The Truth About Google Analytics

It’s no secret that we are crazy about marketing data analytics. We even wrote a whole article a while ago about the truth about social media metrics. That’s why we thought we’d spill the beans on some more digital marketing metrics this time, it’s going to be all about Google Analytics. We know that many people find web data overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be that way. So are you ready to hear the truth about Google Analytics?

1. Google Analytics is only as good as its implementation. 

Google analytics, although it is a very powerful data mining tool is only as good as the person who is implementing it. So, if you know Google Analytics inside out and know how to take advantage of all of its features then it’s likely that the data you scrape from it will be helpful to your business. However, if you don’t know metrics from dimensions then you’ll probably find yourself lost in a sea of data. Don’t waste time on Google Analytics if you’re not sure how to use it to benefit your business, instead, invest your time in learning about it for free at the Google Analytics Academy.

2. You don’t need more data you need smarter insights.

One misconception that we hear a lot when it comes to Google Analytics is that you need a substantial amount of data before you can make any conclusions from it. This is not true, besides, once your website gets more a very large amount of data a month, Google Analytics will stop recording all of it and just “sample” a portion of data. In theory, it doesn’t really matter if your website has 50 visitors a month or 10,000 visitors a month. What matters is how you analyze your data. You need to put a plan in place about how you’re going to use your data to make adjustments to your website. Luckily Google Analytics is full of features that can do this for you, however as we said above you have to learn how to use them first.

3. Filters are more important than you think. 

Unfortunately, Google Analytics cannot tell the difference between genuine and illegitimate sessions. When we talk about illegitimate sessions we mean spam bots that can crawl your website and count as a visitor. This can interfere with your data and make it unreliable because some of your recorded sessions won’t be sessions at all. In addition to this  spam bots will also decrease some of your most important metrics like time spent on page and bounce rate because as soon as they land on your page they move on to another. This is where Google Analytics filters come in. You can configure your filters in such a way that it stops recording any data coming from the spam bots. Google Analytics filters can also filter many other types of sessions, such as via IP address, geographic location and even operating system.

4. Customised elements are your best friend.

Once you learn the basics of Google Analytics you can start using some of its more advanced features like customisation. The reason why customisation is so useful is because you can just pull through the data that you want. There are many features that you can customise in Google Analytics from reports and APIs to metrics and dimensions. So in theory, you can get Google Analytics to put together any report you like. How’s that for handy?

5. There are alternatives to Google Analytics.

As Google Analytics has such a reputation most people assume that it’s the only software out there that does the job. However this is not true. There are many free and paid for alternatives to try out if you find that Google Analytics is not for you. Some free options are GoStats, Piwik and Clicky. If you want something a bit more advance then go for a paid for premium software like KISSmetrics or Google Suite. Of course, there are tonnes more out there, just remember to be cautious about what programmes you allow to access your website data and do your research before you implement any of them.

So that’s the truth about Google Analytics. If you enjoyed this article please let us know by tweet or sending us a message on LinkedIn. Additionally, if you ever need any help with any of your web analytics please don’t hesitate to get in touch.