Part 2: Google Analytics account setup – 3 recommendations
At the start of another year, it is important that businesses (clients and agencies alike!) look to ensure that their Google Analytics setup is accurate, providing all the relevant audience data insights they need to drive their marketing strategy over the year ahead.
Ultimately you could have a brand new, highly innovative or well-performing website, but if you are not able to report on it correctly you may be missing out on crucial insights to help take your business to the next level.
A key part of our work in the Strategy & Insights team is to ensure that our clients’ Google Analytics accounts are set up to maximise its reporting capabilities. Following on from part 1, where we identified 3 initial recommendations to improve your Google Analytics account setup, we thought we would continue in 2019 by detailing 3 further setup recommendations we would advise all businesses to adopt!
1. Goal Tracking
Ensuring your Analytics profile has goal tracking is an absolute must. Put simply, goals are the actions on your website you would like users to complete, and as such, would like to report on.
We often suggest that these goals can be broken down into macro and micro conversions:
- Macro conversions are the primary goals of a website – such as buying a product or completing an enquiry form.
- Micro conversions are less commercial important actions, defined as steps or milestones in the user journey, but things we’d still like to keep an eye on. For example, this could be monitoring the number of users who add a product to as basket, or complete at least two fields in your form.
It is crucial to ensure that such goals are being tracked within your Google Analytics account, so you can measure whether users are completing key actions on the website. Once you can measure and report on these key actions, you can begin to optimise your site towards increasing this activity!
Most often, goals are tracking through either:
- Specific URLs – such as visits to a thank you page, demonstrating when a user has completed a form or purchase.
- Event tags – for example, when a visitor clicks on a specific call to action (CTA) button or link on the website. These are tracked by adding event tracking tags to your website, which is something you can do in Google Tag Manager yourself, or a developer can implement in about two minutes!
Example of a goal funnel visualisation on Google Analytics:
2. Tidy up your referrals category
Referrals are basically traffic sources from other websites to your website. So, for example, if Clicky Media links to your website, and somebody follows that link from our website to yours, they would be classed as referral traffic (as they arrived via a referrer).
Within your Google Analytics account, you can tell Google to identify specific referral links as traffic you want to be attributed to as a referral. This is quite a handy exercise, as Analytics can become confused about what exactly is a referral. Quite often you might find Email, Organic, or Social traffic are incorrectly categorised as referral traffic; it can be useful to make sure each channel is in its rightful place to ensure the most accurate performance reporting.
Example of a referrals report on Google Analytics:
3. Integration with other Google tools
Finally, in order to allow for improved reporting capabilities within your Google Analytics, link and integrate reports from other Google tools into your account. The most popular Google tools we would recommend linking are:
- Google Search Console
- Google Ads
Though both tools can be reported on separately within their own platforms, integrating them with your Google Analytics account enables Google to share data between each platform, and also allow you to make the most of this data to drive your marketing campaigns.
For example, while you’re able to view the most popular search terms bring traffic to your website using Search Console, integrating these reports in Google Analytics allows you to carry out further filtering and cross dimension reports, such as seeing if a specific demographic are using particular search terms (what are those young trendy kids searching for compared to their grandparents!). In essence, this integration takes the reporting of SEO and PPC metrics to the next level, allowing you to maximise the insights available from your reports.
So there you have it! Another rather quick, simple run-down of three basic improvements we should all ensure we have on our list when setting up a new Google Analytics account in 2019.
You can view some of our other blogs on Google Analytics account setup here:
- 4 Ways to check if your website has Google Analytics installed
- Google Analytics account setup – 3 recommendations
- 8 custom alerts to set up in Google Analytics