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Google Analytics Best Practices

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This presentation covers the best practices with setting up your Google Analytics account, ensuring that your data is as accurate as it can be and that you’re tracking the right things in the right way.
A basic session for people with a passing familiarity with Google Analytics who want to get the most out of their data rather than an advanced session.

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Google Analytics Best Practices

  1. 1. Ben Johnston GOOGLE ANALYTICS BEST PRACTICES Head of SEO & Data Analytics 29/06/2018
  2. 2. HELLO & WELCOME
  3. 3. WHO WE ARE
  4. 4. esvdigital.co.uk About ESV Digital • We are a global search marketing agency, offering PPC, SEO, data analytics and online branding services • Established in 2004, we have grown to ten offices around the world, with over 200 team members • We are pioneering with our technology and our approach, and we are sticklers for best practice – which is what we’re going to talk about today
  5. 5. esvdigital.co.uk About Me • 12 years experience in SEO, 10 agency side • Data driven and spent a lot of time with Google Analytics and Tag Manager, as well as other analytics tools • I’ve also worked as a data analyst using statistical methodologies across many different types of datasets • Qualified R programmer • Google Analytics Certified • Worked with over 1,000 clients – almost all of them needed Google Analytics setting up properly • https://www.linkedin.com/in/ben- johnston-seo/ • https://twitter.com/ben_johnston80 • https://www.ben-johnston.co.uk/
  6. 6. esvdigital.co.uk About This Morning’s Session • We’re going to cover best practices with setting up your Google Analytics account, ensuring that your data is as accurate as it can be and that you’re tracking the right things in the right way • You’ll learn what you should be implementing and why you should do it • This is very much a basic session for people with a passing familiarity with Google Analytics who want to get the most out of their data rather than an advanced session (although we may run one of those at a later date)
  7. 7. esvdigital.co.uk What Are Best Practices And Why Do They Matter? • There are generally three kinds of Google Analytics setups:
  8. 8. esvdigital.co.uk What Are Best Practices And Why Do They Matter? • There are generally three kinds of Google Analytics setups: 1. The right way
  9. 9. esvdigital.co.uk What Are Best Practices And Why Do They Matter? • There are generally three kinds of Google Analytics setups: 1. The right way (which we’re here to talk about)
  10. 10. esvdigital.co.uk What Are Best Practices And Why Do They Matter? • There are generally three kinds of Google Analytics setups: 1. The right way (which we’re here to talk about) 2. The wrong way
  11. 11. esvdigital.co.uk What Are Best Practices And Why Do They Matter? • There are generally three kinds of Google Analytics setups: 1. The right way (which we’re here to talk about) 2. The wrong way (>90% of accounts I see)
  12. 12. esvdigital.co.uk What Are Best Practices And Why Do They Matter? • There are generally three kinds of Google Analytics setups: 1. The right way (which we’re here to talk about) 2. The wrong way (>90% of accounts I see) 3. The IT department’s way
  13. 13. esvdigital.co.uk What Are Best Practices And Why Do They Matter? • There are generally three kinds of Google Analytics setups: 1. The right way (which we’re here to talk about) 2. The wrong way (>90% of accounts I see) 3. The IT department’s way (the same as the wrong way, but much more complicated and takes six months)
  14. 14. esvdigital.co.uk What Are Best Practices And Why Do They Matter? • Best practices let you ensure that you’re always working towards doing things the right way • They provide a framework • By following the best practices we’ll lay out today, your Google Analytics accounts will be giving you accurate, useful, easily-digestible data around the things that really matter to your business
  15. 15. 1 MEASUREMENT PLANNING 2 VIEW FILTERING 3 VIEW SETTINGS 4 GOAL TRACKING 5 EVENT TRACKING 6 ANNOTATIONS & ALERTS 7 TROUBLESHOOTING 8 QUESTIONS
  16. 16. esvdigital.co.uk Measurement Planning • This is the single most important part of any Analytics setup • It is where you identify what it is you actually want to measure and track – the metrics that matter to your business – Macro conversions – Micro conversions • How do you track and measure these metrics that matter? • What are your KPI’s?
