Category : Tagging
Is Google Analytics accurate? 6 common issues and how to fix them
Google Analytics is used by tens of millions of websites and apps around the world to measure web visitor engagement. Due to some users choosing not to be tracked or blocking cookies, Google Analytics can't measure 100% of visitors. But when set up correctly, GA measures over 95% of genuine visitors (as opposed to web scrapers and bots). At Littledata, our customers come from a range of industries. But when they first come to the Littledata app for help fixing their analytics, we hear many of the same questions: Is Google Analytics accurate? How do I know if my Google Analytics setup is giving me reliable data? In this blog post, we dissect some common issues with Google Analytics before providing a solution to help your ecommerce tracking be as accurate as possible. 6 common issues with Google Analytics 1) Your tracking script is not implemented correctly There are two common issues with the actual tracking script setup: It's implemented twice on some pages It's missing completely from some pages When the script is duplicated, you’ll see an artificially low bounce rate (usually below 5%), since every page view is sending twice to Google Analytics. When the script is missing from pages, you’ll see self-referrals from your own website. How to fix it Our recommendation is to use Google Tag Manager across your whole site to ensure the tracking script is loaded with the right web property identifier at the right time during the page load. 2) Your account has lots of spam When it comes to web traffic and analytics setup, spam is a serious issue. Spammers send 'ghost' referrals to get your attention as a website owner. This means that the traffic you see in Google Analytics may not come from real people, even if you have selected to exclude bots. How to fix it Littledata’s app filters out all future spammers and Pro Reporting users benefit from having those filters updated weekly. 3) Your own company traffic is not excluded Your web developers, content writers and marketers will be heavy users of your own site, and you need to filter this traffic from your Google Analytics to get a view of genuine customers or prospects. How to fix it You can do this based on location (e.g. IP address) or pages they visit (e.g. admin pages). [subscribe] 4) One person shows up as two or more users Fight Club aside (spoiler alert), when the same person re-visits our site, we expect them to look the same each time. Web analytics are more complicated. When Google Analytics speaks of 'users', what it's really tracking is a visit from a particular device or browser instance. For example, if I have a smartphone and a laptop computer and visit your site from both devices (without cross-device linking), I’ll appear as two users. Even more confusingly, if I visit your site from the Facebook app on my phone and then from the Twitter app, I’ll appear as two users — the two apps use two different internet browser instances. How to fix it While Google is looking at ways to use its accounts system (Gmail, Chrome, etc.), there's not a lot which can be done to fix this at the moment. 5) Marketing campaigns are not attributed to revenue or conversions If the journey of visitors on your site proceeds via another payment processor or gateway, you could be losing the link between the sale (or goal conversion) and the original marketing campaigns. You will see sales attributed to Direct or Referral traffic, when they actuallycame from somewhere else. How to fix it This is a remarkably common issue with Shopify stores. That’s why we built a popular Shopify reporting app that solves the issue automatically. [subscribe heading="Get the Littledata Shopify reporting app" background_color="grey" button_text="get the app" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/shopify"] For other kinds of sites, the issue can often be resolved by setting up cross-domain tracking. 6) You aren't capturing key events (like purchases or button clicks) Google Analytics only tracks views of a page by default, which may not be meaningful if you have a highly interactive website or app. How to fix it Sending custom events is the key to ensuring your tracking is both accurate and relevant. Google Tag Manager makes this easier than it would be otherwise. However, you may need to speak to a qualified Google Analytics consultant to decide what to track. Wrapping up For better certainty that your analytics are fully accurate, try our free Google Analytics audit or get in touch with our Google Analytics consulting team for a quick consultation. If you're ready to give it a shot, go ahead and try Littledata free for 30 days — we'll even walk you through the app! We ❤️ analytics and we're always here to help. Quick links How to get extra support from our team of Google Analytics experts Enterprise plans to help you scale your store faster EBOOK: Why does my data in Google Analytics not match what I see in Shopify?
