3 common mistakes when setting up Google Analytics

This article was migrated from an older iteration of our website, and it could deviate in design and functionality.

Understanding the three most common mistakes when setting up your Google Analytics account can help you improve your data gathering. In the long run, this improves your chances of reaching your website business goals.

Estimated read time : 4 minutes

Jump to

When we get a new client they tend to already have their Google Analytics accounts set up, with properties and views. What I have noticed is that most of them do have these three mistakes in common:

Only one view

In Google Analytics you can setup 1-50 views per property (with a free account). However, most businesses only set up one view, the standard “All website data”. This puts the data at risk, as any mistakes in the filtering can cause complete loss of data. 

I recommend the following views:

  1. All website data: this is the view where you work with and view your data for reporting etc.
  2. Testing: this is where you test settings and filters before you apply them to your All website data view, in order to make sure they work as expected.
  3. Unfiltered: this is your backup. If something goes wrong in All website data you can always fall back to this unfiltered view where everything gets tracked.

No filters

The second mistake is that no filters have been set up which means that you are gathering data for everyone accessing your site. Filters are used to exclude or include types of visits. A common application is to exclude internal visitors as these are not your customers.

Filters can also be used to make sure that GA bots are not spamming you data. Read more about that in our previous post identifying spam and ghost referrals in Google Analytics.

No goals have been set up

The last, but also the most important, mistake is not setting up any goals. Most people set up their Google Analytics account and jump into the data in order to try to find something useful, often resulting in information overload. Instead of taking a step back to look at the business objectives to be able to formulate relevant website goals. These are questions to ask yourselves:

  • What do you want the website to do?
  • What should the website do for your business?

Once you have answers to the above it is a lot easier to map out the website goals – that should definitely be set up in Google Analytics. Without goals, you just have an abundance of data that you cannot analyze properly.

When these common mistakes have been eliminated the data becomes more useful and fun to work with. Let me know if you have any questions or want help in dealing with your Google Analytics data.