June 3, 2015

5 Powerful Google Analytics Set-up Tips Anyone Can Do

by Pat Walsh

Google Analytics is a powerful set of tool that will help you get a better understanding of your website traffic and how your audience is responding to your content.

Here are 5 things you can do to help you maximize the effectiveness of your Google Analytics

Tip 1: Set-up Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager makes it easy for marketers to add and update website tags like conversion tracking, site analytics, remarketing, AdWords and more. What does this mean to you? Once you set-up GTM for your site, adding tags to it can be handled without touching your website code.

Google Tag Manager is essentially a container for all of your tags. Tags are inserted into your site’s GTM container via the Google Tag Manager Console.

Set-up Google Tag Manager:

  1. Create an account at tagmanager.google.com
  2. Create a container for your site in the account
  3. Add the container snippet to your site. The code goes right after the opening body tag.
  4. Migrate any hardcoded tags (such as AdWords or DoubleClick tags) from your site’s source code into Google Tag Manager.

The first tag you will add is your Universal Analytics tag. After that, therer are a variety of tags you may want to use now and down the line for retargeting campaigns or paid advertisment. For more information, read Setup and Workflow found in Google’s documentation.

Tip 2: Filter Your IP Addresses

Simply put, don’t count your own traffic. Filter your work, home, and any IP address that you or your collegues use to access the site. here’s how:

  1. Go to http://www.whatsmyip.org/ or just google “What’s my IP?”
  2. See that number? It’s your IP address. Just copy it.
  3. Go to you Google Analytics > Admin > Filters
  4. Click the Red Add Filter button. Give it a name like “Work IP”
  5. Select Predefined filter, then Exclude, Traffic from the IP Addresses, then That are Equal to
  6. Save!

Google Analytics Set-up Tips Anyone Can Do

Congrats! You’ve now created a filter for your current IP address.

Tip 3: Referral Exclusions

Next, we want to filter out the “crawler” referral traffic to your site. These include search engine bots and junk visits to your site (ghost and fake referrals). Whether they have good or bad intensions, they’re not real visitors, so let’s not count them.

First, let’s find the the creepy crawler referrals that we want to omit:

  1. Expand your date range so you can see SPAM referral over a longer time frame.
  2. In Your Analytics Reporting Tab, go to Acquisitions > All Traffic > Referrals
  3. You should be able to recognize strange URLs in the Source column. See below.
  4. Copy these and paste them in a text editor.

Spam Referral Sources in Google

Next step, let’s filter-out these referral URLs

  1. Go to you Google Analytics > Admin > Filters gain
  2. Click the Red Add Filter button. “Referral SPAM”
  3. Select Custom, Exclude then choose Campaign Source as your Filter Field
  4. To add multiple, separate each url with a pipe (|)
  5. Save.

Google Analytics Set-up Tips Anyone Can Do - Referral SPAM Filter

You can repeat this process periodically as new creepers show up ; ).

Tip 4: The “NP” Fix

If you are somewhat familiar with Google Analytics already, you may be familiar with seeing organic traffic sources that are “Not Provided”. Why? If a user is logged into Gmail or any Google Account when searching, their search is secure, and the referring data is blocked or hidden from you.

Not Provided Google Analytics

The fix? How about another filter!

  1. In your Analytics account, go to Admin, then Profiles.
  2. Click the profile name you want to work with
  3. Select the Filters tab.
  4. Create a new filter – call it something like “Not Provided Filter”
  5. Filter Type = Custom. Select Advanced radio button.
  6. Field A: Campaign Term = (.not provided.)
  7. Field B: Request URI = (.*)
  8. Output To: Campaign Term = np – $B1
  9. Check Field A Required, Field B Required and Override Output Field
  10. Save

not-provided-filter

Tip 5: Set-up Goals

Stats are greats, but tracking conversions is even better. Show success from your marketing efforts through conversion tracking. Here’s the basics of setting-up a Destination Goal:

Goal Setting in Google Analytics

  1. In Google Analytics, go to Admin tab
  2. Click New Goal
  3. Give it a name, then select Destination Goal – click “Next Step”
  4. Enter the name of the page that you want to count as your goal. For a form submission, this is usually a “thank you” page.
  5. Optionally, you can set a monetary value and a funnel path to the goal.
  6. Save!

Goal set-up in google Analytics

With these easy set-up tips, you are on your way to better, more meaningful analytics.

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