Top 6 Ways To Optimize Google Analytics Today For A Strong and Sustainable Marketing Strategy

April 13, 2020

Executing a marketing strategy through the current global landscape is more of a challenge now than ever. While many marketers take different approaches to navigating the business impact of COVID-19, all can agree that accurate and trusted data is more important now than ever before. 

Marketers know how important data is for their businesses, and during unpredictable times, marketers need to be able to rely on their data. When the marketplace becomes unpredictable due to uncontrollable factors, confidence in your data accuracy combats a lot of that uncertainty. Knowing that your analytics platform collects the insight you need allows you to focus more on guiding your marketing team through COVID-19 and less on second-guessing your data source. 

Data needs to be accurate, relevant, and actionable to drive meaningful insights, and performing an analytics audit will reveal weak points in your marketing data. An analytics audit, especially at this time, will also help identify blind spots in your data collection and help improve tracking and marketing efficiency. A trusted and accurate data source provides valuable insights into how customers are currently engaging with your brand, and understanding that is the foundation of a strong and sustainable marketing strategy.

How can you assure your analytics platform is driving meaningful insights?

The implementation of any web analytics solution seems straightforward enough from the outside: you place a piece of code on your website pages, and the job is done. During the initial implementation stages, it’s easy to overlook inaccuracies and contamination in your data. There are all types of data inaccuracies that lead to unreliable insights that negatively impact your business. 

Performing an audit of your analytics platform is the first step towards accurate measurement and reporting. Implementing Google Analytics as the primary source of truth helps organizations understand the impact of their marketing efforts on all stages of the conversion funnel. Insight into how users are engaging with your brand throughout the customer journey drives efficiency and effectiveness within your marketing department. 

What is a Google Analytics Audit and how to execute it?

Google Analytics Audit is the comprehensive evaluation of your Google Analytics implementation that determines critical gaps and pain points in your current data collection. An analytics audit includes an analysis of your existing analytics account, pinpoint data issues, and reveal key opportunities for growth. 

As Analytics experts, we’ve executed numerous Google Analytics audits for businesses across many verticals, each with specific marketing objectives. From our experience, we’ve compiled a list of key points to consider when performing a Google Analytics account audit that will set your business up for accurate data measurement.  

Keep Bounce Rate Down 

The website bounce rate is a vital metric for site traffic analysis. Bounce Rate shows you the percentage of visitors who come to your site and then leave without any interactions. An optimal bounce rate varies between 20% to 80%, where less than 20% is suspiciously low, and over 80% is exceptionally high (except when related to ads). If you notice a dramatic change in bounce rate, there might be some issues with your website functionality, usability, or content that you need to investigate.

Improved Website Traffic Data Quality

Your website visitors come from a variety of different sources like social media, paid advertising campaigns, or organic search. Google Analytics reports have a default channel grouping that distributes your traffic based on internal rules you define. More often than not, we find a significant amount of traffic is classified as Other Channel in GA. When GA identifies a considerable amount of your website traffic as Other, it makes it much harder to understand which sources drive the most traffic to your site. Leveraging Custom Channel Grouping in Google Analytics minimizes the amount of traffic that goes to Others and easily distinguishes the different channels groups.

With clearly defined traffic sources and channel groupings, your marketing team can analyze the most and least valuable channels for your business, helping you make informed decisions on where to allocate marketing budget.

Filter Out Internal/Agency IP’s From Your Data

Your current customers and your company employees, or agency, visit your site multiple times a day. Needless to say that your internal company or agency traffic volume has a significant impact on your website metrics. Additionally, these audiences have different behaviors and intentions than prospective customers, so if your analytics account does not differentiate these audiences, your data is subject to corruption. 

Google Analytics allows you to create a filter that excludes all internal or agency IP addresses, so when they browse your site, no data will be collected. The result? Cleaner data that gives you actionable insights to increase user experience and drive conversions.

Filter Out Bot and Spider Activity

Your Google Analytics tracks all activity through your website, and with all that data, it’s easy for contamination to go unnoticed. This activity may include traffic from bots and spiders and may significantly impact the number of sessions reported. Data cleanliness is essential, and without filtering out bot activity, your data becomes muddled and unreliable. Our Analytics team often notices this feature is not enabled; by enabling Bot Filtering in the View settings of your GA account, you can clean most of these bot interactions from your data. 

Install Data Tracking on ALL pages

When you build new landing pages or your website undergoes extensive maintenance, it’s easy for developers to miss GA tracking codes or inactive codes on some pages. It’s important any time you make changes to your site that you double-check your GA tracking code is activated correctly. If tracking is not implemented on all website pages properly, the number of sessions (user interactions with your site) will increase. Metric inflation will cause you to have an inaccurate view of the steps your users take when engaging with your website and inhibit your ability to improve the customer experience.

Passing PII data to GA

Aiming to protect the privacy of users’ data, Google restricts sending Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to its servers. Google considers information like personal mobile numbers, social security numbers, or email addresses as Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Violation of data governance regulations (such as CCPA and GDPR) may result in the termination of your Google Analytics account and the complete deletion of your data. Luckily it is not difficult to manage user data in google analytics.

Based on our experience, most page URL parameters contain PII, such as usernames, email addresses, or phone numbers. If you are unsure if your site is compliant with data regulation laws, address the issue with your team of analytics experts, who can help you to eliminate the problem.

Bottom Line

Conducting an audit of your analytics platform is the initial step toward accurate and high-quality data, but it’s also necessary for understanding how your customers are currently engaging with your brand. Additionally, we as humans and marketers are in a unique circumstance that is COVID-19; ensuring you are collecting and taking action on accurate and real-time insights is necessary, especially now, for all businesses across all industries and verticals. Conducting an analytics audit before implementing more advanced features or upgrading to an enterprise analytics solution (i.e., Google Analytics 360), helps you evaluate your analytics needs and the trustworthiness of the data you are currently collecting.

Ready to take your ads, and your business, to the next level? Get in touch with the DELVE team today.

DELVE is your strategic partner for site-side analytics, campaign management, and advanced marketing science. As experts in the Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud Platform, DELVE drives client growth through a data-driven mindset that converts digital inefficiency into hard ROI.

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