Google Analytics, now part of the new Marketing Platform, is an essential part of any marketer’s arsenal. It can provide unfathomable insights about your users, how they behave on your site, and can inform any future activity.
However, although Google’s default settings are useful, they may not provide you with the most in-depth, relevant data possible. Instead, we would recommend running an audit of your Google Analytics account to ensure it is as effective as it possibly can be.
How To Check Google Analytics Is Set Up Correctly
There a number of steps you should take to check Google Analytics is set up correctly. The below lists just a few of the features and how to set them up (if you haven’t already):
Goals and KPIs are a key part of any marketing strategy as they provide a marker to aim towards and measure successes and failures against. Therefore, if you haven’t already got these set up, defining these goals and the purpose of your work is one of the first things you should do.
Once you have decided what your goals are, input them to Google Analytics by navigating to goals > admin > view (column) > goals.
Select new goal and then either choose on the templates that match your foal or click ‘custom’. From here, follow the onscreen steps to name your goal, with the appropriate attribution model, and fill in its details before saving.
Setting this up will facilitate benchmarking and reporting on progress of key business objectives, whether that’s call conversions, trial sign-ups or PDF downloads.
Exclude Internal Traffic
Whether you’re analysing your site, checking functionality, or generally having a click around- you and your team will likely spend a lot of time on your/your client’s website , which can artificially inflate figures including number of pages per visit and session length.
In order to get an accurate picture of users to your site, you should exclude this internal traffic from Google Analytics. You can do this by creating a filter for your IP address. Simply set up a filter as you usually would. Select ‘source or destination’ from the drop-down and ‘traffic from the IP addresses’. All you need to then do is select the correct expression and enter your IP address. Simple!
Exclude Spam At Filter Level
While you’re setting up a filter for your internal traffic, it may also be beneficial to filter out spam – you know, the type that present you with bizarrely high number of referral traffic with relatively no engagement. Again, this can inflate some metrics and dilute others, so we would recommend removing this as part of your basic set-up if you haven’t already.
So, how do you cut the spam from your data? Navigate to ‘reporting’ in the main Analytics menu, then ‘audience’ in the left panel, expand ‘technology’ and select ‘network’. From here you will be able to click on ‘hostname’ and make a list of all the valid hostnames you find.
Hint: most spam will have an obvious fake name or appear as ‘(not set)’.
The next step is to make a regular expression with the main domain and to create a custom filter. Rather than excluding traffic with a filter like the above points, this filter should ‘include’ your expression. Once saved, this should remove all future spam from your data.
Set-Up Site Search
If you have a site search element to your site, but aren’t tracking what common terms are being entered, this is a must do.
Start off by first running a search on your website and keeping the tab open. In another tab, navigate to your Analytics admin menu and, in the ‘view’ column, click ‘view settings’. The next step is to toggle on ‘site search settings’ and to refer back to the query parameter in your other tab (this usually has a q or s). Enter this and click save.
Consider Connected Tools
Analytics isn’t Google’s only tool, meaning you could benefit from a more holistic view of your marketing efforts. Whether it’s AdWords, recently renamed Google Ads, or Search Console, previously known as Webmaster Tools, utilising these tools could provide you with increased insights.
Webmaster Tools is a handy way of finding out which keywords are bringing traffic to your site and to what pages, whereas AdWords will provide data such as keyword search volume.
Other Analytics Actions To Consider Making:
• Ensure the Analytics tracking code is implemented on every page of your site.
• Implement custom reports, dashboards and segments for a personalised experience.
• If you will be filtering your data, always keep a raw data view to avoid loss.
• Check Analytics for any notifications or error messages.
• Remove any old users that no longer need access e.g. ex-employees.
Need Further Help with Your Google Analytics Audit?
If you would like to discuss your digital marketing platforms with an industry expert who can advise on the best tools and set-up configurations, then sign-up to attend one of our marketing conferences in London. With seminars, presentations and more, you’re sure to walk away with a more in-depth knowledge of Analytics.