How to set up campaign tagging in Google Analytics (VIDEO)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVxi0sQmro0&t=5s Google Analytics is only as smart as your tagging. To lower average CPA and increase conversions in a sustainable way, you need an in-depth view of customer acquisition channels. Accurate campaign tagging makes it possible to get the data needed to understand acquisition costs based on particular source and medium. If you want to improve marketing ROI, it's essential to get campaign tagging right in Google Analytics. But how does it all work? Follow the simple rules in this quick how-to video to make sure you're getting accurate data about where your traffic is coming from. [subscribe] Questions addressed in the setup video: What is a campaign in Google Analytics (GA)? What is UTM Parameter and how do I use it? Is it possible that a large volume of my 'Direct' traffic in GA is actually coming from sources such as email or social, but just wasn't tagged correctly? How do I know? I want to see all email marketing campaign traffic as one line item in my GA reports. Do spellings matter? Are UTM parameters case-sensitive? What are the best practices for GTM tagging using the Google Analytics Link Builder? For more info on custom campaign tracking, check out this detailed post about campaign parameters and how to use them. Remember that when you set up new campaigns or marketing channels, things can change or get lost in the mix. It's important to keep an eye on your analytics setup. Even once you've successfully set up campaign tagging in GA, we recommend auditing your analytics on a regular basis. And don't stop there. Once you've established data accuracy, follow in the footsteps of the most successful ecommerce sites and use Buyer Personas to get a clear view of which types of customers are more likely to convert in each channel. Now that's smart growth, driven by data!
Why are all my transactions coming from Direct or Referral in Google Analytics, with no marketing attribution?
Connecting marketing data with sales data is an age-old problem, and the crowded digital landscape has made this even more complicated. Google Analytics is supposed to give you the power to attribute sales (or purchase transactions) back to marketing campaigns, but this doesn't happen automatically. The good news is that it's entirely possible to get the right marketing channel attribution for sales activities. Accurate marketing attribution starts with the right Google Analytics (GA) setup. Start by asking yourself the following troubleshooting questions. These steps will help you figure out if your GA setup is correct, and how to use GA to get a complete view of user behaviour. Trustworthy GA setup takes a bit of work, but with a smart analytics dashboard like Littledata, much of that work can be automated. In fact, steps 1 through 4 can be checked automatically with our free Google Analytics audit tool. First of all, are you checking the right report? The best way to see the attribution is in the 'Channels' report in Google Analytics, under the 'Acquisition' section: 1. Have you got a large enough sample to compare? Firstly, can you be sure the sales are representative? If you only have two sales, and both are ‘Direct’, that could be a fluke. We recommend selecting a long enough time period to look at more than 50 transactions before judging, as with this example: 2. Is the tracking script on your purchase confirmation page setup? It you are getting some transactions recorded, but not 100%, then it may be possible to optimise the actual tracking script setup. See our technical guide to ecommerce tracking. This can be a particular problem if many of your sales are on mobile, since slower page load speeds on mobile may be blocking the tracking script more often. 3. Have you got a cross-domain problem? If you see many of your sales under Referral, and when you click through the list of referrers it includes payment gateways (e.g. mybank.com or shopify.com), that is a tell-tale sign you have a cross-domain problem. This means that when the buyer is referred back from the payment domain (e.g. paypal.com), their payment is not linked with the original session. This is almost always a problem for Shopify stores, which is why our Shopify app is essential for accurate tracking. [subscribe] 4. Is your marketing campaign tagging complete? For many types of campaign (Facebook, email etc), unless you tag the link with correct ‘UTM’ parameters, the source of the purchaser will not be tracked. So if a user clicks on an untagged Facebook Ad link on their Facebook mobile app (which is where 80 – 90% of Facebook users engage) then the source of their visit will be ‘Direct’ (not Social). Untagged email campaigns are a particular issue if you run abandoned cart / basket emails, as these untagged links will be 'stealing' the sales which should be attributed to whatever got the buyer to add to cart. Tagging is a real problem for Instagram, since currently the profile link is shown in full - and looks really messy if you include all the UTM parameters. We recommend using a service like Bitly to redirect to your homepage (or an Instagram landing page). i.e. The link redirects to yoursite.com?utm_medium=social&utm_source=instragram&utm_campaign=profile_link. Read Caitlin Brehm's guide to Instagram links. 5. (only for subscription businesses using Littledata) Are you looking at only the first time payments? Tracking the source of recurring payments is impossible, if the tracking setup was incorrect at the time of the first payment. You can’t change Google Analytics retrospectively I’m afraid. So if you are using our ReCharge integration, and you want to track lifetime value, you will have to be patient for a few months as data from the correct tracking builds up. 6. Is a lot of your marketing via offline campaigns, word of mouth or mobile apps? It could be that your sales really are ‘direct’: If a buyer types in the URL from a business card or flyer, that is ‘Direct’. The only way to change this is to use a link shortener to redirect to a tagged-up link (see point 4 above). If a user pastes a link to your product in WhatsApp, that is ‘Direct’. If a user sees your product on Instagram and clicks on the profile link, that is ‘Direct’. Please let us know if there are any further issues you've seen which cause the marketing attribution to be incorrect.
