Today, let’s talk about 3 simple, but critical implementation problems plaguing the Google Analytics profiles of dealerships all around the country, right now, and could be affecting you.
Problem #1: Data Loss
Generally speaking, your analytics sessions are your vitals. If you see that line hit 0 and stay there, we’re calling time of death. That’s why we need to be constantly vigilant of our analytics implementation. Any lost data can really spoil your views.
Why can this happen? Well, there’s a number of reasons why Google Analytics can drop to 0 sessions, but the #1 reason is simply the implementation of your Google Analytics Tracking Code in the header of your website. You’ll want to reexamine your tracking code or Google Tag Manager implementation to ensure that your site is being tracked at all.
Google Analytics includes a feature that you may not be utilizing. The “Custom Alerts” feature can send you notification based on detailed criteria, including sessions reaching “Zero”.
Simply head to your Google Analytics settings (the little gear icon on the bottom left), and under your View Settings you’ll see “Custom Alerts”. Once you add and name a new alert like “DATA LOSS” you can choose which views you want to have send you alerts, what frequency you’d like to check, and the conditions.
As a rule of thumb, setting “All Traffic” to alert you when “Sessions Condition Is less than 1” will make this alert effective any time your site reaches 0. You can tweak these settings to fit your needs.
DON’T FORGET: Check off “Send me an email when this alert triggers.” and hit Save Alert
Problem #2: Wrong/Multiple Site Implementation
This next implementation problem has less to do with a lack of data, and more to do with too much. Google Tracking Codes under certain circumstances can be implemented on more than one website, and in some cases, just the wrong website all together. This can happen in a number of ways, but generally it all comes down to user error, and very frequently site migrations.
The issue with this of course, is that your data is not YOUR data (or at least isn’t the data you’re looking for). It’s either a combined total of multiple locations or subdomains, OR it’s just a different site entirely.
What’s the solution? Check your traffic’s hostname. Under most circumstances, anything showing up on your analytics that should be there should display the same “Hostname” as your website. If you see anything other than that, in almost all cases it’s worth investigating.
The way to check your hostname breakdown is simple. Head to Google Analytics, open up Behavior, Site Content, All Pages, and then select your Primary Dimension, just under the graph, and select “Hostname”.
Once this is done, you should see a breakdown of all of your traffic over a given date range, if any of this shows up as something other than the website you expect, you may have incorrectly implemented tracking codes.
Problem #3: Double Implementation
The last implementation problem we want to talk about today is Double Implementation. This is a particularly heinous problem, as the symptoms don’t show easily in common checks for errors. AND they frequently make your site look like it’s performing better than it really is. This problem generally arises in a similar fashion to the other two, during site building or migration, when you’re first getting setup, but other errors are possible.
Watch your bounce rate. Bounce Rate is a measurement of whether or not someone who arrived on your site, left your site from the same page, or continued onward deeper into your website, hopefully to pursue conversion.
To check your bounce rate, simply head to your Google Analytics, Acquisition Overview, and then Bounce Rate can be found under “Behavior”.
Although a very low bounce rate is exciting, if it’s too low, it’s likely not realistic. We find that any bounce rate falling below 25 percent is likely false, and needs to be looked into. When a Google Analytics Tracking Code is double implemented, not only is your overall traffic potentially doubled, but Google Analytics is almost always reading each user as having hit more than one page, showing you a minuscule bounce rate. If you see your bounce rate drop to unrealistic lows, especially over the course of a day or two, then you know you’re looking at double implementation of your tracking code, that needs to be addressed.
Google Analytics Tracking Implementation is extremely important and complicated. We’ve only touched the surface of the kinds of errors you can see in GA, and how to identify them, let alone implementing fixes if the worst should happen. Which wraps things up for this week, but we’re just getting started. So be sure to join me next Thursday for more discussion of data integrity, and what that means for your dealership.