Google Analytics is probably the most popular and easy-to-use tool on the web for eCommerce websites and business owners.
As Google themselves put it, Google Analytics is a tool that lets you “get a deeper understanding of your customers.”
Used correctly, Google Analytics provides you with all the details you need to know about your business website’s performance, and how you can generate more attention for your brand. Of course, like any other tool on the web today, it can take some time to figure out how you can get the most out of this helpful resource.
The good news? Once you’ve correctly acclimatized to the platform and its various settings, you’ll quickly discover how to start tweaking your campaigns to get the most useful insights. Here, we’ve put together a quick Checklist of crucial things you’ll need to do with your Google Analytics setup, to start driving more sales and revenue.
The Initial Set-Up
Let’s start simple, with the basics of setting up your Google Analytics account.
- Sign up for a Google Analytics account by going to Google.com/analytics. You can use a login ID here that already connects to a working Google account to speed things up, and Google will provide you with step-by-step instructions to get you started.
- Install the Google Analytics Code Snippet on your site. There are two ways you can do this:
- Get your Tracking Code snippet by going into the Admin tab on your Google analytics account and examining the section marked Tracking Info. Install that tracking code on your website by placing it on all of your pages before the closing </head> tag
- Use the Google Tag Manager: Get your property ID and install Google analytics within Google Tag Manager. There’s a guide on how to do this here, but it’s honestly very simple, so don’t panic.
- Make sure you’re using the latest code: Go into Admin > Property > Tracking Information > Tracking Code and ensure you’re using the newest version.
- Confirm that your time for Analytics matches the time zone in your AdWords account: Go into the Admin > View > View Settings system and click the time zone settings.
- Check View Settings: Ensure your Google Analytics View has a descriptive name by making it the URL of your home page, this will make it easier to track your performance on multiple accounts later on.
Checking Your Configurations
Now that you’re entirely setup with an up-to-date Google Analytics account, we can move on to the configuration stage of managing your campaign. Any good Google analytics checklist should include this stage to make sure that you’re collecting the right data from your marketing and sales strategies.
- Enable bot filtering: Make sure that you’re doing your part in the war against bot and ghost spam by turning on the Bot Filtering option in View Settings.
- Check that your data is being collected: log into Google Analytics and go to the Home tab. In the Home tab, click on the hyperlink that contains your analytics account number (it starts with UA) and your site URL.
- If there’s no data in your non-real-time standard reports, check that the dates are correct. Click on the data range shown and select the current time, then click Apply.
- If you can’t find any data, simply check back later. It sometimes takes time for the code to connect between Google Analytics and your website.
Make Sure You’re Collecting the Right Data
The more information you collect and manage through your Google Analytics account, the more useful insights you’ll have for your campaigns. When creating your personal Google Analytics Checklist, you may want to add some of these additional data sources into your campaigns:
- Ensure that Google AdWords is linked to Analytics. Go into Admin > Property > AdWords Linking. If you can’t see your AdWords account in this area, click on New Link Group and follow the instructions provided by Google.
- Import alternative sources of paid traffic: You might want to compare your AdWords performance to other CPC traffic. You can do this by setting up cost imports for those channels. Go to the Admin tab under the Property Column in your User Management services. Click on New Data Set then select Cost Data and move to the next step. Here you can name your new data set and select all the types of data you plan on importing, such as Impressions, Cost, Clicks, and Ad Content. For the Import Behavior section, select Overwrite. Save the new dataset and click on Get Schema. You can save the information to your computer, then go into your alternative Ad accounts to download the reports from each paid traffic source.
- Integrate Search Console: Make sure that the Search Console is linked by going into Admin > Property > All Products. On this page, find Search Console and make sure it’s set to “receiving data.”
Eliminate Referral Spam
Remember that you don’t want to skew your results with any unnecessary internal traffic sources like referral spam. While eliminating referral spam is tricky, it’s entirely possible, and a good way to enhance your Google analytics checklist.
- Start by creating an Include filter for your Google analytics view that only allows hits from your hostname. Go to Admin > View Settings > Filters and click on +Add Filter and Custom to give the filter a name. Choose Include as the filter type, then enter the excluded domain.
- Click the Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders in the View Settings. Google will attempt to identify spam hits for you.
You can also consider using a third-party service in the Google Analytics app gallery that helps to protect against referral spam.
Set up Goals for your Campaigns
Now we come to the fun part of your Google Analytics checklist – setting up goals. When you set up a goal, you can start measuring the results of everything you do on your website.
- Click on Admin, and you’ll see the option to set up a Goal appear in the middle of a page.
- Decide what you want to set as a Goal. There are plenty of options. For instance, if you have a contact form for people to sign-up to your newsletter, set the confirmation page as a goal.
- Choose from Destination, Duration, Pages/Screens per Session and Event for your goal. You can also add a value amount to each conversion by toggling the value option on.
- Set up Custom Alerts to make sure that you’re aware when Google Analytics stops performing as it should. This will help to minimize the loss of any crucial data. You can set up alerts by:
- Going to Admin > View Settings > Custom Alert. Set a name for your signal and mark all the views that you want an alert for. You’ll also need to choose a frequency for how often you want Google to check your data.
Bonus Steps for Extra Information
Once you’ve got to this point in your Google Analytics checklist, you’re free to add on any additional steps that you think will give you a better overview of your consumer data. After all, there are a lot of different ways that you can enhance the benefits of Google analytics. For instance:
- Track Inbound campaigns: If you have any third-party traffic acquisition campaigns, banner ads, email campaigns or more, track them. Campaign data will show up in the standard Campaign reports on Google Analytics.
- Enable Ecommerce: Report everything from purchases to the products being purchased so you can see which of your items are the most popular. Click on Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview to check if eCommerce is turned on.
- Track social performance: Starting on your YouTube channel or Google+ page, go to the Social Settings tab and add your website domains that you have social plugin content for.
- Integrate AdSense data: If your websites host Ads within the AdSense data, you can link your Google Analytics and AdSense accounts. Log into Google Analytics then go to Admin and select the Analytics account you want to link. Select + New Adsense Link and choose the AdSense property you want to connect. Click Continue and Enable Link.
- Enable Interests and demographics reporting: Get additional data about your consumer demographics for your user personas by going into Audience > Demographics > Overview. If you can’t see any data here, follow the instructions on the page to add a layer of rich reporting to your campaigns.
And there you have it, a quick and easy Google analytics checklist to ensure you’re getting the most out of your Google account! Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comment section!