10 Things You Are Not Doing in Google Analytics

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10 Things You Are Not Doing in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is undoubtedly one of the most powerful web analytics tools available today. It has tons of features that can help you measure your sales and conversions. Not only that, but it helps you understand how visitors use your site, how much time they spend on your site, and what content keeps them coming back.

While working with clients and helping them configure Google Analytics on their website, I learned many clients were not aware of many important features of Google Analytics. I wanted to share with you the commonly missed features of Google Analytics that you can use to generate great insights.

1) Creating More Than One View

Having more than one view allows you to experiment with your Google Analytics data without having the fear of data loss.
create more than one view

I have seen situations when the client had only one view in Google Analytics and saw discrepancy in the data due to improper configuration of filters.

To avoid situations like data discrepancy or data loss, you should create more than one Google Analytics View:

  1. Unfiltered View
  2. Test View

In the unfiltered view, you do not apply any filters or configuration as it will affect the raw Google Analytics data.

In the test view, you can apply filters and make configuration changes to analyze the data you want.
Additionally, if you are a big enterprise and use the single Google Analytics Property for different sub-domains, you can create different views for different sub domains in Google Analytics and share limited access to the stakeholders.

Further Reading:

2) Demographic and Interest Report

The Demographic and Interest report has been around for a long time, but I still don’t see it used by many people. The Demographic and Interest report provides you with information about your users’ age, gender, and interest.

demographic and interest report

The report is extremely helpful in understanding your website’s audience. Additionally, insights from the report will enable you to target your marketing campaigns for higher conversion.

Insights that you can generate from the report are endless, for example:

  • Which Gender is engaging more with your website?
  • Which Age Group is engaging better and converting?

Further Reading:

3) Event Tracking

Google Analytics tracks many user actions by default, but there are events which Google Analytics does not track out of the box. For example: Number of clicks on download button. Using Event tracking you can track any click – event.

event tracking

Event tracking allows you to track actions whether or not a URL change is recorded. Examples include clicking on links, email addresses, social media icons, or file downloads.

We understand every website will have certain user actions they may want to track. Through event tracking you go deeper into custom behavior and understand how users are engaging with your content.

You can track:

  • Number of people who downloaded a file
  • Number of people who clicked the play/pause button
  • Or any other specific click base user action

Further Reading:


4)  Using the Benchmarking Report

Benchmarking is an extremely valuable report since it tells you how your metrics are stacked up against others in the industry. It lets you compare and understand how each of your channels are performing compared to the industry standard.

benchmark report

Following are some of the insights you can generate from the report:

  • How is your site performing compared to others in your industry?
  • In what areas could you stand to experience a major overhaul?
  • In what areas are you close to reaching industry benchmarks?

Further Reading:

5) Using UTM Parameters to Track Campaigns

When running an online marketing campaign it is highly likely you will distribute various pieces of marketing material in many places across the web.

Let’s say you place display ads of various sizes on a range of websites, place a feature about your product in your monthly newsletter and place an article and advert in the newsletter of an online industry magazine.

While it is easy to determine which channel is bringing in more traffic to your landing page (let’s say email drives more traffic than advertising), how do you determine which newsletter is more effective? Or what banner size is most effective? This is where UTM parameters come in to play!

UTM parameters are simply tags that you add to a URL.

When someone clicks on a URL with UTM parameters, those tags are sent back to your Google Analytics for tracking.

For example – we had recently sent a newsletter to five different email list, by using UTM Parameters, we were able to learn how much traffic each of these list is generating.

utm campaigns report

If we hadn’t used the UTM parameters, it would have been difficult for us to understand which list generated more traffic and converted well.

Further Reading:


6) Integrating Google Webmaster Account

Many of us are not in a habit of looking at our Google Webmaster Account on a regular basis. Integrating the same via Google Analytics once helps you look at the search queries.

search query report

Search queries are a great sources for keyword ideas to optimize your site for. That is why you should learn how to integrate your Google Webmaster Account.

The Search Queries page shows those Google Web Search queries that have returned URLs from your site. You can also see information about the pages on your site that were seen most often in Google search results (top pages).

We all know that search queries are one of the greatest sources of keyword ideas. After the “Not Provided” move from Google, webmaster search queries are used heavily to identify new keyword opportunities.

