Getting More Honest Information Out of Your Analytics Data
Information from Google Analytics is used by many to inform their marketing and advertising decisions. If you are a professional that consistently turns to analytics data to better engage your audiences then you’ve likely had that moment when you wondered if your reports were trustworthy.
The ability of Google Analytics to accurately record and present information is not a problem or a focus of this article. This article highlights common implementation and reporting problems that we’ve uncovered when reviewing clients’ analytics reports. By checking your implementation and reporting practices for these problems you can make sure that your marketing decisions are not handicapped by easily avoidable misrepresentations.
- Be aware of internal traffic within your reports.
The most common example of irrelevant analytics data comes from internal sources. This group most typically includes traffic from employees of the company, vendors, and can even include software services. Make sure that your analytics views have the appropriate filters in place to exclude unwanted internal traffic from your reports.
- Make sure you are not looking at traffic from irrelevant geographies.
On top of traffic from internal sources is traffic from geographies that are irrelevant to your business. If you are a business that services clients in your local community, looking at analytics data (visits / bounce rate / etc.) that represents the entire state, country, or the world will muddy your ability to learn about and respond to your market. Make sure that your reports differentiate between traffic within your target geographies and those outside of it.
- Exclude traffic from internet robots.
There has been a growing number of internet robots that register visits in your analytics reports similar to the way people do. Make sure you are taking advantage of the built in robot filters that have recently been made available within Google Analytics. It is always advisable that you test any filter before deploying it to your analytics views.
- Exclude ghost referrer spam traffic from your analytics data.
Spammers have learned to utilize analytics reporting technology to push fake data into analytics reports with the hopes of drawing traffic to their websites. Common sources of ghost referrer spam traffic are social-buttons.org and free-social-buttons.com. Spammers often spoof large volumes of visits that skew your quantity and quality metrics. Spam traffic should be scrubbed from your reports using advanced segments, and the only way for you to eliminate this source of misleading data is by filtering out the suspect referral domains from your analytics views.
Google Analytics catalyzes the effectiveness of an organization’s marketing initiatives. We hope that you will begin to realize the greater benefits of this product by making sure the common issues outlined above are not plaguing your implementation. As you work to ensure that your analytics data is as relevant and illuminating as possible, be sure to work with your Google Analytics experts to extract actionable findings that can help place your organization in front of your customers at the moment when they need your products and services. If you are not currently working with Google Analytics experts please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at: 908.730.6907. One of our Google Analytics experts would love to help you experience the full benefits of this technology.
Varident is an inter and multi disciplinary marketing company based in Somerville, New Jersey. For more information about our company, visit our website at www.varident.com.