example, knowing the difference between visits and visitors is key to calculating certain metrics such as conversion rates correctly. To truly benefit from Google Analytics, take the time to learn and understand the terminology.
  12. Failing to use your data. It’s all good and well to pull impressive reports and keep an eye on how your campaigns and content are performing but if you’re not doing anything with your data, you might as well not be using Google Analytics at all. Your data is there for you to better understand your customers and develop content and campaigns that are relevant to them so it’s important to implement any and all learnings.

When used correctly, Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool and one that should form part of every digital marketing toolbox.

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Were you making any of the above mistakes? How did you fix them?