4 Common and Costly Google Analytics Mistakes and How to Fix Them
54.6% of websites on the internet use Google Analytics, and for a good reason. It helps businesses identify the target audience, improve website usability, optimize marketing campaigns, and allocate marketing budgets. While Google Analytics is beneficial to enterprises regardless of size and industry, it can lead to poor marketing decisions.
By not reading Google Analytics reports correctly, the wrong conclusions could be derived on which campaigns are working and where to spend your marketing dollars. Which are the most common and often costly mistakes organizations make when evaluating Google Analytics, and how can you fix them?
Mistake #1: Reviewing Aggregate Goals
Reviewing aggregate goals is a mistake everyone should stop making. By default, every Google Analytics report has an 'All Goals' section that shows the number of goals and conversions achieved. This can be misleading and culminate in poor marketing decisions since all goals are not equal.
Common goals businesses create on Google Analytics include submitting a contact information form, completing a game level, requesting a demo, making an online purchase, visiting more than five different pages, and filling the Contact Us form. Obviously, some of these goals are more valuable than others. For instance, making an online purchase is more valuable than visiting five more pages.
While these goals are different, Google Analytics uses one number to report on all goals. For example, you may have 12 total goal completions. However, this does not give any valuable insights into how your marketing efforts are performing. The 12 goal completions could be 12 visitors who submitted contact information form or 12 visitors who made online purchases. The difference is substantial.
To get an accurate picture of the marketing's performance, review individual goals in the reports instead of aggregate goals.
Mistake #2: Using Aggregate Data
A majority of businesses make this mistake. They use the total website stats to inform their marketing decision-making, which is wrong. If they are using one marketing method, they can use the stats.
Nevertheless, if they use multiple marketing tactics, these stats are nearly worthless because they don't tell them what is happening with their marketing. While it is impressive to see that their total traffic increased, they do not know what led to the increase. As such, the aggregate data across their website is not actionable.
It is best practice to use the Channels report rather than assessing performance from the aggregate traffic data. It provides a breakdown of the traffic their individual marketing channels generate. To access the Channels report, click on Acquisition > All Traffic >Channels. Combine the Channels report with the specific goals' data in point one, and see how your marketing campaigns are doing. Increase your Channels report accuracy by avoiding the third mistake.
Mistake #3: Ignoring the URL Builder
They can enhance the accuracy of their Channels report by using Google's URL Builder. When they ignore the URL Builder, Google Analytics does not know how to categorize some of their traffic. Consequently, it labels it as 'Direct Traffic.'
Let's give an example. Someone clicks on a link in their latest email that opens on a new browser window. Google Analytics is unsure where the traffic came from and labels it as 'Direct' in their Channels report.
They can rectify this by using the URL Builder that tells Analytics those clicks emanated from their email marketing channel. The URL Builder enhances their Channels report accuracy for better marketing decisions.
Mistake #4: Disregarding Devices
Overlooking devices in their Google Analytics reports is a huge mistake. Desktop and mobile traffic perform differently, and hence it is advisable to know where most of their traffic comes from. This is particularly vital as the global mobile web traffic increases by the day — 50.48% compared to 39.01 in 2015.
By default, Google Analytics does not indicate the source of traffic — mobile or desktop in their Channels report. As such, they can't tell whether some devices are outperforming others. For example, assuming traffic from mobile devices is outperforming desktop on their site; they would be unaware of the trend and thus won't optimize their site for mobile devices.
Consider segmenting the Channels report by device to determine how traffic from different devices performs for the different marketing tactics. This also helps to make the best decisions regarding devices. Segment the Channels report by clicking on the '+Add Segment' button located above the graph. Then click on 'mobile Traffic' and 'Tablet Traffic.'
Google Analytics is a fundamental tool for businesses that want to succeed and thrive in the increasingly competitive online landscape. It is useful in target audience identification, marketing campaign optimization, and marketing budget allocation.
Unfortunately, these analytics can lead to poor decision-making when you draw the wrong conclusions from them. When examining your Google Analytics, adhere to the following best practices to avoid common and costly mistakes that result in poor marketing decision-making.
- Review specific goals in the reports as opposed to the sum of all goals.
- Assess the performance of specific marketing channels rather than all channels.
- Use URL Builder to enhance the accuracy of the Channels report
- Segment Channels report by device
Is your website generating enough leads and sales? Is it performing optimally? Contact Diaz & Cooper Advertising today to find out.