A great post here about some of the basic Analytics mistakes – it is unfortunate that many clients who have had websites built for them still do not have access to their analytics data so they can see if their website is actually gaining meaningful traffic. Perhaps this post will boost awareness of the importance of Analytics by giving you some pointers as to common Analytics issues.
Any marketer worth their salt knows how critical it is to measure the right performance metrics and to be able to trust that data implicitly. Nowhere is this more true than in digital marketing, where the expectation is for (nearly) flawless measurement across users, sites, campaigns, and devices.
In doing dozens of web analytics audits over the past year alone, Portent’s analytics team continues to see a lot of the same simple yet harmful mistakes again and again. Many of these issues are incredibly easy to fix. In some cases they literally involve nothing more than checking off a well-hidden box in the admin section of your platform.
Hopefully this post saves you the trouble of repeating these mistakes, or at very least helps you spot and fix these common problems in your own analytics before they come back to bite.
1. Missing Tracking Code
One of the most common problems we see with websites that have existed for any length of time is not having full analytics code coverage across the site. This might seem like a trivial detail, but it can result in under-reporting your hard-earned traffic, blind spots in what your prospective customers are looking at before they purchase (or bounce), and failure to add great prospects to retargeting pools, to name a few.
To evaluate your site for analytics code coverage you’ve got a few options. At Portent, we use a proprietary site crawler and inventory tool as part of a broader diagnostic. You can also use a paid tool like Screaming Frog to do this site-wide analysis yourself.
Whether you’ve got your agency partner running the analysis or are using a tool: the crawler should return a list of URLs on your domain that don’t have the appropriate code or tag. In most cases, this problem is localized to specific pages that were custom-built for business or design reasons, so the fix is pretty painless.
2. No Tag Manager “Second” Code
Just as having full code coverage on your site is essential, you’ll need to take a look at whether you’re firing the correct code. In this case, we’re talking about code that needs to be deployed in both the head of your pages, as well as the body. If you’re managing code snippets for analytics and other digital tools through Google Tag Manager (GTM), but aren’t fully comfortable with GTM we see this fairly often for a specific reason.
Pro-Tip: In the past year Google came out with changes to the Google Tag Manager tracking snippet. They’ve added a second piece code that should to be placed right after the opening body tag. The purpose of the new code is to ensure that every element in your data layer is loaded before someone leaves the page.
Bottom line, it’s a very good idea to do a check-up across any site to ensure you’re firing a complete and correct tag manager script.
3. No Analytics Code On Subdomain
For sites that use subdomains which is fairly common, mistakes or oversight