If you noticed this visitors drop in your Google Analytics account…

…you then’d in all probability wish to prioritize enhancing web optimization for that page.

But what if this information is flawed?

There’s a excessive threat of creating dangerous selections in the event you’re blindly counting on the info that you simply see in Google Analytics. You know the saying: rubbish in, rubbish out.

This information will provide help to decrease information skewing components by fixing these errors:

  1. Missing or duplicate Google Analytics code
  2. Incorrectly arrange interplay occasions
  3. Tracking hits from different domains
  4. Tracking your individual classes
  5. Not utilizing bot filtering
  6. Tracking spam referrals
  7. Sloppy use of UTM parameters
  8. Not excluding question parameters
  9. Not merging the identical sources and mediums
  10. Not utilizing a referral exclusion checklist
  11. Tracking Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  12. Not firing page views for Single Page Applications (SPAs)
  13. Not having backup and testing views

1. Missing or duplicate Google Analytics code

This sounds trivial, however it’s a typical downside—particularly on websites that use a couple of CMS.

The excellent news is that Google Analytics has lacking code notifications built-in. The dangerous information is that it’s gradual, and will take weeks to provide you with a warning about pages with lacking code. It additionally doesn’t inform you about duplicate codes, which is one other widespread downside.

For that purpose, it’s greatest to not depend on Google’s notifications and as an alternative crawl your web site for errors with a device that permits customized extraction.

Here’s the right way to arrange a crawl with customized extraction in Screaming Frog to scrape each Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics codes:

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It’s greatest to export the crawl to examine the info. You can simply filter lacking codes or see duplicates if there are extra columns within the report, e.g., Find GTM code 1 and Find GTM code 2.

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Screaming Frog CSV crawl export in Google Sheets.

2. Incorrectly arrange interplay occasions

Having issues like purchases, type submissions, or video performs arrange as interplay occasions is sensible. They’re necessary for your online business, so the truth that they’re not counted as bounces—even when the customer solely views one page—is okay.

But in the event you’re utilizing interplay occasions for monitoring occasions that fireside robotically on every page, like scroll depth monitoring, that’ll lead to close-to-zero bounce charges throughout your complete web site—which isn’t good.

You can simply spot these points by searching for unrealistically low bounce charges in GA.

If you observed interplay occasions because the wrongdoer, change the occasion’s “Non-interaction hit” setting from false to true in Google Tag Manager.
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If you’re not utilizing Google Tag Manager, simply add one more line of code to the GA occasion snippet.

3. Tracking hits from different domains

It’s surprisingly simple for somebody to screw up your information in the event you don’t take preventive measures. Why? Because your GA/GTM monitoring code is seen to anybody who opens your supply code, so anybody can ship hits to GA servers underneath your monitoring code.

Luckily, it’s simple to stop this from taking place by organising a view filter.

This will solely embody hits from your individual (sub)area:

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Here’s the hostname regex filter sample: (^|.)instance.com

4. Tracking your individual classes

There are a number of irregular actions we make on our web sites, and we don’t need these mirrored in our information.

So, whereas we’re organising filters, let’s additionally make certain to exclude hits from inside IP addresses. It’s simple to do that for a single IP:

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If it’s essential to exclude extra IPs, check with this guide from Google.

5. Not utilizing bot filtering

Google can detect a good portion of the spam/bot visitors coming to your web site. All it’s essential to do is to test a field.

You’ll discover this in Admin > View Settings:
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Note that it’s sufficient to test this solely on your primary analytics view. There’s no want to do that for the uncooked or testing views.

6. Tracking spam referrals

Popular web sites appeal to spammy hyperlinks. It’s simply how issues are.

Most of those are negligible and produce zero referral visitors, however some can ship hundreds of spammy referrals on daily basis.

To test if that’s an issue for you, set the date vary to a few months minimal, then go to the Referrals report (Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals).

Look for shady domains with a excessive variety of referrals.

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Referrals report with referrals from a shady web site.

Don’t click on suspicious domains as they may comprise malware or spy ware. Instead, create a listing and exclude them with a filter (Admin > Filter). Set the Filter Field as “Campaign Source,” then checklist domains within the Filter Pattern area separated by a pipe (|) image.
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IMPORTANT. Always bear in mind to confirm your filters to see the way it influences your information. There’s a button under the filters for this.

7. Sloppy use of UTM parameters

UTM parameters are tags which might be appended to URLs to label totally different visitors sources. They’re largely used with paid advertisements and hyperlinks that may in any other case get blended with natural visits.

Let’s say that we’re working advertisements on Twitter. By default, the visitors would fall underneath “twitter.com / referral”, making any efficiency evaluation unattainable. So we append UTM parameters to URLs used for Twitter Ads:

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Screenshot from Campaign URL Builder. I like to recommend utilizing this device to tag your URLs till you’re feeling skilled sufficient to do that manually.

These UTM parameters are then despatched to GA servers and used of their respective dimensions.

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are you a part of a marketing crew?

If there are a number of folks handing the efficiency marketing aspect of issues, it’s essential to have tips for UTM parameters unification. Trust me, analyzing efficiency of marketing channels when the tagging is just not unified is likely one of the issues that you simply actually don’t wish to be doing in Google Analytics.

When doing this, understand that the method of including UTM parameters will depend on the advertising platform. For instance, Twitter Ads require URLs that have already got the parameters in them, whereas Google Ads can (and may) be utterly automatized.

