Google Analytics: What Not To Do
Google Analytics is an extremely helpful platform to monitor and measure your digital presence — your website, mobile apps, or marketing initiatives. In past articles, I’ve offered many pointers to help make Google Analytics even more beneficial to you. This piece will focus on what not to do in Google Analytics.
Do Not Delete Your Profiles
This may sound obvious, but you don’t know how many calls I receive from folks in a panic because they’ve lost their data. Unfortunately, if you delete your Google Analytics profile — from the admin section — and you will lose all your data. That’s it. Gone. Done. No more. You might get lucky and be able to get Google Analytics support to restore some of the data, but there are no guarantees.
Take corrective measures first. Always create a backup profile and a test profile. That way if the profile does get deleted, there’s another one there that still has the data you need. Secondly, limit the access to who has admin rights. Since deleting profiles can only be done at the admin level, be sure to limit this access. The way Google Analytics is structured, you can set up and have multiple users. And read-only users have limited privileges. This does not include deleting the profile. By making someone a read-only user, it gives him access to the reports, but does not allow him to manipulate the account configuration in any way.
Do Not Add Code Without Planning
Many people just “slap” code on their site, and they think that if Google Analytics is already set up, they have the analytics end of things implemented. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Proper planning and understand of your domains, sub-domains, and cross-domains will help you to better ensure you’re applying the right code in the right place. Understanding filters — such as IP filters, upper case/lower case, include/exclude traffic, and parameters — will also ensure you have dependable data. Assessing what user interactions and outcomes you want to report on is key to setting up the right goals.
Do Not Think of Analytics as a Silo
When you are working hard to grow your business, trying to make your organization more data-driven, you’ll likely realize that you need more than just one person “who runs the reports” within the organization. Analytics is part IT, part marketing, and part business. It therefore needs to include people from each of these departments. To develop the code and implement landing pages, the IT folks need to be involved. However, so does marketing. They are the ones creating the promotions and designing the branding aspects of the advertising materials. It is essential that all departments work together on the analytics. Make sure there is time allocated and resources are committed for one common goal: leveraging data to increase profits.