  17. 17. esvdigital.co.uk What Is A Macro Conversion? • These are the big goals for your website –the things which directly matter to you as a business • They are often purchases, enquiries etc • These need to be identified before you begin your tracking configuration and, in many ways, they are the easiest part of measurement planning
  18. 18. esvdigital.co.uk What Is A Micro Conversion? • Micro conversions are the elements of your website which, while not directly influencing your bottom-line, they assist with them • They’re sometimes also known as “soft conversions” • These are usually elements which are further down the conversion funnel, so they provide a great opportunity to nurture growth • A micro conversion will typically be something like downloading a PDF of your content, signing up for a newsletter, viewing a series of pages or similar
  19. 19. esvdigital.co.uk Macro vs Micro Conversions • A car dealership has a series of vehicle detail pages, where visitors can see all the information about a car • They consider people viewing these pages as important to their business as they are the pages which lead to enquiries • However, these pageviews are not an enquiry in and of themselves • In this case, the enquiry would be a macro conversion and viewing the vehicle detail pages would be considered a micro conversion
  20. 20. esvdigital.co.uk The Measurement Planning Process • Identify: Work with stakeholders across the business to identify what success looks like • Integrate: How do your web measurement goals fit in with your overall business goals? Are you measuring against the same metrics? • Implement: Set up your Google Analytics and Tag Manager to track these metrics correctly • Interrogate: Examine the data constantly and see whether there are other elements you should be tracking or monitoring Identify Integrate Implement Interrogate
  21. 21. VIEW FILTERING
  22. 22. esvdigital.co.uk What Are View Filters? • Filters are a way to modify the way your data is collected and reported • There is a lot that can be done with them, from the simple – such as excluding an IP address – to the more advanced, such as rewriting URLs or aggregating pages • They are also a good way to minimise sampling if your site gets a lot of traffic • Filters do not change your data retroactively • You can’t just turn them on and off the way you can a segment, which is why there should be a dedicated filtered view
  23. 23. esvdigital.co.uk The Difference Between Filters And Segments • Filters are permanently applied to a view, whereas a segment can be applied and removed on the fly • Segments are quicker and more convenient, but typically less powerful • There are many pre-built segments within Google Analytics, but you can also build your own custom ones • In many cases, segments trigger data sampling sooner • You cannot exclude things like IP addresses with segments, you need a filter for that
  24. 24. esvdigital.co.uk Google Analytics Account Structure • Google Analytics accounts are structured like so: – Account: The top-most level where a series of properties are stored. Your login can have more than one account. – Property: An individual website or app. Tracking codes are generated at the property level – View: Where you can see your data and reports. You can have many views below a single property Account Property View
  25. 25. esvdigital.co.uk The Views You Should Have • Generally speaking, you should have at least three views for each property – All Website Data: The default view which comes out of the box with Google Analytics. This is completely unfiltered and should not be used for reporting, just as a control – Filtered Master: This is the view which should be used for reporting. It should filter out bot traffic, your business’ IP address(es) and those of any partners/ partner agencies, ensuring the only traffic recorded is “real” traffic – Staging: A view which only includes traffic from your Analytics team’s IP address, used for testing out new deployments
  26. 26. esvdigital.co.uk Setting Filters Up
  27. 27. VIEW SETTINGS
  28. 28. esvdigital.co.uk View Settings • Aside from filters, there are some other configurations for your views which should be used • Make sure that your settings are correct for your website and your location, otherwise you can end up with confusing data • Also be sure to tick the “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders” box
  29. 29. esvdigital.co.uk Site Search • Really useful way of understanding how people are using your site • Very easy to set up under View Settings • You’ll find the data under “Behaviour” in your reporting view
  30. 30. GOAL TRACKING
  31. 31. esvdigital.co.uk Back To The Plan • Remember the macro conversions we talked about in the measurement plan? Those are our goals • Depending on your site’s configuration, these can be very easy or very complex to set up • In many cases, they are just a destination, but they can be almost anything you like, including time on site, the number of pages people view or an event • If you’re using Google Tag Manager, you can make these events be almost anything, giving you real flexibility around what you track as a goal
