Top 10 Most Common Mistakes in Google Analytics

//Top 10 Most Common Mistakes in Google Analytics

Top 10 Most Common Mistakes in Google Analytics

Top 10 most common mistakes in google analytics

1. Not Using / Checking Google Analytics
Many of you have implemented Google Analytics tracking on your site, however, not many of you actually check and taking advantage of the information/stats from Google Analytics. Remember setting up Google Analytics account and implement tracking code on your site are not enough. The whole point is to utilize this information to improve your marketing.

You don’t have to check your Google Analytics reports every day, but it’s a good habit to check it at least on a weekly basis. Digital marketing landscape changes really fast, you want to ensure that everything is operating smoothly. If you are running campaigns, you should definitely check your reports, they might help you improve the performance of your campaigns.

2. Not Filtering Out Internal Sessions
Google Analytics reports on all traffic coming to your site. If you have developers, sales and marketing people regularly visiting the site, the data in your Google Analytics report might be over-inflated. So it’s a good practice to filter out traffic from your company as they are not relevant to your online marketing initiatives.

In order to filter out visit traffic from your internal team, you’d have to set up a filter to exclude these traffic based on the IP address.

It’s a pretty easy process,

  1. Go to the Admin tab of your profile, and click on “Filters,”
  2. Click the red “New Filter” button, and name your new filter (example, Exclude Internal Traffic)
  3. Use a predefined filter to “Exclude” “traffic from the IP addresses”
  4. Add your IP Address (to find out, just google “what’s my ip address)
  5. Hit add, and you are done!

You can always modify or remove the filter once it’s added.

3. Not Setting Up Goal Tracking
The goal tracking in Google Analytics is one of the most useful and important features. If you are not using it, you are missing one of the most important pieces of information about the success of your online marketing effort: your ROI.

You can set almost everything as goals; the most common ones are form completions such as blog subscription, contact us, eBook / whitepaper downloads or purchases for eCommerce sites…etc.

Follow up these steps:

  • Click on Admin tab, then make sure you are under the right account and property
  • Click on Goals under View
  • Click on New Goal, name your goal, and choose a type of your goal: destination, duration, pages per session, or event. Most likely, it’s going to be destination for your form completion goals.
  • Destination: Copy and paste the url from the confirmation page after people complete the form
  • Value: It’s highly recommended to assign a value to your goal. For simple site, you can assign an arbitrary value (eg. $10 ) For eCommerce sites, it’s actually very important to assign the right monetary value depending on your business model.
  • Verify this Goal: make sure to click on verify this goal to make sure your goal work. It would provide you with a goal value based on your data from the past 7 days.
  • And you are done!

4. Not Setting Up Proper Subdomain Tracking to Avoid Self-Referral Traffic
A self-referral is when you see your own domain or subdomain showing up in the Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals report. If you are using the latest Universal Analytics, you are unlikely to see many self-referrals in your reports. However, when you have multiple subdomains and domains, it is important to properly setup your subdomain and cross-domain tracking in order to avoid self-referral traffic.

Universal Analytics has made subdomain tracking really easy. You can grab the same tracking code for your main domain, and implement it on your subdomains. You can check out the step-by-step instruction on Subdomain and Cross-domain tracking in Google Analytics here. Make sure to have a separate view for each subdomain.

Follow these steps to setup a separate view for each subdomain:

  • Under view, click on Create new view.
  • Enter all the info regarding your subdomain site, then hit create
  • Then under the same view, click on Filters
  • Name your filter (example: Show Full Domain)
  • Filter Type: Custom -> Advanced
  • Field A -> Extract A: Hostname: (.*)
  • Field B -> Extract B: Request URI: (.*)
  • Output To -> Constructor: Request URI: $A1$B1
  • Make sure to check Field A Required
  • Then hit save!

You need to create another filter after this one in order to get only the traffic to your subdomain site. Here are the steps:

  • Name your filter (example, blog traffic only)
  • Pick a Predefined filter type: Include only à traffic to the hostname à that begin with
  • Hostname: enter your subdomain url (example, )
  • Then hit save!

You have created a separate view for your subdomain site tracking! Repeat these steps to other subdomains you might have.

The next step is to make sure to add all of your domains to the Referral Exclusion List. It’s under Property, Tracking info. You will see a Referral Exclusion List. By default, Google Analytics will have your main domain already added there.

