At TribalVision, one of the principles we live by is “measure everything you market”. Whether you are a business owner or a marketer, it is critical to have the proper tools in place to measure performance metrics that enable you to make data-driven decisions.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for analyzing data for your business. While Google does a great job in providing actionable, educational resources on how to set-up and navigate this tool, even the savviest marketers can make these 3 common Google Analytics mistakes.
1. Not Implementing Tracking Codes Across Site
While it may seem obvious that you need to set up tracking codes on your website, incorrect installation can easily throw off your performance metrics. To verify if your Google tags are working correctly, you can check them using a free Chrome extension called Google Tag Assistant. Google Tag Assistant will validate, diagnose, and troubleshoot the installation of Google tags including Google Analytics, Tag Manager, Google Ads tracking, and more.
2. Lack of Internal Traffic Exclusions
Websites are usually the main hub for your company information, which means that your own employees may be frequently visiting it for their own purposes and skewing your data. One of the most common mistakes we have seen is the lack of IP address exclusions in Google Analytics. If you haven’t filtered out your company’s IP addresses, you may be making decisions based off behaviors that are not reflective of your customers and prospects. It is also equally important that you filter out IP addresses of any partners, agencies, and freelancers that you are working with.
3. Not Using UTM Tags
Google Analytics does a pretty good job of identifying where website traffic is coming from; however, even Google has its shortcomings. UTM tags (also called UTM codes) are snippets of code added to the end of a website URL that provides Google Analytics a detailed explanation on where your traffic is coming from.
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UTM tags allow you to track the source, campaign, and even content that drove website visits. Using the following tags. Here is an explanation on the UTM parameters you can customize:
- UTM_Source: This is the specific channel that the traffic is coming from (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, MailChimp, etc.)
- UTM_Medium: This refers to the default channel group that Google Analytics uses to categorize your traffic. In order to use this parameter properly, you must use the following:
- Display – this should be used for any URLs used in display advertising
- Email – this is used to track traffic driven from emails (the Source would be the email platform you are sending from – MailChimp, HubSpot, Marketo, etc.)
- Referral – this would be used when redirecting traffic from a referrer’s website to your own
- Social – this is used for any channels that you consider social media (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
- UTM_Campaign: This parameter refers to the name of your campaign
- UTM_Term: Most commonly used for paid search, this notes the keywords used to show the ad the URL is related to
- UTM_Content: This is used to differentiate the content that points to your URL, such as if you A/B testing ad types
Google’s Campaign URL Builder is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you build your own website links while providing explanations on the available tracking parameters.
Google Analytics can be an extremely powerful tool in your marketing toolbox when set up and used properly. Ensure that you are getting the most out of your digital marketing tools and data by preventing these common mistakes.