It is critical to make sure you are basing your decisions on accurate data. In addition to having reliable data, you want to make sure that your data is both relevant and actionable. Therefore, today we’ve pulled together a comprehensive Google Analytics audit checklist to help you audit your account and make sure your data is accurate and usable. The list is useful for agencies, digital marketer, and even website owners.
You can get the list from here.
The checklist is split into 3 levels (Basics, Intermediate, Advanced) each in a different tab. In this article will go through each item in details. So, let’s get started:-
Proper account structure is critical for data quality, reporting, analysis, testing, and optimization. Google Analytics has a three-tiered hierarchy for setting up sites for tracking. You need to make sure this hierarchy is respected. Also, mobile apps should have different properties than the website property.
A proper and friendly naming convention of your properties and views will make it easier to navigate through the account.
By default, the global currency type of a reporting view is USD. Make sure to set a preferred currency for your reporting.
This is the country or territory and the time zone you want to use as the day boundary for your reports, regardless of where the data originates. Timezone has to be set to the correct region for the domain as sessions which start before midnight and end after midnight will be split in two.
This is the web page that loads when a user enters the domain of your site into the address bar. The missing default page of the view can lead to splitting the default page into different queries.
Bot Filtering enabled
Bots and spam traffic can inflate the number of sessions to a domain and render data as potentially useless as it becomes unreliable. To reduce this Google has a built in feature to exclude spam and bot traffic but by default, it is turned off.
Site Search enabled
If your website has a search bar, you need to ensure you’re making the most of this valuable report in Google Analytics. It’s quick to set up and can soon be giving you all sorts of insights and ideas that you may never have had without it.
AdWords account linked to Google Analytics
Linking a Google Analytics property to your AdWords account can help you analyze customer activity on your website after an ad click or impression. This information can shed light on how much of your website traffic or business comes from AdWords, and help you improve your ads and website. It also allows you to import Google Analytics goals and transactions, see Google Analytics data in your AdWords reports, and import Analytics remarketing audiences. You’ll also see AdWords data in your Analytics reports.
Search console linked to Google Analytics
The Search Console reports in Analytics provide information about the performance of your organic search traffic. You can see data like user queries and the number of times your site URLs appear in search results (impressions), along with post-click data about site engagement like bounce rate and e-commerce conversion rate. This combination of data helps you optimize your site for the most profitable traffic.
Content grouping enabled and correct
Content Grouping lets you group content into a logical structure that reflects how you think about your site or app and then view and compare aggregated metrics by group name in addition to being able to drill down to the individual URL, page title, or screen name. For example, you can see the aggregated number of page views for all pages in a group like Men/Shirts and then drill in to see each URL or page title.
Internal / Agency IP’s filtered
You should filter out traffic to your website from people on your corporate network.
If you find your own domain showing within the referrals report. It is typically triggered by the use of multiple subdomains.
Payment gateway referrals excluded
Payment gateways can also appear within your referral traffic, e.g. Paypal. The issue here is that the payment gateway will get credit for any transactions instead of the original traffic source.
Tracking code version
Universal analytics tracking has many advantages over ga.js tracking. Universal tracking connects multiple devices, sessions, and engagement data with the User ID. So, it’s highly recommended you upgrade from ga.js or dc.js to analytics.js.
Tracking on all pages
You can use screaming frog tool to crawl all the website pages and ensure that the analytics tag is on all pages.
Mobile site being tracked
If you have a separate mobile site you should ensure that it also has mobile tracking on all pages.
Tracking code in correct place in source code
Ensure that the tracking code is right before the closing </head> section.
Events are user interactions with content that can be tracked independently from a web page or a screen load. Downloads, mobile ad clicks, gadgets…etc. Events can help you a lot understand your customers better so make sure to utilize them. Also, it’s way easier to set up events through GTM , you can learn more about this here.
Goals measure how well your site or app fulfills your target objectives. A goal represents a completed activity, called a conversion, that contributes to the success of your business. You can turn your events easily into goals. GA provide many templates that are designed to help you set actionable goals that meet standard business objectives. You can edit any template field before saving a goal.
You need to ensure that you have complete e-commerce tracking set up. This will allow you to analyze purchase activity on your site or app. You can see product and transaction information, average order value, e-commerce conversion rate, time to purchase, and other data. More details about eCommerce tracking can be found here.