5. Not Placing the Tracking Codes in the Proper Locations
Many people have discovered the power of the Google Tag Manager and have started to implement it along with their standard hardcoded code on the website page. Make sure they are implemented in the proper place. The hardcoded code should be placed right before closing head tag and Google Tag Manger should be placed right after the opening body tag. You can also setup Google Analytics through Google Tag Manager.

Related:  6 Social Media Tips for Small Business to Stand Out

6. Using UTM Tagging on Internal Site Link

UTM tagging is very useful when tracking campaigns from external sources. For example, email, ad campaigns, social media, CPC…etc. However, if you use tag your internal links with these UTM, it will only mess up your data. Instead of showing the original source of the traffic, Google Analytics will only show whatever utm_source/medium you tagged on the link.

7. Not Tracking Email Signups and Micro Conversions 

  • Setting up proper event tracking

Google Analytics only become useful when you have the proper macro and micro conversions setup. Many micro conversions such as pdf clicking, video playing can be tracked via event tracking. The best and the easiest way to set it up is through Google Tag Manager. You can learn more about how to track form completions using Google Tag Manager here.

  • Enable site search

Site search can actually tell you a lot about your visitors, what they are looking for, what they want to learn. You can then create content/marketing campaigns answer those questions / based on these key terms.

To enable site search tracking, go to the view that you are track under, click on view setting, then scroll all the way down to the Site Search Settings, simply turn it on, then hit save!

8. Not Connecting to Google Webmaster Tools, Google AdSense, Google AdWords
Google Analytics is pretty useful by itself, however,  it can be really powerful when you connect it to other Google tools for your business. Google Webmaster tools provide a lot more info on the health and accessibility of your website from Google’s perspective. It also provides a lot of the organic search terms people enter on google to arrive to your site. By connecting it to your Google Analytics,  you will be able to have that information on your google analytics reports as well.

Both Google adSense and Google Adwords provide info on your SEM efforts. You will be able to see how these paid campaigns are contributing to your overall online marketing efforts.

it’s pretty easy to set this up. Simply go to the admin tab of your Google Analytics tab,  then

9. Not Enabling Demographics Data /Interest Reports aka Display Advertiser Feature
These reports provide very useful demographic data on your website visitors. By default,  Google doesn’t have these reports configured for you.  You have to edit the tracking code to include the display advertiser features.

Here is the edited code example (the part you need to add is in bold):


(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXX-XX', '');
ga('require', 'displayfeatures');
ga('send', 'pageview');

if you are using Google Tag Manager,  simply check “display advertiser features” and republish your tag!

Next, make sure to enable the Advertiser Features in your Google Analytics account.

  • Select the Admin tab and navigate to the account and property for which you want to enable Display features.
  • In the Property column, click Property Settings.
  • Under Advertiser Features, set Enable Advertiser Features to ON.

10. No Customization – Dashboards/Segments
Every website is different. They have different objectives and conversion Funnels for different businesses. So it’s important to set up customized dashboards base on your own unique business or marketing strategy and tactics. All data in aggregation is crap! You will be able to gain a much better understanding of your marketing and website performance if you are analyzing it base on different segments.

To create your customized dashboards, you have to have a really good understanding of your business, find out who will be looking at these reports and determine what’s important to him/her.

For executives or CFOs, it’s basically all about the $. So focus on financials first. You want to show conversion rates, conversion value, number of sales, or number of leads. They care more about how everything marketing does is impacting the business bottom line. So start off with outcome, then go to behavior or acquisition.

CMOs care about the impact of marketing more than anything else; they care about what is making the impact and what is working. So start off with acquisition, then behavior, lastly, the outcomes.

For marketing managers, it might be a detail break down of how each marketing channel or campaign is performing.

For analysts, it could be metrics such as the session duration or bounce rate.

For developers/programmers, it might be the technical performance aspect of the website/apps. For example, are there any issues with shopping carts? Where do people fall off on your website? Is your site taking longer to load? Creating a tech dashboard is important to spot technical issues with your site.

Have a good understand of your business and what metrics are important for each person would allow you to create effective and informative dashboards.


2018-03-01T02:40:04+00:00By |Categories: Google Analytics|Tags: , , |

About the Author:

Cofounder of Siteber: a digital marketing professional with Master of Science in Marketing Analytics, specialize in SEO and Digital Analytics.

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