7 DOS AND DON’TS OF GOOGLE ANALYTICS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SITE’S PERFORMANCE

Think of Google Analytics as the key that unlocks the power of your website, helping you understand your customers and drive high-quality traffic. Leverage Google Analytics’ data to boost conversions, drive sales, and make users return to your website time and again.

Handy Google Analytics tips are waiting for you, right here in the blog. Let’s dive in, shall we?

1. Leverage Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics

Let’s start by saying that these Custom Dimensions aren’t readily available in Google Analytics, but you can easily implement and manage them via Google Tag Manager and later view them in Google Analytics reports.

What these custom dimensions do is help you better understand customer journeys on your website. With custom dimensions, you can collect some unique data about your users. Besides that, you can use custom dimensions to separate different subsets of data for a more comprehensive analysis. By looking at hits, sessions or users, you can take advantage of the vast scope of capabilities offered by Google Analytics. That means that you can choose to apply these dimensions to a particular pageview hit, for example. Here are a few of the custom dimensions you can create (thanks Simo); more can be found in Simo’s guide on custom dimensions and their step-by-step implementation in your website.

Hit Timestamp – simply put, it marks the time of every hit on your website in basic time format. For example, [year-month-dayThour:minutes:seconds:milliseconds timezone_offset]

It’s important to incorporate Hit Timestamp into each tag you have on your website to get the most out of user journeys.

Here’s how to implement and where to find custom dimensions like HIT Timestamp in Google Tag Manager:

hit-timestamp

[Credits: Custom Dimensions by Simo]

Session ID – a string of code that helps you organize all hits of the same session under one roof; all hits get the same ID, which is great because you don’t have to spend time figuring out what these sessions are by looking closely into every user segment; you can just view all the relevant sessions in one report. Some marketers prefer adding Session ID to pageview tags only, but, if you want to catch sessions which do not necessarily include pageviews (like the ones that start without page reload), it’s best to add it to all of your tags.

In Google Tag Manager, the dimension’s implementation would look like this:

random-guid

[Credits: Custom Dimensions by Simo]

Client ID – an anonymous cookie identifier accredited to a user’s web browser used to measure the Users metric if users don’t have User ID enabled. It’s an essential feature to add to Google Analytics as it allows you to gather data from any anonymous user.

User ID – this custom dimension is an identifier used for tracking logged users.

Our conversion optimization experts strongly recommend reading Simo Ahava’s step-by-step guide on custom dimensions in Google Tag Manager. The blog elaborates even more on custom dimensions, letting you know which code strings to use.

2. Remember, a Non-Converting Session is Also a Session

Surely, non-converting sessions aren’t something that marketers are ready to receive with open arms, alas; they do occur. Don’t disregard them, instead, segment your non-converting sessions and try to identify patterns and find “common denominators” between those unsuccessful sessions. There might be a UX/UI issue or a bug that you aren’t aware of.

3. Use a Third-Party Service Provider

Although Google Analytics is a powerful tool for measuring your website’s performance, it wouldn’t hurt to connect your Google Analytics account to third-party service providers for a more thorough analysis of your website. For example, sending a user’s Google Client ID or any other identifier to a session recording service provider like HotJar or Lucky Orange will give you a complete overview of what users go through when they visit your website. Many of those service providers offer real videos of how users interact with the elements on your site and create heatmaps from large volumes of user data – all so you can make the most out of each visitor.

4. Blend Data in Google Data Studio

Data blending refers to a feature that lets you combine all your data sources in one presentation layer, and Google Data Studio is great for that. In Data Studio, you can blend your Google Analytics data with data from other sources, which will give you a complete overview of the user journey on your website.

You can have data from Google Search Console blended with your Google Analytics data, for instance, SERP (Search Engine Results Page) performance and your site’s conversion rate can both be presented in one place to help you understand the entire user journey, from search to goal completion.

For more details on how data blending works, check out this demo prepared by Google.

According to our conversion optimization experts, data blending in Data Studio is especially useful when the final conversion does not occur on your website, but rather happens on a business partner’s site (in case you leverage affiliate programs for site monetization) or even offline.

Is there anything to avoid when working with Google Analytics?

  1. Don’t leave user behavior metrics unattended – monitor your metrics and see whether they are accurate (this is especially true for “Bounce Rate” and “Sessions Count.”) To preserve clean analytics data, you can turn to what’s called session stitching. Here are the four essential methods of session stitching in Google Analytics. As for Bounce Rate, to ensure its correctness, it’s best to look at several aspects of your website page, including:
  • User intent/behavior
  • Type of webpage
  • Quality of webpage
  • Traffic quality
  • Type of marketing channel
  • Visitor type
  • Device type

Our experts recommend reading this very comprehensive article on bounce rate in Google Analytics for more details.

Remember also that, quite often, incorrect code implementation or the wrong application of events may lead to data discrepancies.

  1. Adjust your bounce rate – we all know that bounce rate means that a user landed on your site and then left, without visiting any other pages. This often happens with blog posts: your users may read the entire post, find all the necessary info and leave. Is it a bounce? Yes, if you don’t have adjusted bounce rate set up as a metric.

In contrast to your standard bounce rate metric, adjusted bounce rate allows you to define a period after which you’d consider a user to be “engaged.” It gives you a much better idea about user intent, behavior and whether users found your blog’s topic interesting.

Aside from that, it will probably mean fewer bouncers in Google Analytics and will most likely improve other metrics like “Session Duration.”

  1. Don’t just use the standard parameters in Google Analytics – extend the use of different content groups, custom dimensions, and calculated metrics as much as possible to make sure your Google Analytics account fits your business like a glove.

Nowadays, Google Analytics is the lifeblood of almost every website. Now that you have these Google Analytics best practices in your pocket (or in your bookmarks😊), it’s time to drive your website performance through the roof.

Want to drive high-value users to your online business? Leverage our exclusively owned and operated websites that rank at the top of search results, cross-channel analysis, and professional know-how to connect with customers that are ready to decide. Contact us for more details!