The Most Common Errors When Using Google Analytics


Google Analytics is a web tool used by every webmaster, which offers a lot of data about the acquisition and behaviour of our users. However, most of the data provided by this default app are useless.

When you explore the tool you can see graphs that show you, for example, how many visitors your website has, what the rebound percentage is, how many pages per visit you get, etc. While it may seem interesting to look at all these charts and maps, they are not really providing relevant data for our project.

The bad thing about this type of data is that we do not use them, but they use us. What do I mean by this? Well let’s get carried away by the numbers emotionally: if the metrics go up we remain happy and if they go down we put our hands to the head in despair or anger. They are called vanity metrics.

Vanity Metrics  Vs. Actionable Data

Vanity metrics are data whose only function is to register medals before the boss (if they go well) or justify a dismissal (if they go wrong). They are data that make us feel good or bad as they go up or down, but they do not help us make business decisions.

The downside of Google Analytics is that most of the graphics it displays by default ( especially the most accessible ones ) are ” vanity metrics “.

Some examples of vanity metrics are:
  • Number of visits
  • Number of followers or likes (yes, also applies to Facebook and Twitter)
  • Number of subscribers or customers
  • Sales volume or revenue
On the other hand, we have actionable or metric data that invites action. These are data that will depend on the characteristics of your website and your business. They may even take into account some of the vanity metrics for their calculation, but they will always be in relation to other metrics.
Some examples of actionable data are:
  • Bounce Percentage per Browser
  • Engagement of a Tweet or Post
  • Number of active users
  • Conversion Ratio of a Landing Page
The actionable data are the answers to the experiments that we do both in our Web and in the campaigns of Marketing.

How To Use Google Analytics Correctly

The usual way to use Google Analytics is that you log in to the tool and the graphics tell you what you have to pay attention to.

The approach I propose is that you do it the other way round: ask the questions before and use Google Analytics to get the answer. Then, set up your Web and create the custom reports you need to carry out the necessary experiments and use Google Analytics as a measurement tool.
 Where does my most valuable traffic come from, and how can I get more out of it?
1. The first thing to do is to create a customised report that shows traffic data by source, contrasted with metrics such as the conversion ratio, the value of the objectives and the average value per visit.
2. We then analyse the data in the report. One conclusion that could come out of this analysis is that although we receive much more traffic from Social Networks than from other sources the conversion ratio is very low, while the reference traffic (links from other websites), although it brings few visits, generates much more income.
3. Finally, the action we should take is to stop focusing so much effort on Social Networks (since traffic is of little value) and to promote other sources of traffic more valuable.

 Reports That Contribute Value

The vast majority of reports that are configured by default in Google Analytics do not help us make strategic decisions about our Web or Marketing campaigns. A good analyst must be able to choose what data to display and, above all, to contribute his own conclusions and recommendations.
We should show data about the acquisition (how we attract traffic), behaviour (what the user does after arriving) and results (what impact it has for our business).
In this way, you can focus on growing your online project instead of wasting time analysing data.

About the author

Alex Thomas

I've been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years and have worked with global and local companies on large scale SEO and PR campaigns. In my current role at Breakline, I'm responsible for winning new business, creating, implementing and overseeing SEO campaigns, social communications, online and offline media relations.

By Alex Thomas
Like many other websites, we use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to browse our website, you agree to our use of cookies.