8. Not excluding question parameters

Cluttering your (Landing) Page dimensions with parameterized URLs could be a nightmare for any additional analyses. It breaks up the identical URL into a number of rows, which ends up in splintered metrics.

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Illustration of a splintered URL due to parameters.

To remedy this, use the report filter to point out all parameterized URLs recorded in your GA view.

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Then, to maintain the page dimensions unified, exclude parameters that you simply don’t wish to see in your experiences.

You can do it in View Settings:
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Just make certain to not exclude:

  • Search question parameters (in any other case it’ll block your inside web site search information)
  • UTM parameters (GA can already deal with them correctly)
  • Parameters you wish to monitor individually (e.g., these for various merchandise on ecommerce websites)

If you’re coping with an enormous variety of totally different parameters that you simply wish to exclude, it’s higher to make use of view filters as an alternative. Their flexibility and the choice to make use of common expressions make them a greater answer. Follow this guide to set them up.

9. Not merging the identical sources and mediums

You might need observed that a few of your visitors sources and mediums are a multitude as a result of they’re principally the identical factor. The most typical instance is referral visitors from Facebook.

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Those bizarre subdomains are referred to as hyperlink shim referrals. Facebook makes use of them for safety and privateness causes, however they’ll make analyzing the efficiency of a specific supply/medium tough.

To repair them, use filters. Here’s one which merges referral visitors from Facebook:
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Remember to confirm the filter to test that it does what you assume it does.

You must also create a be aware that you simply’ve merged the visitors so others received’t surprise what prompted the change. Google Analytics doesn’t apply the filters retroactively, so that you’ll nonetheless must cope with the outdated information.

10. Not utilizing a referral exclusion checklist

When you add a website to a referral exclusion checklist, any visitors from it can not be labeled as referral visitors, and won’t set off a brand new session.

This is very helpful in three circumstances:

  • Payment gateways. If you employ any third-party fee processors, you’ll probably be redirecting your prospects there and again after ending the fee. That must be one session underneath one supply of visitors.
  • Subdomain monitoring. Subdomains are separate hostnames, and visitors from them would naturally set off a brand new referral session. Luckily, GA submits your individual area into the checklist when creating the property. Leave it there. And maintain the default “Cookie Domain: Auto” as properly in the event you ever encounter that within the monitoring code or GTM.
  • Cross-domain tracking. You could have microsites and different separate domains for which it’s your decision merged information if it’s the identical enterprise.

You’ll discover this checklist in Admin > Property column > Tracking Info > Referral Exclusion List. 

Enter the domains within the instance.com format to cowl all of the subdomains.

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11. Tracking Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

While this doesn’t hurt your information readability, it might trigger some severe injury to your online business.

You have to make sure that you’re not tracking any PII like emails, telephone numbers, or names. Or even higher—adhere to the info safety and privateness laws that apply to your online business.

Unfortunately, you might be monitoring PII with out understanding it by producing URL parameters with private info in types or elsewhere.

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Example of a URL with parameters containing PII.

This in all probability received’t be the case in the event you’re utilizing a preferred CMS, however you must definitely check this in case you have a totally customized web site.

Just to state the plain, don’t attempt accumulating PII via customized dimensions. And if you wish to test what information web sites are accumulating, use a browser extension like dataslayer or WASP.

12. Not firing pageviews for Single Page Applications (SPA)

Is your web site a Single Page Application (SPA)? In different phrases, is it utilizing JavaScript to generate page content material dynamically?

If the reply is sure, then monitoring simply bought a bit extra tough for you.

SPAs load every part wanted with the primary pageview and replace the content material and URLs dynamically. That means GA received’t monitor any subsequent pageviews as a result of there are of course no subsequent hits to their servers.

(I’m responsible of overlooking this when builders have been step by step switching a venture I used to be engaged on to the React framework.)

To repair this, you’ll want to make use of workarounds that can probably require assist from builders or GTM consultants. If you wish to study extra about this, take a look at Google’s official documentation and this thorough guide.

13. Not having backup and testing views

This final one’s not a lot a monitoring mistake however moderately a greatest follow for dealing with information in Google Analytics.

Even in case you have only one account and property, all the time make certain to have a minimum of three totally different views:

  1. Master view. You’ll use this one probably the most with all the specified settings and filters utilized.
  2. Backup view. A view left with all settings on default. If something goes improper along with your grasp view, you’ll all the time have all of the uncooked information right here.
  3. Testing view. You can mess around with this one to check the waters first. It’s helpful in the event you’re unsure in regards to the implications of tweaking extra advanced view settings, reminiscent of numerous filters.

You can rename views in Admin > View Settings > View Name.

Just bear in mind to make the view names as self-explanatory as attainable in order that others utilizing the account perceive them.

Final ideas

Test, confirm, repeat.

Whenever you make adjustments to your GA settings, GTM, or monitoring codes, you must take the position of a Quality Assurance engineer for some time.

That means it’s essential to be snug working with the supply code, cookies, and numerous debugging instruments. I like to recommend utilizing the next ones:

Implementing, auditing, and debugging will depend on the complexity of your monitoring wants and code implementation. If you’re not utilizing GTM but, I’d strongly advise you to make the change except your monitoring wants are easy.

Yes, it can take numerous time to learn if you’re a beginner. But the advantages are monumental. You received’t must contact builders for monitoring code adjustments, and it’s simply superior to have neatly organized containers, tags, triggers, and variables.

Did I point out to check and confirm every part?

Ping me on Twitter in case you have any questions.