Is Your Google Analytics Account Configured Properly?
I just completed the first round of Monthly Tune-Ups, and I was surprised at how many people had their Analytics accounts configured improperly, or not at all. Google Analytics is an incredible source of data for your site, but if you don’t have it set up properly it will give you skewed data, over-inflated stats and bogus conversion rates. Here are the most common problems I found:
Goals Not Defined
Analytics lets you set goals, such as ‘order received’ as well as the pages that lead up to the goal completion. This is called the goal funnel, and it lets you see how many people start a checkout vs how many complete it. This can identify choke points in your checkout which may be preventing people from completing the sale. The most common issues are too many steps, not clearly outlining shipping costs, or having shipping costs that are too high. Without the funnel and goal completion data though, you can’t examine any of this.
E-Commerce Tracking Not Enabled
Most shopping carts have an e-commerce conversion script built-in to the cart, which will pass along the value of the completed order. In Analytics, you can then determine which traffic spends the most money, what the average order volume is for a certain demographic, etc. However, if you don’t have e-commerce reporting turned on in Analytics, you can’t collect any of this data.
Filters Not Defined
Google lets you filter out traffic that you don’t want to include in your reporting. The most common filter is an IP filter, as you don’t want your own site visits to count towards your monthly traffic. You can filter out as many ip addresses as you want, so be sure to set up one for each staff member and office/home location. You’ll also want to add your SEO team and Developers on to the filter as well. I know I spend a ton of time on my clients’ sites, and could easily botch up their analytics data!
Another common filter is one to eliminate spam referral traffic. You may see things like buttons-for-seo.com in your referring sites. These aren’t actually sites that sent you traffic, they are a tactic used by spammers to get you to visit that site. Sometimes that site is selling a product they want you to buy, but as often as not it is some sort of hacker or virus trying to destroy your livelihood. While the referrer links are harmless by themselves (don’t click on the links!), they usually have 100% bounce rate which really messes with your traffic, bounce rate and conversion data. These are a bit tricky to set up, but there are a ton of resources out there that will give you step by step guides. One site will even automatically add the filters to your account for you with one click of a button!
One note on filters, they won’t apply to historical data, only data moving forward after you implement the filter. So it may take you a few months to get some valid, clean data after you set them up.
If all of this seems a bit overwhelming to you, you are not alone and we’d love to help! One of the main reasons we set up our Monthly Tune-Up service was to help our clients get Analytics set up properly and then really dig into the data that it is collecting. You can either visit our Monthly Tune-Up page and purchase directly using the buttons you find there, or drop us a line and we’ll walk you through each option and send you a sign-up link.