Five mistakes people make using Google Analytics

Google Analytics can appear intimidating at first, and it’s often tempting to leave everything in default settings out of fear of pushing the wrong button. But I’ve got news for you — by not doing the tips below, you’re missing out on major opportunities to gain meaningful insight into your website traffic. It’s time to get down and dirty with Google Analytics.

By Carla Mateus, senior account executive at Stone Junction

Not using Google Analytics in the first place
It’s estimated that there’s 30 to 50 million websites using Google Analytics. Considering there’s around 172 million active sites on the world wide web, many website owners are missing out.

Without using Google Analytics, or an alternative, you cannot measure the effects of your marketing strategies. For example, you wouldn’t be able to see which pages are attracting the most views, or where in the user experience people are leaving the site. Isn’t that something you really should know?

Use it. It’s free.

Not having multiple views 
We recently spoke with digital analytics consultant, Andrew Bruce Smith, about this issue. He explained that, by default, you have one view on Google Analytics, and that’s the raw data. However, you should set up three views in total, the raw data view, test data view and master data view.

The names are self-explanatory, but in a nut shell, you trial changes to the test data before implementing them to the master data view. This is important, not only for comparing against baseline values, but to ensure changes don’t affect your high value, master data.

Not eliminating spam referrals 
You’re using Google Analytics because you want to know how much traffic is coming from real human beings. Including spam visits from bots will give an inflated view of traffic, rather than a realistic, meaningful view of potential customers or clients.

It’s a quick fix though. Go to admin, view settings, and tick the box underneath bot filtering. Do this to your test view and master view. Leave your raw data view including bots, so you can assess the difference.

Not setting up goals
I’ve done a whole separate blog post on setting up your first goals on Google analytics. Goals enable you to see if people are doing what you actually want them to on your site. This can be anything from visiting more than one page, to downloading an asset.

One example this feature allows you to do is put a percentage figure on how many people visit a product page then go on to visit the contact us page. By having this data, you can make changes over time to increase it, and hopefully generate more sales leads.

Not taking advantage of UTM links
Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) links are regular URLs with code attached that tells Google Analytics where the referral came from. This is particularly important for social media links, as social media referrals from mobile devices register as direct traffic. 

It’s also a great way of measuring success from content marketing. Tag each article with a different UTM link and you’ll soon find out which ones are bringing in the most traffic.

There are several ways to easily generate UTMs. The original method is to use Google’s own campaign builder tool.

So, there you have it. Things that you might not be doing with Google Analytics, that you really should be. We use loads of tools and tricks like this to help our clients get the most out of our measurable, digital PR campaigns. Want to know more? Email me at carla@stonejunction.co.uk or call +44 (0)1785 225416.

Carla Mateus

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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