The TOP 5 Google Analytics Mistakes Most Ecommerce Owners Make (and How to Avoid Them)

7 Min. Read

Google Analytics! It’s everywhere.

If you’re not using it, you’ve probably read about it or heard about it from another business owner.

After its launch in 2005, Google Analytics quickly became the most popular tool to measure website traffic, and it continues to dominate as the biggest reporting platform for online performance metrics.

It’s no wonder that more people use Google Analytics for measuring the success of their website than any other tool – its free and all you need is a Google account to use it!

eCommerce Product Analytics

You can use Google Analytics to identify your visitors, learn more about them and analyze their behavior, such as: how they find your site, how often they visit, what they click on, and more.

Analytics also provides insights to improve your marketing strategy with data on conversion rate, organic search keywords, paid search advertising and email click-through rate, to name a few.

The most common Google Analytics mistake:

Small and medium-sized companies often don’t have the resources, or simply don’t want to hire an expert to review their Analytics.

As a result, it’s become common practice for many business owners and managers to handle their own Google Analytics account.

You don’t need to be a conversion optimization specialist to create a Google Analytics account, however, you should be careful with your approach.

Even the pros make mistakes sometimes, and Google is constantly rolling out new reporting features.

eCommerce Key Performance Indicators

To make sure you’re successful in managing your Google Analytics account, and to be sure that it’s worth your time and effort, we’ve gathered together the 5 mistakes we’ve seen most often when it comes to managing data and reports in Analytics.

By avoiding these mistakes you’ll be a step ahead of your competition and more confident in your ability to manage your own Google Analytics account.

1. Not setting up goals

Setting up goals in Google Analytics is a must-have for all businesses. And yet, many people forget to do this. You should know your goals to track the eCommerce KPI-s.

Goals show if your visitors are taking the action you want them to complete. The best part about goal reporting is that shows you the final conversion – in other words, the “macro” conversion – as well as all the small the steps – the “micro” conversions – your visitors take towards completing the goal you set.

Sales KPIs

Here are a few examples of micro-conversions:

  • When a visitor browses your site for a certain period of time.
  • When someone adds an item to their cart.
  • When a visitor adds an item to their cart, and also enters their shipping information.

Tracking these micro-conversions can help you improve the performance of your site by seeing where in the sales funnel your visitors are getting stuck.

For instance, when you have a lot of people who add items to their cart, and enter shipping information but don’t complete checkout, you should check on your shipping prices and methods.

Where should I set up my goals?

Login to your Google Analytics account and select the “Admin” menu on the left side. In the third column, labeled “View”, you will find “Goals”. Click here to set up your goals.

google analytics goals

2. Installing code incorrectly on your site

Unfortunately, a lot of common mistakes can result from incorrectly installing the Google Analytics code. You copy & paste the code, send it to your developer, he or she installs the code on your site… and somewhere along the way, there’s an extra space or a missing character which results in issues tracking visitors to your site.

Another mistake that’s similar is installing the wrong code on your site. This can happen when you have multiple sites in your Google Analytics account and accidentally copy the wrong code snippet.

Marketing KPIs

The bottom line is to be careful when copying, pasting and implementing your Google Analytics code. A little bit of patience can prevent a lot of headaches.

Where can I find my Google Analytics tracking code?

When you sign up for Google Analytics, you’ll get the tracking code that you need to use immediately.

But what happens when you need to find it later?

Look in the second column of the “Admin” menu, under “Tracking Info”, and you’ll see “Tracking Code”. Click here to get the code and instructions for implementation on your site.

google analytics tracking code

3. Not using UTM parameters or not using them correctly

Have you heard of UTM parameters? This is a more specific tracking tool that many business owners aren’t aware of.

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters are specific settings that are added to URLs to help you track your results better. UTM works by adding certain words and characters to the end of the URL. Then, Google Analytics tracks these URLs and provides detailed information in your account.

You’re really missing a great opportunity by not using UTM parameters. They provide a clearer picture of your marketing campaigns, allowing you to track the effectiveness of your online campaigns across different sources.

Customer Service KPIs

You can also use UTM parameters in URLs for offline promotions such as flyers and advertisements in print to track your efforts there too.

Plus, it’s really easy to set up! So there’s no excuse to not use UTM 🙂

How do I add UTM parameters to a URL for my site?

Use the built-in URL Builder tool that’s part of Google Analytics. Check out the example below.

Quick tip: If you run a campaign on multiple sources, you should use the same campaign name each time to see the overall results as well as detail on each source.

4. Underestimating the skills needed to manage an Analytics account

Underestimating the essential skills required for managing Analytics is another common mistake that business owners make. Because it’s so easy to get started, there’s a feeling that “anyone can do this”.

However, not having the right skillset can cause more harm than good. Simply put, if you don’t understand the data, it won’t be valuable for your business and you’ll lose time and money in the process.

While Google Analytics is a great tool for capturing data, when it comes to understanding the data, it’s not always clear what’s important.

A quick tip: We’ve written about eCommerce Product Analytics in this article.

Because there are so many features, and new features rolling out all the time, even business owners who successfully manage a number of spreadsheets and other reports each day often have trouble parsing through the data on Google Analytics to see where to make changes.

(Note: Conversific reveals valuable insights that are hidden in your Google Analytics and store data, including suggestions and tips on what to improve. Try it for free and boost the performance of your Shopify store without being a data expert!)

5. Not filtering out your own internal session

This is another common mistake like incorrect code implementation that happens far too frequently.

It’s likely that you and your team are visiting your website quite often. It may have never occurred to you that these visits are also being tracked by Google Analytics. When this happens, the data from the visits by you and your team is counted with the data from all your visitors.

Counting your visits with your visitors can make a real mess and make it difficult to see whether your marketing efforts are effective and where your main source of traffic is, amongst other things such as obscuring the bounce rate, time on site and more.

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to this mistake: add filters to your account so you’re only seeing the data from outside visitors to your site.

How do I exclude internal sessions from my data?

In the first column of the “Admin” menu, click on “All Filters”. On the All Filters page, click on the “Add filter” button, name your filter, choose “Predefined” from the Filter Type. Then, select “Exclude – Traffic from the IP addresses – That are equal to” and insert your IP address.

A quick tip: To find your IP address, run a Google search for: what is my IP?

You should see your public IP address listed at the top of results. Depending on your Internet connection, you may need to check this from time to time. You should also get the IP address of any colleagues who will be viewing or making changes to your site on a regular basis.

google analytics filters

Conclusion

In this article, we looked at 5 of the most common mistakes we see when business owners manage their Google Analytics account.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can get a clearer picture of the performance of your website, which marketing campaigns work best, and where to make improvements.

Most importantly, take your time when you get started and be sure to set everything up according to best practices.

Beyond the mistakes to avoid, there are plenty of ways to improve your success when setting up Google Analytics and goal tracking for your website.

To learn more about using data to increase your sales, checkout the eBook we created with “10 Data-Driven Hacks to Boost Your Shopify Store’s Revenue”. Download it FREE today!

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