Are you still encountering these 10 common Google Analytics tracking mistakes?
Do you often use Google Analytics to control and measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns?
Pretending that one day, while checking the traffic growth over the past 6 months, you noticed a spike in traffic for two weeks.
You burst with joy and immediately checked how much these numbers earn. But, you found nothing.
You get a little confused and start tweaking your landing pages. This is where mistakes begin, and it might disrupt the originally perfect process.
But the problem is, how to identify a mistake that you don't even know where you go wrong? That's why this article stays here to help you identify some common mistakes when using Google Analytics.
1. You track hits from other domains
Do you know that your analytics could show traffic data from other areas?
The fact is, if your tracking code is exposed, or someone opens your source code and takes it from there, they can spoil your data by adding your code to their site.
"I didn't know at first that you had to set up filters so that you track only hits to your domain, not other random sites. I'm not sure why people do it, but I have scratched my analytic code and put it on random sites.
Because I had no filter on my website to track hits, my traffic data was inaccurate and everywhere." The Pilot’s Garth Adams said.
To prevent this tracking error, Adams adds: "You need to create a custom view filter to include only hits on your site. You must select "Hostname" from "Filter Field" and enter: (^|\.)example\.com (but use your domain)" in the "Filter Pattern” filed.”
2. Interior sessions tracking
It's an easy-to-encounter GA error. A lot of marketers say they made this error.
USA Rx’s Chris Riley states: "I forgot to exclude my IP address from data in the past. My numbers were skewed, and it looked like I had more site visitors than I had; however, a few of them were me visiting my website.
Fortunately, I found this mistake early, and it wasn't a big problem, but from then, every time I use Google Analytics, I still double-check all my settings."
Riley is not alone, says Kevin Miller of GR0, an agency with a common problem,"various internal teams must work on the site at any specific time. You will confuse your data unless you set a filter that excludes all domestic traffic.
The high volume of internal traffic can mess up your analytics, making you believe that your site has more interaction than it really has.
Using the right filter, you can most accurately analyze your website, thus enhancing overall growth strategies."
Especially in dealing with client work, Kenneth Pasley of SaySo Productions says, "specific numbers tell a story, but the story should stay as honest as possible. Based on the transparency committed with clients, they NEVER want to feel that they are feeding nonsensical things."
"I’ve heard a number of stories from customers who had left their ex-marketing agencies because they brought them "over-inflation of numbers.”
“A client or internal team member may visit their website often no matter what the reason is, and each visit is counted and included in their metrics.
That internal traffic can inflate the whole report for a particular month and make it look better than the real traffic.” Pasley adds.
Pasley says, customers sometimes don’t know their IP address and tell you to find their IP address to filter it in GA.
"The greatest barrier when filtering out IP addresses is many customers have difficulty understanding their IPs. That’s why a quick training with clients on how to access their IP addresses, why filtering them out is important can limit any conflict of overinflated metrics."
3. You don’t track conversions
The main goal of a website is conversions. However, many people don't track them.
That's why Stand With Main Street’s Charles McMillan considers it to be a top GA tracking mistake: "If you don't have conversion data, you'll get an imperfect image of your site results. After all, the main objective of a site is to generate conversions."
Andy Dunkin of Adam Block Design, advised: "You have to set up your conversion code and triggers correctly. If your conversions are not properly tracked, all your data will be skewed, and you might hardly inform any decision."
"Conversion triggers might fire at the wrong time, or several times when they are set up incorrectly, especially when you are talking about submissions, or lead generation sites.
For example, you may think that one form of marketing or a promotional code is better (or worse) than it really is, if you receive three form submissions, but your conversion tracking registers 5," Dunkin said.
So what and how should you track? "A conversion is what Google calls a 'lead' from the website," says Jay Berkowitz of Ten Golden Rules. For example, a sale, a submission such as 'contact us', 'a direct chat', or 'a call from a number on the site.'
Even though the most important measurement of web analytics is conversions, people often miss, duplicate or only track clicks on a form, not completed forms on a "Thank You" page."
4. You don’t care the site search
Site searching can provide a great deal of insight into what your readers want on your site. It’s a pity many people miss this information when they forget to track searching sites.
"I made a big mistake (with analytics tracking) of not adding GA to my site search query,” Kelly Maxwell from Seniors Mutual says.
I have a search bar on my site that enables visitors to look for what they want, and adding a GA code will let you see what people are looking for. This is very useful for creating more content to match what people have searched in the past!"
Mark Condon of Shotkit also pointed this out as a major mistake. He said, "For the last five years, I've led my company's marketing department.
One of the tracking mistakes in Google Analysis is not enabling the site search with a query parameter.
This meant that we couldn’t track the searches made on the website for a long time."
"You should ensure that you enable the search option to avoid this missing," Condon says.