Cross Domain tracking for Eventbrite using Google Tag Manager (GTM)
How to track your newsletter performance with Google Analytics – part 2
We will go further into newsletter tracking and try to get all important stats from Google Analytics such as emails sent and emails openings. The advantage to doing this is that for most digital teams, the people creating the newsletters are not necessarily the ones analysing the data. This can help bring the teams a more in-depth view into their work and also a new angle in analysing the newsletter. Before you go ahead and implement this, you should be aware of a few aspects and make some important decisions. First, will you all be using the same Google Analytics account? Since the newsletter opens will send a lot of visits to your Google Analytics account and most of them will be bounces (a high percent of users will not click on the newsletter to go to the website), take into consideration that using the same account will interfere with your existing data from the website. Second, you can create a new, separate account. If you choose to create a new account you need to find out, if you use user tracking, how to link the user activity with the user activity on the website. For Google 360 users this is simpler because they can join views, but for regular Google Analytics users, this might be a struggle. The third option, which I recommend, is to create a second Google Analytics tracking code and run it in parallel with the one you're currently using for the newsletter. Now, let's dive into how you can track email opening and email clicks. The usual Google Analytics script will not work for email clients. However, Google Analytics also includes event tracking which can be used through an embedded image pixel within the email body. Implementing the Google Analytics pixel provides great information like real-time tracking, browser and operating system details and demographics. Insert this snippet in the body of your email like this: <html> <head> ... </head> <body> .... <img src = "Paste the URL here of the Google Analytics implementation"> </body> <footer> ... </footer> </html> Most of the newsletter platforms have an HTML editor, which you can find by searching the sign " <> " in the template. This will let you add <img src = URL> in the body of your email. The URL image pixel looks might like this: <img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&tid=UA-12345678-1&cid=User_ID&t=event&ec=email&ea=open&el=recipient_id&cs=newsletter&cm=email&cn=Campaign_Name"> Building the URL of the Google Analytics implementation can be done with Google Analytics tool named: Hit Builder. You can also test the URL in the tool and see the hit in real time in Google Analytics. You have two options when sending the openings: as an event or as a custom metric. Before you go ahead with the HIT Builder let's get familiar with the components of the URL: URL Component Explanation cm1=Custom metric This can be cm1,cm2 etc based on what you've created as a custom metric tid=UA-12345678-1 Your Google Analytics Tracking ID cid=User_ID A systematic tracking ID for the customer t=event Tells Google Analytics this is an Event Hit Type ec=email The Event Category helps segment various events ea=open The Event Action helps specify exactly what happened el=recipient_id Event Label specifies a unique identification for this recipient cs=newsletter Campaign Source allows segmentation of campaign types cm=email Campaign Medium could segment social vs. email, etc. cn=Campaign_Name Campaign Name identifies the campaign to you To see openings as a custom metric, you should first create a new custom metric in the Google Analytics admin interface named Email Opens. Log in to Google Analytics, and click on Admin. Select the Account and Web Property, and click on Custom Definitions under the Web Property column. Then click on Custom Metrics. In the next window, click on the New Custom Metric button, and give your custom metric a name, formatting type, minimum and maximum value, and make sure the box is checked for Active. You may also find some other benefits to using Google Analytics tracking this way over most email service provider (ESP) tracking. It provides great system information like real-time tracking, browser and operating system details, demographic information including location, and will even tie in nicely with your web reports. How To Use Your Results The event tracking results can be seen in Google Analytics right away. Below are some examples of where you can see reports within Google Analytics. Real Time Events of openings for the newsletter: GA events This report shows the tracking for opens of the emails sent. You can now see how long it takes for people to start opening the newsletter after you've sent them. With this information, you can compare it with past newsletters and see if people are opening it faster or slower, which helps you determine if the subject of the message is motivating enough. Also, you can see what times of the day get the most opens and plan your newsletter schedule around that information. User location With the user location, you can see where in the world people are opening the message you're sending. This can help you determine who your most active audience is and if you should start tailoring your content towards different nations. If you have access to a translation service, this would also be helpful to determine what languages would be beneficial to add to your marketing content. Google Analytics also has a guide, which I recommend to read as well: Email Tracking - Measurement Protocol. Get Social! 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How to track your newsletter performance with Google Analytics - part 1