Further Reading:

7) Tracking Percentage of Mobile Users

mobile user report

This report basically tells you the percent of your mobile users.

Since more users are now connecting via smart phone, it has become important to keep track of this report and to improve the mobile optimization strategy. I recommend checking this data every 15 days.

Further Reading:

8) Monitoring Analytics Notification

Google regularly evaluates your Google Analytics tracking code, account configurationb and other analytics implementation in order to find tracking code issues. Google communicates the issues via this feature.

Resolving this issue will help you collect better Google Analytics data:

analytics notification report

Let me give you an example of what type of notifications you can expect:

For example, if Google Analytics is aware of the fact that you have not taken care of removing the internal traffic, then it will suggest you to remove internal traffic.


As shown in this example, the property does not have Demographic and Interest Report Enabled. Hence, Google Analytics will suggest you enable the report to better insight.

Since the notifications offered will help you collect better data, I recommend you to review your analytics notification tab regularly.

Further Reading:

9) Monitoring Site Search Report

Site Search is one another great report from Google Analytics. It works towards providing information about the search users input in the search box on your website.

site search report

As it is helping you with user intent, you can use the information to pick those keywords and come up with some blog posts, to optimize them in the future.

Further Reading:

10) Enhanced eCommerce

This is the last – and most recently added – report you shouldn’t miss.

Enhanced ecommerce is the new ecommerce reporting structure of Google Analytics. It comes with 10 other powerful reports and delivers you all the information you need to dive deep inside the behavior of your customers.

Enhanced Ecommerce Report

Insights you can generate from Enhanced e-Commerce:

  • Which stage of your website is causing high drop-offs and leaking revenue
  • The behavior pattern of New vs. Returning users on your website
  • Product categories that are getting high visibility among users, but lower visibility to add to carts (ATC)
  • Product categories that are getting removed on a frequent basis from the shopping cart.
  • Brands which are showing better performance and generating high revenue

And much more…

Further Reading:

The above ten points are awesome ways to generate insights from your website’s data. I hope this helps you utilize the power of Google Analytics better. I highly recommend you invest a few minutes right away to see how Google Analytics data can be molded to suit your specific needs!

You may just discover features or methods that can aid in your existing data collecting/reporting system. Last but not least, please share your your encounters with Google Analytics in the comment section below.

Happy discovering!

Image Credits

Featured Image: Created by author for Search Engine Journal
All screenshots taken April 2015

Boni Satani
Boni Satani is an Inbound Marketer at Tatvic, a Web Analytics Company that helps businesses generate insights from their data. His interest lies in PR... Read Full Bio
Boni Satani
Boni Satani
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  • Nikhil Makwana

    Hey Boni,

    Good points you shared and great observation in the industry to find this 10 common missed points by major webmasters.

    After reading this article I have come to that I am also missing one good point is Site Search. πŸ™‚ I admire your write up for us.

    • Boni Satani

      Fantastic. Thanks a lot for reading the article!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • Tom Miller

    I am familiar with some points but some of them are new for me. Informative article for me. Thanks for sharing this article with us. I like it very much.

    • Boni Satani

      My Pleasure Tom! Happy to help you!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • Mikula

    you forgot one really important part:
    Google Analytics Alert Notification (in Admin >> Email Notifications)
    Setup a rule to notifiy if organic traffic drops 20% immediatly by email and SMS

    • Boni Satani

      Hey Mikula,

      Google Analytics Intelligence alert feature is a gem! How could have I missed it πŸ™

      Thanks for pointing it out! You just made the post more awesome!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • Rachel Flores

    Hey Boni, Nice article about Analytics. UTM Parameters is a new thing for me to know in Analytics. Thank you very much for this informative article.

    • Boni Satani

      Absolutely. UTM parameters are marketers next best tool. It makes the measurement of promotional activities darn easy.

  • Christine

    This is a great article. I unfortunately neglected Google analytics for years….and paid the price. I now find it to be the most useful tool and check it first thing in the morning. Your article gave some great points that I plan to add to my daily checking. Bookmarked.

    • Boni Satani

      Absolutely, you can’t ignore GA. Glad that the article helped you! Please feel free to get back to me for any help or information on twitter(@bonirulzz).