Click Admin and view settings to start tracking site search.
Then, switch the Site Search Tracking button to ON, enter words representing internal query parameters.
5. You abandon your page
Some people will leave out their pages when they manually install GA code.
"Failing to track every page could lead to many misunderstandings about what the data tells you, and not to correctly install code," says Greta Simeonova from PAN Digital Marketing. You can correct that by making sure each page is appropriately tracked, and gives you enough information on what happens," says Simenova.
Carter Seuthe said how Credit Summit made the same mistake, "our biggest mistake wasn’t to place Analytics for a certain time on single pages."
"It's important to have it on every page you need to perform, and marketers must be cautious when creating new pages." Seuthe said.
In addition, you should take care also of the pages on your subdomain.
6. You track the missing code
Does your site ever receive a missing notification? The missing code is a top-level analytics tracking mistake, as Eden Cheng of WeInvoice said.
"Missing Google Analytics code is the mistake we might make when using Google Analytics tracking.
This often happens, particularly with websites using multiple CMS. Although Google Analytics has a missing code notification, many people still miss it because the notification is slow and tardy."
Likewise, Oz Party Events’ Isaac Bullen said, "In the past, I have been missing Google Analytics code more than once."
But why is this happening? Bullen shared a common reason, "It always happened when I changed a WordPress theme, and forgot to make sure the new theme still shows the Analytics code. And I think many site owners are facing the same problem."
"Using the header and footer scripts plugin on WordPress sites is how I managed to fix this problem. Thanks to this, even changing a new WordPress theme doesn’t remove the analytics tracking code," says Bullen.
7. You don't block parameters in the new view
You should be careful when using the new Google Analytics view.
Dan Martin of Route says: "Create a new view in Google Analytics, you can better clean up data, and see that all parameters are blocked in the new view."
"This will help you to deeply understand how the people on your page interact." - Martin adds.
Martin added: "Recently, nobody tells me about the consumer journey on the website since so many UTM entries were available that nothing could be gleaned.
Cleaning the data helped us understand more clearly who is who, and why he/she is on the website."
8. Running paid ads without using UTM parameters
"Not properly using UTM parameters when running paid ads is the first mistake with Google Analytics." - Pierre Michel Beauty's Chanel Meekins says.
You can't tell which ads work well, and which ads should be benched if you don't track UTM ads.
"This causes it virtually impossible to tell how the ads were doing, in regards to sending quality traffic to the site.” - Meekins says.
All looked like organic or direct traffic without adequate UTM tracking. It took me a little trial and mistake, but I believe that is what many online marketers are doing.
To prevent this, you should set UTM parameters from the very beginning when promoting content on your website."
9. You don’t test your analytics setup
Although you would not like internal sessions to be tracked, Jonathan Aufray from the Growth Hackers Agency recommends that you should test your GA before you think it’s done.
"Many marketers don’t set up the right path with Google Analytics.
For example, you didn't correctly install the tracking system, UTMs weren't working, you didn't integrate Google Search Console, or didn't track user journeys." - Aufray said.
"To avoid the above mistakes, you should test whether your system works. Open an incognito window, go to the site, start browsing, click on some different links and visit some pages of your site.
Then, you can check Google Analytics, if you could analyze this, and track what you did when you visited the site in incognito mode." Aufray adds.
10. You don’t use annotations
Have you ever seen interesting analytical data but couldn't remember what happened?
Filip Silobod of Honest Marketing Zagreb said.
"It's a common mistake of everyone, that is not putting annotations in Google Analytics. Annotations is a custom text in Google analytics that you put on a specific date to read what was going on at a specific time.
Traffic spikes on a certain date are not unusual. An annotation explaining a spike or drop is useful when comparing data. Or else, you had to guess,." Silobod says.
11. Using UTM parameters to connect to another website page internally
Alex Birkett of AlexBirkett.com says, "I've never seen a Google Analytics application without any mistake, but the most common mistake committed by marketers is using UTM parameters to link internally to another website."
In addition, Birkett shares that "this tears session data and completely ruins all the attribution efforts. It's superfluous, too.
You can easily analyze page paths or use internal link tracking parameters with custom values if you really want to track internal links for key campaigns systematically.
It sounds complicated, but it's effortless to do and requires only a few top downs of which internal campaign key is used for which value and how they will be used."
12. You only track desktop performance
A typical Google Analytics tracking mistake is tracking desktop performance only. This is similar to track on property type only.
Mehvish of Zen Media says, "One common Google Analytics mistake is to ignore the other devices. Tracking performance from a single device is not reliable because there is a big change in mobile search since the pandemic."
Here are the 10 common mistakes marketers often encounter when using Google Analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. Keeping all these mistakes in mind to improve one by one, then it's time to track the correct data to increase your marketing campaign’s effect.