You may not realize it but Google Analytics data can lead you and your team to make poor marketing decisions, which in turn creates bad marketing. You may be surprised to hear this since you’ve probably been told to use this tool as part of your marketing strategy.
One way around this is to carefully read your Google Analytics reports in detail. Otherwise, you may end up drawing the wrong conclusion about what’s actually working and where to invest your marketing dollars. Learn more about the four usual and costly Google Analytics account errors that create bad marketing and how to avoid them.
1. Reviewing Aggregate Goals
One mistake that’s a big no-no is reviewing aggregate goals. The default in Google Analytics is that it’ll report on “All Goals” in every report you run. It’s very misleading because you see the total number of Goals and conversion rates based on all the Goals that are completed. You may be curious about and wondering why this is…well…it’s because not all Goals are created equal.
Below are some of the most common Goals companies have set up in their online advertising accounts:
- Contact Us form submission
- Demo or Consultation request
- Online purchase
- Visit to the online checkout page
- Visit to more than five different pages
It’s likely any marketing professional would agree that not all of these goals are created equally and that some are more important than others. You obviously care more about receiving an online purchase versus if someone visited more than five different pages. It doesn’t tell you how your marketing is truly performing because it groups them altogether. Google Analytics by default will report on ALL of those Goals with just one number.
Get a more accurate picture of what you achieve by using the Goal Set links above the Acquisition reports.
2. Reviewing Aggregate Data
One of the most common mistakes by far within Google Analytics that creates bad marketing is reviewing aggregate data. Although you see your website stats when you first log in, you should know that your total website stats are pretty much worthless. You aren’t able to understand what’s happening unless you’re only using one tactic. You don’t know what caused your increase or decrease in traffic, for example. Therefore you won’t know how to adjust and optimize Google Ads.
The good news is that you can use the Channels report instead. It’s highly advised that you use the Channels report instead of looking at all of your traffic data in aggregate. To get to the Channels report, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. You’ll get a breakdown of all your significant marketing channels using this report. Combine this with the specific Goals data and you’ll now get a clear picture of what’s occurring with your marketing.
3. Not Using the URL Builder
Another common and costly Google Analytics account error that creates bad marketing is not using the URL Builder. To ensure the Channels report is accurate you must use Google’s URL Builder. Google may otherwise wrongly categorize your traffic into the “Direct” category. When using the URL Builder, you can explicitly tell Google Analytics what channel the clicks are coming from. By completing the URL Builder form, you’ll generate a new URL with tracking parameters appended to the end. Improving the accuracy of your Channels report using this URL will help you make wiser marketing decisions.
4. Ignoring Devices
All this brings us to our fourth and final Google Analytics account error that creates poor marketing, which is ignoring devices. Your website may perform much differently across different devices such as desktop, mobile, and tablet, especially if your website isn’t mobile-friendly. By default, your Channels report will not segment by device so it’s not clear if certain devices are outperforming others. Therefore, you must segment out by device or you risk making bad marketing decisions that will negatively impact your outcomes and you may spend your dollars incorrectly.
To segment your Channels report, click on the “+ Add Segment” button above the graph and then select “Mobile Traffic” and “Tablet Traffic.” As soon as you add these two segments, you can see which devices and channels are performing best and improve your marketing decision-making process.
You now know more about the four most common and costly Google Analytics account errors that may be causing you to make bad marketing choices and decisions. Apply these tips and this knowledge in your marketing strategy and to your account so you can get on the right path to finding more success with this tool.