Newsletters are the most common form of digital marketing I have seen in the past years. I really don't know any website that doesn't send at least 1 newsletter a month, whether it's an ecommerce website, news website or a B2B presentation website. There are a lot of email marketing platforms, but the question is how profitable are these newsletters? Most platforms provide some form or analysis on the performance of each newsletter. Most providers can show you the numbers of emails sent, the number of users that opened your newsletter and the number of clicks in the email. Along with Google Analytics, you can see how impactful these newsletters are. I want to show you some hacks to dive deeper in analysing each part of your newsletter and improve your newsletter marketing. Analyse each section in the newsletter separate Most of the newsletter that I saw had several links in them so the best way to track them is to tag each link in a distinctive way using the Campaign Content parameter (utm_content). If you do not know what UTM parameters are, please take a moment to read this article: Why should you tag your campaigns? Using the blog post above create your tagged link and add the &utm_content=link1 OR &utm_content=second banner OR &utm_content=Discount banner (whatever works best for you when analysing the data) at the end. Here is an example: http://www.littledata.ro/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20%25off&utm_content=banner1 Here is a newsletter as part of a campaign named: "black friday2" with 3 banners in it. You can see from the data bellow that the top banner had the most clicks, but, in fact, the second banner is the only one that converted. This means that in the future we should move the second banner as a primary banner to have a higher visibility and in this way increase the number of transactions. You can tag all your links in the newsletter (the logo, banners, hyperlinks, products and so on) And see how each section is performing and what is driving the customers to click in the email. In a real email marketing platform, I strongly recommend searching the provider blog to see if they already support this in any way. Here is MailChimp solution for tracking the newsletter performance in Analytics. If the platform you are using does not support Google Analytics at the moment you can just build the URL with Google's URL builder or our simple Littledata URL builder and add it as you normal do in the newsletter. Track users on how they get on your website from a particular newsletter We've tested some hypotheses and the first one is to make a group of users in Google Analytics that come from a newsletter. The standard way is just to tag the newsletter with UTM parameters and create an audience based on that traffic. But to be more precise and go further with the analysis, we can add a new UTM parameter to all the links in the newsletter that contained the User ID. So now this traffic is not random but it's from a customer we've engaged with already and I do have historical data. The benefit of doing so is that, in an era of mobile devices and cross-device interactions, people read newsletters on the move and react or buy on different devices at different times as a result of the same campaign. You, as a marketer need to understand the cross-device movement and so I recommend that you read about this in the blog post: User Tracking To be able to track the activity of each individual user in your newsletter, you need to build a URL with a User ID parameter in it. This step is similar to the one before so you can add on to the URL you already built for your banners and add the unique identifier number of each client like this: http://www.mywebsite.com/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20%25off&userID=3D12345 The User ID is generated by the platform you're using, so please take your time and find out if your email marketing solution supports this, along with the email address you've imported and the User Id from your back end. We use Intercom, where you can just add it into the link with a simple click, like this: The platform you're using might be different but if there is an option to import the User Id along with the email address then it is likely that your platform supports this in some way. Once you've added this to the URL, you can then set up a URL variable in Google Tag Manager to pick it up and set up a field with the pageview that will be sent to Google Analytics. For more information, here's how to set a field in Google Tag Manager. Be sure to check back next week for part 2! If you have any questions or would like more help, please get in touch with one of our experts! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.