Enhanced Ecommerce is a plug-in for analytics.js enables the measurement of user interactions with products on e-commerce websites across the user’s shopping experience. It also gives you insights on the activity: product page views, adding and removing products from shopping carts, initiated, abandoned, and completed transactions. It’s highly recommended to have it implemented if it’s not.
You need to verify if your site search configuration is set up correctly or not. Check the search query parameters and make sure they match your website search box parameters. More info can be found here.
Many social networks provide embeddable buttons and widgets that allow users to easily share content from the web or from an app. Examples of these buttons include the Google+ “+1” button, or the Facebook “Like” button.User interactions with these embedded social buttons represent social interactions with your content. These social interactions are valuable signals of user engagement and can be measured using Analytics. Please check the full guide here.
Raw Data View
You should have a raw data view where no changes or customizations are to ever be made to this view.
If you’ve got so many data that you’re sampling all the time, you might want to consider Google Analytics 360.
Query Parameter Exclusion
Exclude URL Query Parameters prevents splitting pages into multiple rows that have different parameters. Most of the time you want to aggregate your data by page content, so this isn’t good when you go to analyze your content metrics.
It allows users with access to a Google Analytics profile to keep a record of the events of a website, anything that might “move the needle”, so to speak. A detailed record will help employees and future employees recall previous events. This can also significantly reduce time spent digging for answers and causality in the data. The sooner you can learn how they work, the better.
Low Bounce Rates
We did explain this in details in a previous article, please check Troubleshooting Too Low Bounce Rate in GA.
Referral spam excluded
Google Analytics has a built in function that filters out the majority of bots and referral spam hits. However it doesn’t catch them all, so to improve the accuracy of data we recommend implementing a quick fix for referral spam using custom filters on Reporting views.
Demographic data set up
Demographics and interests data provides information about the age and gender of your users, along with the interests they express through their online travel and purchasing activities. Understanding your audience composition in terms of gender, age, and interests lets you also understand the kinds of creative content you need to develop, the kinds of media buys you should make, and the kinds of audiences you need to develop for marketing and remarketing campaigns.
A Custom Report is a report that you create. You pick the dimensions (City and Browser, for example) and metrics (Sessions, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate, for example) and decide how they should be displayed. This can save you much time by looking only at the KPIs and metrics that matter the most to your business.
Dashboards are a collection of widgets that give you an overview of the reports and metrics you care about most. Dashboards let you monitor many metrics at once, so you can quickly check the health of your accounts or see correlations between different reports. Dashboards are easy to create, customize and share.
If you have an e-commerce website, you need to verify that most of the elements below are set up correctly:
# E-commerce transaction
# E-commerce revenue
# E-commerce shipping cost
# E-commerce taxes
# E-commerce Quantity
# Enhanced Ecommerce
# Internal promotion impression
# Product Details
# Add To Cart
# Checkout Steps
It allows you to combine analytics data with non-analytics data, for example, you can import dimensions from your CRM system to GA like client id, categories, shares, timestamp, product SKU,…etc. We already explained before how to expose Client and User IDs using custom dimensions.
This allows your create your own metrics like ROI and margins and have more visibility on the performance of all your source in GA.
Google Analytics allows importing cost data for non-Google campaigns where you can monitor performance across all your channels in one place and calculate your return on investment. It also lets you upload data from external sources and combine it with data you collect via Analytics. You can then use Analytics to organize and analyze all of your data in ways that better reflect your business. For example, you can upload refund data and calculate the cancellation rate by a campaign.
The User ID enables the association of one or more sessions (and any activity within those sessions) with a unique and persistent ID that you send to Analytics so you can track cross-device conversion and calculate the lifetime of your customers.
Attribution modeling in Google Analytics (GA) is potentially very powerful in the results it can give us, yet few people use it, and those that do often get misleading results. The built-in models are all fairly useless, and creating your own custom model can easily dissolve into random guesswork. You can even customize your own models.
Ahmed is a Co-Founder of Janby, an AI tool for small and medium business to manage their digital marketing campaigns in one place across multi-channels ads platforms like Google, Facebook and Instagram.