5 Things You Should Be Doing In Google Analytics, But Probably Aren't

June 12, 2012

Last Friday I gave a talk on Getting Analytical with Google Analytics at the Netroots Nation event in Providence. Here is a summary (with links to resources) for those that attended or could not make it.

If the way you use Google Analytics is to just look at general traffic trends in the Visitor Overview area, you’re seriously under utilizing the abilities of this tool. Here are 5 things you should definitely be doing in Google Analytics right this minute!


Accurate data is one of the most important starting points for the person serious about doing data analysis. Profiles are the best way to segment out different types of traffic. Here’s a great example, what happens if you have an organization where everyone’s browser opens to your homepage by default?

Well mix your internal numbers:

With your external numbers:

And you’ll get a really skewed number of your true engagement! So before you do anything else, create two new profiles with just internal and just external traffic! ALWAYS REMEMBER TO KEEP AT LEAST ONE COMPLETELY UNFILTERED PROFILE! Also consider adding profiles for different portions of your site if they bring completely different types of traffic (Blog vs Non-Blog for example).

Read more about Profiles in Google Analytics

Campaign Tagging

I saw a lot of people handing out a lot of flyers at NN12, but none of them were measuring the success of this labor intensive marketing! Campaign tags are the best way to track this, which I already wrote about a lot on the Netroots Blog.

Goals – Everyone Has Some

Goals are not just for E-Commerce sites, some examples you can setup if you don’t sell widgets:

  • Lead Generation – They contacted you
  • Knowledge Base – Did someone find the content they were looking for?
  • Content – People looked at lots of pages
  • Engagement – People spent a lot of time on your site
  • Events – Someone watched a video or Liked a post

Goals are important, because once you add them in Google Analytics, you’ll be able to relate almost any Dimension of data to those goals, so you can see exactly what referring sources, search engines, and content provide the most value to your organization.

For more about setting up goals check out the Google docs


Speaking of Events. You know what pages people are visiting on your site, but do you know if they are actually spending time watching those cool videos you made? Are they watching the whole thing? That’s what Events are perfect for.

Intelligence Alerts

Sure, you love data. But would you be able to identify that your traffic from Texas spiked 230% on August 1st unless you were looking for it? Intelligence Alerts finds you insights that would otherwise be pretty hard to detect, you can find these under the Home tab of Google Analytics.

Thanks to Netroots Nation for having me!