5 Tips For Successful Google Analytics Implementation
Knowing your audience and managing site visitor data is crucial to the success of your company. Whether you’re running a blog or an e-commerce site, you should be keeping track of who visits your sites and what their behaviors are. Google Analytics gives you a ton of tools to measure these metrics, yet I still see a lot of people setting it and forgetting it.
I want to get you and your business started on the right foot so in this post I will be showing you 5 tips for successful GA implementation.
Also included in this post is my FREE Ultimate Google Analytics Setup Guide. Twenty pages of step-by-step instructions to make sure you are getting the most out of your site's data!
1 - Create Multiple Views
You should have a minimum of 3 views: Unfiltered (All Views), Test, and Master.
- Unfiltered - By default, when you first create a property in Google Analytics, an unfiltered view is automatically generated. Don’t apply any settings, goals, filters, or configurations to this view because some features fundamentally alter how data is processed in ways that cannot be reversed. Instead think of it as a safety net for your data; this view can always be duplicated if necessary.
- Test - You should also have a test view. If you need to make any changes to your configuration, test them on this view first. That way you can see exactly how these changes impact your data. When I create filters, I will apply them to this view for a few days. If everything looks correct, I then apply it to my Master view.
- Master - Your Master view will have all of the settings you have applied. You’ll be basing your business decisions off of this view.
Note: When creating a new view, Analytics does not copy any historical data from the original view to the new view. Your new view will start collecting data from the date it was created.
You can find your views in Admin —> Account —> Property —> Views
2 - Exclude your IP address
This is often an oversight for newer websites but if you’re constantly visiting your own site making updates or adding new content, a lot of the traffic you see in your reports will be coming from you. When analyzing your data you’re going to want to disregard all the visits you made to your own site, as these hits will skew your data.
To find your IP address, simply Google search “what is my ip address"
To create an IP address filter:
In your Admin panel —> View —> Filters —> Add Filter
Leave the Filter Type as Predefined
In the drop down menus select Exclude traffic from the IP address that are equal to your IP addres
3 - Filter bot traffic
Referral spam is what you get when your web site is hit with a bunch of requests via bots using a fake referral URL. I recently wrote a post on how to block referral spam in Google Analytics so I won’t delve too far into it here. In short, bots are sneaky and smart and can muddy up your data. While there is no definitive solution to this problem, Google did address some of it here.
4 - Create Goals
Pageviews and Visitors are meaningless unless you understand the behavior of your users, and I highly doubt you've installed Google Analytics just to count those generic stats. In fact, I’m willing to bet there’s some purpose for your site — whether it be sharing valuable content, selling a product, offering downloads, etc.
This is why we set goals. When a user visits your site and performs an action defined as a goal, GA records that as a conversion.
In Google Analytics, you have four ways to track goals:
Learn more about setting up your own goals here.
5 - Track your campaigns
Are you aware of which network is bringing your site the most traffic right now?
If not, you should add parameters to your URL’s to identify the campaigns that are referring traffic. These parameters are called UTM codes, and they essentially tell you where, how, and why traffic is reaching your site.
Here is an example:
In this case I can see the source of the traffic to my home page is coming from my Facebook.
I also devoted an entire post to campaign tracking, which you should totally read if you want to measure your social ROI. A great place to start implementing tagging would be all of your social media profiles and email campaigns.
I hope these tips help to demystify some of the intricacies of Google Analytics. While this is by no means a comprehensive list of things you should be implementing, it is a good starting point in being proactive with your data.
Also, if you haven't taken advantage of custom dashboards then do yourself a favor and check out this post on how Google Analytics dashboards can be of help.