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What are the most common mistakes made in Google Analytics setup?
Hands down, without question, the biggest Google Analytics mistake is using UTM tagging on internal site links. It'll TRASH your data.
Also, for external campaign links, not understanding the difference between source, medium, and campaign can result in a headache in reports.
Rob, I completely agree. What is even worse is when marketers are not using UTM tagging at all, which in many cases leads to inflated direct/(none) traffic numbers and zero actionable data.
:paper bag: I fall into this category today. I won't be in this category tomorrow.
this is a right pain for me too when I was a web analyst.
It's why I built AnalyticsURLBuilder.com to make it easier to manage campaign variables and choosing the right values for each variable.
Rob, that's a big mistake, I agree, but I don't think that answers the question since it's not common to find such aberration ;-)
I made this mistake four years ago and we still get false data because of this. So true.
Same with using the same account across domains and not forcing a domain in GA. Really common with clients that have domain.com and store.domain.com. Kills the original referring source.
Using UTM parameters in Adwords instead of connecting it to GA to allow for more/better data to be fed to GA.
1. Not filtering out internal sessions
2. Not setting up goal tracking
Internal sessions and hostnames that don't match your site (loads of scrapers take the content with the analytics code - inflating your pageviews and messing up the general analytics data.)
The assumption that you cannot do "people tracking" in GA. That is absolute malarky. What is true, is that you cannot store PII on Google Analytics servers. That doesnt mean that you can't associate individual users with unique identifiers (like database IDs).
- Tutorial: How to send user IDs to GoogleAnalytics
- Tutorial: Using the PII Viewer for Google Analytics Chrome extension
Additionally, I would say that spending too much time on people analytics can be misleading and introduce bias. Just because you have heard of a company doesn't mean that it is a larger company. Use metrics to segment your high value users and focus on them anonymously. Cause at the end of the day thats what matters doesnt it (with the exception of powerful logos you can use for building trust)?
The list can go on and on, but I have found that the most common mistakes are placement of the general pageview tracking code within the right HTML tags (Hardcoded = , Google Tag Manger = ) as well as setting up proper subdomain tracking to avoid self-referral traffic. Also, never use more than one pageview tag per page, unless you have properly configured the code to ensure that duplicate data isn't being sent through the same ("send") method.
Sorry, didn't realize the form removes tags. *The hardcoded code should be placed right before the closing head tag and Google Tag Manger should be placed right after the opening body tag
The most worrying issue which I see wayyyy too often is not having any goals set up at all.
Not tracking your email signups and micro conversions is foolish.
Once I realized that I should set up Filters and Segments I was able to get a lot more value out of GA.
This post is a little old, but still has a lot of good info on Segments.
Not using UTM tags is a big one I see when people ask me for a 5-minute crash course in GA.
And way too many eCommerce stores I talk to haven't set up eCommerce tracking...
Lack of goals definition, because this means there is no strategy at all, no KPI, no objectives. The lack of goals in GA means poor / none marketing/growuth strategy
Using Gogole Analytics, a lot can be done, most of the time, I feel these can of great help after settingup Google Analytics:
1. Setting up proper event tracking.
2. Enable Site Search.
3. Setting up internal traffic filter.
4. Connecting Google Webmaster Tools account.
5. Connecting Google Asense Account.
6. Connecting Google Adwords.
1) Enabling Demographics data - not even funny how many sites don't do this
2) Multiple Instances of the tracking code - specially with sites using wordpress.
3) No customization - dashboards/segments/goals/filters
4) Switching tracking codes without realizing the implications
5) Not using duplicate profiles for filtered data or any test
Forgot to mention - Google actually has a great set of courses on how to set up and use GA properly: https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/explorer
From the link, specifically see Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Google Analytics Platform Principles
1. not filtering bot or suspect traffic (setting in admin)
2. not using the goal funnels.
3. not filter internal traffic.
As I was developing Conalytics, I came across a LOT of websites and their GA implementations. The 3 biggest and common GA implementation mistakes I found were:
1. Not enabling Demographics and Interest Reports a.k.a. Display advertiser features
2. Not setting up goals
3. Not tracking events
A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about these mistakes and how to fix them easily:
The link's broken.
Sorry about that. It's up now.
Not realizing how GA handles attribution and then failing to look at first interaction vs. last interaction, etc.
here are top 10 common mistakes: http://siteber.com/top-10-most-common-mistakes-in-google-analytics/ : )
1) not using cross domain tracking
2) using different conversion goals in Adwords and GA.
Not setting Google tracking of site speed sample rate to 100%, forgetting to create auto link of domains so no bad referral data.
Not setting up filters to remove PII information when passing data into GA.
Are just a few i can think of.
We tried to solve just that!
In GA for Mobile, not using the following features:
1. Experiments for A/B Testing
2. Enabling App Speed
3. Enabling App Demographics & Interests
4. Not linking GA with Play Store
5. Not tracking iOS App installs
Find out how to enable all the above features here https://medium.com/its-an-app-world/unlock-the-power-of-google-analytics-for-mobile-249d77578e70
I've made so many mistakes! Great discussion.
Not setting up goals correctly
Don’t just have a start and end page in your goal funnels, otherwise you won't see where users abandon your funnel.
This also is necessary especially when you have multiple goals with the same destination URL. GA counts every arrival to a destination URL as a goal completion, even if you have different starting pages.
Not blocking spam referral sites
Not setting up custom segments
Like creating a New Organic traffic segment instead of comparing Organic traffic and New Users separately
Not setting up a custom dashboard that only shows the metrics I care about
Speaking of blocking spam referral sites, PaveIQ offers a free 'referral spam remover' that updates automatically: https://www.paveiq.com/referrer-spam-remover/
I may not be a perfect solution but can help jumpstart your spam blocking efforts.
One thing that happens pretty frequently is not gaining the right access level for client accounts. This isn't a huge issue but can slow down your progress. If you don't have admin access at the Account level then you're unable to create filters. In some cases, we weren't allowed admin access at the account level due to the way the clients had their accounts structured. They didn't want to share access to all their other properties. Luckily we're able to move properties across accounts now.
The biggest mistakes in my view would be:
1. Copy pasting incomplete code or wrong ID (in case you are using any plugin)
2. Using UTM parameters on internal pages.
3. Tagging outbound links incorrectly with UTM.
4. Not setting filters on Office IPs.
5. Not setting filters on internal hostnames.
6. Triggering an event on click of submit button instead of successful submission of forms.
7. Not tagging your web push notifications with UTM tags. (This is important since all traffic would else be counted under direct channel.)
8. Not having an unfiltered master view. This helps in creating different views not affected with existing filters.
9. Not necessary but connecting Google Search Console with GA would help serve more insightful data.
Let me know if this helps.
One of the most common mistake in setting up Google Analytics is not filtering internal data. Suppose you have sizable number of employee and they are opining and interacting with the website on daily basis then what kind of data you can expect from GA. The data and reports what you are getting from GA has a sizable traffic from your own employees. So its really necessary to filter the data for internal team.
The second most common mistake is not setting up proper subdomain tracking to avoid self-referral traffic. Google Analytics provides sample data in their reports so you need to be very careful in defining and implementing things in Google Analytics.
These mistakes become blunder when you try to implement GA on e-commerce websites. Here is an example from an article which I have written recently: https://www.iqlect.com/blog/what-are-the-issues-shopify-merchants-face-in-e-commerce-analytics-and-how-to-fix-them/
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