New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more
We’ve got some exciting news! We’ve launched some great updates on our web app, which will make your lives a little easier. Find out how the navigation has improved and new in-app messaging will help you find out more, get a glimpse into our trend detection algorithm and new reports on mobile devices! Our mission is to make the way you gain access to important analytics, an all-around easier process and we know we’re heading in the right direction with these updates. We already give you actionable and easier to understand insights of your Google Analytics and now we’ve made the experience more friendly based on your invaluable feedback! Find your reports quicker We’ve improved the navigation of the web app, giving you one new category, and two updated categories on the left-hand side of your profile, which are now simpler to find and easier to understand. There are currently three categories: Dashboard, Benchmark, and Reports, which will be visible to you depending on your Littledata package. Instead of having them in separate locations, we brought them together into one navigation panel so that you can find specific reports and findings quickly based on your current questions or company needs. Under the reports category, we have changed types of reports into tags. Now you can select one or multiple tags, and decide how you prefer to view the different types of insights you get. For example, if you want to view your trends reports with tips you’re getting, then all you need to do is select those two. The benchmark category brings together all the benchmark metrics available for your site, and to see more detail click on the individual benchmark you’re interested in. You can still see the category you are being benchmarked against just above your benchmarks. If your current category is ‘all websites’ then you should make this more specific by updating the category in the settings. The Dashboard is the latest addition to these categories, which we added to be able to provide a flexible and customised solution that is perfect for reporting needs that go beyond standard Google Analytics reports. See below for more detail. Get our custom dashboard This is a new feature, available to clients who are also receiving consulting services on top of our Pro package. Please contact one of our lovely experts if you’d like to know more about these features, and how they can give you the results you strive for. The dashboard category is completely customisable, which we develop through consulting services by going over what your goals and needs are, and then creating these reports for simple and actionable insights of your data. These reports are completely flexible and allow you to see metrics that are difficult to view in Google Analytics, which include: Calculations, such as performance changes in percentages and conversion rates Combined metrics and dimensions from different reports Custom visualisations of trends based on how you prefer to see the data. Want to include a pie or bar chart? Not a problem. A custom schedule for dashboard data refresh. If your reporting requires weekly, quarterly or annual updates, we’ll set it up for you. Customised reports based on your formatting preferences, so if you'd like to include your brand colours, it's a possibility! Our smarter algorithm When we started Littledata, we developed a trend detection algorithm to find significant changes in your data and send you alerts, reducing the time spent wading through data in Google Analytics. But as times change and data gets busier, we needed a better way to serve your reporting needs. So recently we collaborated with mathematicians to improve the algorithm, which is now sensitive enough to pick up small changes in low traffic website, but also specific enough to ignore the random noise of daily traffic. Want to hear more about this intriguing story? Find out more in our blog post: Making the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see! Are mobile devices losing you customers? Analytics from mobile devices is extremely important. Through our web app, you will find out how many transaction or users you lost due to poor experience on mobile devices. According to Dave Chaffey at Smart Insights, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. A growing number of people are searching through their phones and as a result, we’ve incorporated mobile devices reports. They will spot and highlight potential issues around responsiveness, layout or bugs. Finding out which devices are the worst will allow you to optimise your website and campaigns to capture all of these individuals. Your personalised communication We completely agree with Intercom’s belief that “customers today want to communicate with the people behind the business, not with a faceless brand”! This is why we’ve integrated their messenger into our web app so that you can chat with us directly and quickly. There’s a great deal of custom features available, including formatting, delivery, and most importantly the different ways to respond. You can choose your own way to chat and react, with images, audio, emojis, video, and more. If you want to know more about the expert you’re talking to, you can view their profile within the app. Our customer experience is key in our business model and we hope this function delivers that. If you have any questions regarding any of the new features, please contact us, or use the in-app messenger! Image credit: Image courtesy of Smart Insights and Intercom
Setting up common email software for Google Analytics
Many of the popular email providers make it easy to automatically tag up links in your emails to allow Google Analytics to track them under the 'Email' channel. Without this, the traffic from email links will be dispersed under 'Direct' and 'Referral' channels, and you won't be able to see which emails really drive engagement or sales. Here are the links to set up some common email services: MailChimp Campaign Monitor ActiveCampaign Benchmark Email ConstantContact iContact Emma MadMimi GetResponse Mail Jet If your email provider is not in the list, or you send emails from your own platform, you'll need to manually paste in tagged up email links. Still need some help? Contact us and we'll be happy to answer any questions!
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