Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. After acquiring Urchin, Google launched the service in November 2005. Google Analytics is now the most extensively used web analytics service by business on internet.
In this article we will talk about key things that we should and should NOT be tracking using Google Analytics.
Should be tracked in GA
1) Traffic Source
This metric helps to measure which traffic sources or channels drive the most and least traffic to your site. The three most common types of traffic sources are typically ‘organic search’, ‘direct’ and ‘referral’ traffic. However, your website might also acquire traffic from campaigns such as email, banner ads, display ads and paid searches.2) User Demographics
Data in this report tells you about your user base, including age, gender, location, relationship status, education, interests etc.
User data allows marketers or analysts to understand their user base, what their interest is and which geographic region they are coming from. Engage with them and target marketing resources to their precise circumstances and interests. You can not only segment your visitors and personalize the user experience on site, you can also use this data to improve and enhance your products and services.
3) Network Referrals
This metric allows you to track the level of visitor/consumer engagement with your business on different social media networks, including who is sharing your content, with whom, and on which networks.
As social media and content marketing is now an integral part of any advertising and marketing strategy, companies should measure what material is popular with their target audience and track how it is being consumed, accessed and shared on social channels.4) Internal Search Term
If you use an internal site search on your website, you should use the Site Search Report to learn what visitors are searching for after they are already on your website. You can use this data to increase your conversion rate by following these two specific strategies:
- Keywords or Search Term. The report shows you precisely what visitors typed into your internal search box, so you can see what visitors are searching for on your website in their own words. Including site search terms as keywords in your paid marketing campaigns may help you target your ads to the most interested audience.
- Optimize landing pages. Visitors might be using the internal site search on a landing page if the content of the page doesn't meet their expectations set by your ad. You may need to construct a more specific landing page or revise your ad text to improve retention.
5) User ID
The User ID lets you connect engagement data from multiple devices and different visits or sessions with unique IDs.
Each unique User ID is considered to be a unique visitor in Analytics, so you get a more accurate visitor count in your reports. When you send Analytics a User ID and associated data over the course of multiple sessions, you can also put individual visitor actions in context and start analyzing and segmenting ongoing relationships.
Should not be tracked in GA
1. Anything and Everything
Make sure you count what matters to your businesses. Ensure your Google Analytics measures Key Performance Indicators i.e. KPIs that will move people into action when they aren’t on target. Define your business KPIs based on your business needs. Your KPIs could be Revenue, Transaction, Leads, Sign-ups, or anything that is important for your business to grow.
2. Personal Information
Protect visitors’ privacy, Google policies require that no data be passed to Google Analytics that Google could use or distinguish as personally identifiable information. Personally identifiable information (i.e. PII) includes, but is not limited to, information such as personal mobile number, email addresses, and social security numbers.
3. Out of the box reports
Google Analytics provides lot of data by default. The basic GA tracking which you place on each page of your website gathers data and passes it to the Google Analytics reports, such as device type, devices, browsers, page url and much more. We should avoid explicitly tracking this information, since it is not relevant to building visitor traffic.