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • George Iovchev

    The ten points will be my bible for using Google Analytics, thanks. I shared this article on my FB page dedicated to SEO and marketing, hoping more people will learn to use better GA.

    • Boni Satani

      That made my day. Thanks a lot for the love. Please feel free to connect with me on twitter (@bonirulzz) for any help or more information!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • Rowena

    Thanks for sharing this Boni. Very good insights about Google Analytics. And it is one of the best (and free!) ways we can show that our campaigns are working. Good job!

    • Boni Satani

      Absolutely Rowena. Google Analytics is super useful. Using GA, you literally spend ZERO $ in learning how to optimize your marketing campaigns.

  • Red Rock

    I like the complete article, it’s very helpful for me, there are so many points which are new for me. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.

    • Boni Satani

      Happy to help you Red Rock!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • Marcus

    Hey Boni

    Great post. Most folks simply install Google Analytics and then expect wondrous insights but in our experience you need a good understanding of what the questions are and some additional configuration to really provide any useful insight.


    • Boni Satani

      Bang on Marcus. It’s very important to know what you want to measure when you are using Google Analytics.

      And I understand that’s where most people are stuck. They start monitoring metrics that they shouldn’t and eventually get exhausted with no insights.

      Thanks for your comment, it was insightful!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • Anthony Collins

    I really don’t use the filters as much as I should for reporting. Only recently got into event tracking!

    Great article BTW!

    • Boni Satani

      Event tracking is a gem! I’ve a website where I track almost all the click events! I just love it!

  • pawan mandav

    Hey Boni,

    It is really interesting article, i really know most of the points (functions) of Google analytics but some are really new for me.

    • Boni Satani

      Fantastic, Glad that my article added some value to you.

  • Pirvu Bogdan

    I think tracking percentage of Mobile Users is a must because we can use separate marketing budget for mobile/desktop users.

    • Boni Satani

      Absolutely, it’s super important that you monitor the % of your mobile users.

      I understand that many organizations are still not improving their mobile website due to low mobile traffic. In such situations, it is important that you monitor your mobile traffic periodically so that you can take the right steps of amping up your mobile strategy when needed!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • Ketan Jawale

    Hey Boni,

    Thanks for sharing… As reason of increasing mobile users, it is important to track mobile visitors. I like this point you have mentioned,”Tracking Percentage of Mobile Users”.

    Some other points also worth focusing in GA. Thanks once again,these point going to help me. πŸ™‚

    • Boni Satani

      Thanks Ketan for taking out your time and reading it! Happy to learn that you found it useful!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • Jonathan Rodriguez

    This is an excellent article. I think it is so easy to get stuck seeing the same data every day and avoid certain sections in Google Analytics. Event tracking is one of the most valuable metrics but really is so very rarely used.

    • Boni Satani

      Indeed, Event Tracking is a super awesome feature. Helps you measure almost all the click events.

      For example, recently, I implemented event tracking on a whatsapp share button to learn if the users are using it or not. Results came in and I was blown away with the usage of whatsapp share!

  • Rohit

    Nice post, covered the most key aspects to look while analysing website traffic with google analytics also containing excellent further reading links to deep dive.

    • Boni Satani

      Thanks Rohit! Glad that you found it useful!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • Sabeeh ul Hassan

    This is called detailed guidance for users. Your post is really helpful and the way you described it by giving proper examples is superb.

    • Boni Satani

      I tried my best to deliver the value & I guess I Succeeded. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

      Cheers! πŸ™‚

  • siddartha

    Hey Boni, Very informative article. All of the 10 things about Google Analytics are Precious for me. Thank you very much for this article.

  • Pratik

    Hey Boni,

    you have shared out of the box useful tips.

    I am aware of few points but do not have an idea about how to utilize it. Your post made my task easy.
    Points 2 and 4 are awesome to work on.

    Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

  • Paul Kusel

    Great insight of analytics.

    I have been using Google analytics since years though I knew certain insights for the first time. I will take them in consideration for sure.

    Appreciated your attempts!

  • Neil Lopez

    “Tracking Percentage of Mobile Users” this actually makes sense. Tracking mobile users will help you decide if you would want to make a mobile app for your site.

  • Steve

    Excellent insights into Google Analytics. It’s one of the best ways we can tell that our campaign is working.