Let’s face it, collecting and analyzing data and not knowing whether the data is right, doesn’t make any sense at all. Daniel Waisberg clearly emphasized this in his latest article on Analytics Blogspot. He mentions 5 things to take into account to make sure Google Analytics is running smoothly and the data you analyze makes sense:
1. Create a “Raw Data” profile
2. Use Real Time Reporting feature
3. Keep track of configuration changes
4. Know what data your website sends to Google Analytics
5. Compare Google Analytics data to database (if running an ecommerce site)
This is a nice list, but I would like to add a few more things here.
6. Make sure all your website pages are tagged
It wouldn’t be the first time that I come across a Google Analytics implementation where the Google Analytics code is running, but not on every page.
7. Set up your goals
What would you like your website visitors to do on your website? Filling out a contact form, buying a product or simply downloading a brochure?
8. Install the right set of filters (1): use IP filters
By default Google Analytics will track all pageviews of any user who enters your website and accepts the first party cookies of Google Analytics. You want to make sure that you setup a profile where you filter out IP addresses of people that show other behaviour than the ‘normal’ website visitor. As a guideline, you may want to filter out your own IP address and those IP addresses of people who give technical support to your website and anyone else involved with your website and not being a (potential) customer. The data of those visits probably skews the data.
9. Install the right set of filters (2): eliminate duplicate pages
When it comes to URLs, Google Analytics is case sensitive. It means that online-metrics.com/ANALYTICS and online-metrics.com/analytics would be recognized as two different pages, but in reality they contain the same content. You can set the ‘Request URI’ parameter to lowercase to overcome this problem.
10. Install the right set of filters (3): eliminate duplicate campaigns
Campaign tracking in Google Analytics is very powerful; you can tag all different channels / campagins and give them any name that fits your name conventions. You want to make sure that there won’t be any duplicates. For example if one person writes ‘EMAIL’ and the other person ’email’ you want both traffic sources to be counted under the same name. Therefore you need to install a few more filters on your profiles.
I recommend to set additional lowercase filters on Campaign Source, Campaign Medium, Campaign Name, Campaign Term and Campaign Content.
Any questions, any thoughts? Please share your opinion.One last thing... Make sure to get my extensive checklist for your Google Analytics setup. It contains 50+ crucial things to take into account when setting up Google Analytics.