  32. 32. esvdigital.co.uk Tracking Macro Vs Micro Conversions • In many cases, micro conversions (number of pages viewed, watching videos etc) are better off set as an event rather than a goal • However, depending on how they support your big business goals, it may be worth tracking them as a goal as well (such as mailing list signups) • Ultimately, that decision is a case-by-case basis
  33. 33. esvdigital.co.uk Keep Your Goals Tidy • Goal tracking can get messy if you have too many of them running • You can lose sight of the metrics that matter and find yourself focusing on elements which don’t matter as much as others • Don’t set every little thing you want to look at as a goal – your measurement plan should be as much about efficiency as efficacy • You have a limit of 20 goals to a view. Make them count
  34. 34. EVENT TRACKING
  35. 35. esvdigital.co.uk What Is Event Tracking? • If we can consider a goal a desirable action taken on your website, an event is simply an action taken on your website • They require special code to be added to the element of your website that you want to track as an event (clicks on a PDF link, for example), which previously meant the development overhead was higher than people would like • However, Google Tag Manager makes event tracking easy and flexible • You can use event tracking to see form completions, clicks on individual links, scroll depth, video views and much more. The possibilities with it are almost endless
  36. 36. esvdigital.co.uk What Events Should You Track? • With all these possibilities, it can be difficult to decide what to track • When doing Google Analytics and Tag Manager installations, we configure events around the measurement plan, but there are usually a few core ones which we always track: – Form submissions (these are usually a goal) – PDF downloads – Outbound links – Video views (if applicable) and length of view
  37. 37. esvdigital.co.uk Events As Goals • If you configure the tracking for them correctly, events will automatically feed through to Google Analytics • However, these events can also be set as goals if you have any which are important, such as form completions • It’s vital that when filling in the goal details for an event, that you are exact – they won’t track as goals otherwise
  38. 38. esvdigital.co.uk Using Events • Events are a fantastic way to really understand the ways people are interacting and engaging with your website • By tracking what visitors are clicking on, how much of your video they’re watching, how far down the page they’re scrolling, you are able to gather a wealth of information which you can use to optimise your site • We generally suggest that if it can be tracked as an event, do so, but not every event needs to be set as a goal
  39. 39. ANNOTATIONS & ALERTS
  40. 40. esvdigital.co.uk Annotations • Heavily under-used – they’re Google Analytics’ best-kept secret • Annotations are used to mark a date when something happened (a new campaign, new site design, something broke etc) • The provide vital history to anyone and everyone who works on the website • Annotations take seconds to set up, but save hours later on
  41. 41. esvdigital.co.uk Alerts • Custom Alerts are the quickest way to let you know that something isn’t working the way it should be • Or, conversely, they let you know that things are going great • Again, these are underused in the vast majority of accounts we see
  42. 42. esvdigital.co.uk When To Use Custom Alerts • You would use Custom Alerts to alert you that traffic from different channels has dropped by a certain percentage (typically 15%), or if it has increased • However, there are a huge range of possibilities with them • Custom Alerts should be part of the measurement planning process. During the “Identify” stage, you should also identify what you want to be alerted to and over which date range • As you can see, there are a wide variety of metrics which can be used for Custom Alerts
  43. 43. TROUBLESHOOTING
  44. 44. esvdigital.co.uk Most Common Google Analytics Issues • There are so many possible problems with Google Analytics, that we’re just going to hit some of the ones we see most commonly • If you have other problems with yours, feel free to ask me about it in the next section
  45. 45. esvdigital.co.uk I’m Not Seeing Any Data • Check that your Google Analytics/ Tag Manager code is installed on the site - use the Ghostery plugin for this • Check that your Google Analytics code matches the account you’re looking at – you’ll find your UA number under Tracking Info below Property
  46. 46. esvdigital.co.uk My Bounce Rate Suddenly Dropped To Almost Zero – Yay! • This almost certainly means that the Google Analytics tracking code is now on your page more than once • This will be skewing all your data, not just bounce rate • Remove the duplicated code
  47. 47. esvdigital.co.uk My Goals Aren’t Tracking • There’s a configuration issue somewhere • Check that your confirmation page URL hasn’t changed or that your event details within Google Analytics are the same as the event tracking code or setting within Tag Manager
  48. 48. QUESTIONS
  49. 49. Contact +44 (0) 203 475 1801 contact_uk@esvdigital.com THANKS

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