You have a good online platform, be it an ecommerce website or an informational blog, and you use Google Analytics to gather a whole lot of information about your website’s performance, incoming traffic, and more.
You have the right means to gain insights about the content you intend to share or sell.
But you still may not be getting the results you expect as many or most of your visitors fail to convert.
What could be going wrong?
Google Analytics (GA) can tell you a lot about the people coming to your website, their location, and demographics, which pages they are visiting the most and what type of content is getting the highest hits. According to a recent research by W3Techs, 56.5% of all websites use Google Analytics. It is a tool which empowers you to resolve a lot of digital marketing issues in your business.
With that said, simply acquiring the data in a report isn’t enough. You must know how to use Google Analytics properly to extract the truest information possible out of it.
Below are some of the most common mistakes related to Google Analytics. They affect your website’s performance, hurting the conversion rate and leading to bad marketing decisions.
- Misreading the reports
- Execution without strategizing
- Failing to ensure you have the right setup
- Not tracking all the pages
- Failing to automate reporting when needed
- Multiple page tracking
- Missing out on “search” report
Misreading the Reports
A widespread mistake regardless of the scale and domain of your business, is to misread the GA reports. You can even call it one of the earliest mistakes when working with Google Analytics. And it has a lot to do with how you see the data in the reports.
For example, you may consider that any visitor spending more than 45 seconds on a certain page of your website translates into a conversion. You may also believe that more than 2 page views mean the same thing. Going by these parameters, your data may show you 100% conversion rate. But realistically, this may not be entirely true.
Dig deeper and do not follow your reports blindly especially when they appear to be a bit too promising. Study and analyze the data, compare it with the previous data to make accurate assessments of how numbers are changing and what those changes really mean.
Execution Without Strategizing
Do you believe that implementing GA will solve all your digital marketing as well as conversion problems? No, it won’t unless you understand how to use it effectively depending on your business.
Continuing on the example mentioned in the previous point, a visitor spending at least 45 seconds on an informational blog and on an ecommerce website is not the same thing. People may get all the knowledge they want in a minute’s time reading an article, but the same amount of time could mean nothing on a typical business website.
You cannot have similar sets of parameters for two different websites. Your perspective of setting the goals and thereby, analyzing the reports should be based on what you’re looking to share and sell.
Failing to Ensure You have the Right Setup
When you’re using a certain tool, different actions you take can often be connected directly or indirectly. Just like making a plan is important to make adequate use of GA, setting it up right is equally important. It is an essential prerequisite of using Google Analytics, so that it will eventually bring you the right data regarding your business website.
For example, you can track the traffic coming to your website more accurately using UTM (Urchin Tracking Module), compared to the conventional tracking by cookies. UTMs are text strings that can be inserted in a URL so that it can be accurately tracked. And in case you are using Google Tag Manager, you should make use of its Preview Mode to test your setup.
Not all Pages are Being Tracked
A mistake which clearly highlights the loss – not all information is being tracked. This means the reports are likely producing incomplete and inaccurate data. Imagine what this could do to your decision making. Devising your strategies related to content, digital marketing and conversions based on incomplete data in the reports could lead to catastrophic results. Ensure that all the pages of your website have GA implemented regardless of how much visitor traffic they are intended for.
Failing to Automate Reports When You Should
Automating of tasks has become one of the best ways for increasing efficiency in an overall work process. And it should be the approach with Google Analytics as well. Keep the manual hard work for things that only need a human touch like analysis of reports and further brainstorming.
Reporting in GA can be automated by using:
- Google Sheets and Google Analytics API
- Google Data Studio
Both are useful and either one can be used. That said, Sheets and GA API are more customizable compared to Google Data Studio.
To be absolutely fair, you might be doing completely fine without automating as well. But this is about increasing the overall work efficiency when using GA and gaining long term benefits.
Multiple Tracking Systems
This is a kind of a mistake that could generate incorrect numbers in the report, due to multiple or duplicate tracking conflicting with each other. For example, you can be using Google Tag Manager as well as internal UTM parameters on some of your pages. This could show almost zero bounce rates for that page.
You must track your pages and ensure that they do not have double tracking for them. Simply use Google Tag Manager and Campaign Tracking to make sure that your website is only single-tracked. Campaign Tracking is about recognizing how people discover your website. And it is mainly done by tracking online advertisements that could lead people to your websites.
Missing out on the “search” Report
The “search” option in a website is helpful for anyone looking for a particular information. At the same time, it is a vital component in gaining insights on what your visitors are actually looking for on your website.
It is imperative that you enable search analytics. This would provide data on:
- what people search most on your website
- whether their searches yield results or not
- how much searched content you are missing out on
- additional content you need to create
Of course, you can also get this kind of information through customer feedback, but that doesn’t mean you won’t use search analytics!
Irrespective of your experience in running a website and using Google Analytics, these are some of the common mistakes that occur universally. Besides putting the efforts in learning the tool itself, you can make use of various communities and discussion forums online that can enlighten you about the effective use of GA. You can interact with other website owners, new and old, and talk to them about how they use Google Analytics to gather info about their respective websites. You can easily ask digital marketing queries about GA or discuss cases to discover more mistakes that your business can learn from. With the answers to your questionnaire for digital marketing, you can build strategies that can easily help you dodge the common and not-so-common mistakes that can impact your conversions.
Such interactions can act like free and informal tutorials providing you real-life examples on using GA effectively. It will ensure that you are extracting the correct data to accurately analyze your website’s performance and how things can be improved to increase conversion. It also means you are using Google Analytics to its full potential to strengthen the future of your digital marketing strategies.