Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you our top five Google Analytics FAILs. These are real life examples that our intrepid Google Analytics support staff have encountered in the line of duty. They are not pretty. You have been warned.
But there's really only one parameter value to use in this situation. One. It's one. The only one is one. Does that make sense?
No? Ok. Well, see the screenshot to the left? That's what you shouldn't use.
First of all, you should never see the utm_nooverride parameter in your Google Analytics reports. Secondly, you should spell it correctly. Third, don't pass "2" as a value. It doesn't work. Just follow Shawn's instructions in his three-part series on using utm_nooverride and you won't FAIL.
Google Analytics can't figure out what you've sold unless you tell it. You need to roll up your sleeves and find the variables that contain a visitor's transaction data. Then pass that data to Google Analytics. It's like a relay race, except you're passing product names and revenue figures.
Place a test order. If you view your receipt page's source code and you don't see the correct order total or the products you purchased (or if your code says you bought a medium green t-shirt), then you've got more work to do.
Hit the jump for three more epic Google Analytics FAILures.
3. Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics Aren't That Close
Yeah, we know that Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer renewed their vows last year and that you can view A/B experiment in Google Analytics. But they're not inseparable. They like their space. They are their own individuals. It's a healthy marriage.
So don't go mistaking your Google Analytics account number with your Google Website Optimizer account number. They may look similar, but you should always be sure to differentiate.
If you get them mixed up, you'll start seeing some pretty odd pageviews in Google Analytics (see right) and your Website Optimizer experiments will tank.
And while GA and GWO live their own lives (are you as sick of this metaphor as I am?), they want to be treated equal. So if you're using a customized Google Analytics script, you may need to make a few changes to your Google Website Optimizer script. Shawn talks about these modifications in detail in his article on installing Website Optimizer if you use Google Analytics, and Jeremy's world-famous Google Analytics Report Enhancer script lets you customize your Google Website Optimizer scripts in the browser before plugging them into your source code. It makes the whole process FAIL-proof.
4. Let Your Visitors Come As They Are
Be a gracious host. If your website's visitors are coming to a page with a redirect, be sure to let Google Analytics figure out where they came from. Otherwise you're going to miss out on the referring site, any keywords they searched for, and whether or not they clicked on one of your ads.
But there's another issue. If you're using Google Analytics link tagging and the query string doesn't move along in the redirect, you're losing valuable intelligence. Make sure the query string shows up on the new page after the redirection. Otherwise: tracking FAIL.
5. You Want to Track Your Website
It might seem pretty obvious to most of you, but when it comes to adding a Google Analytics tracking code to your site, it's very important that you actually track that site's traffic.
Check out the tracking codes below for a site called cheesemongr.com. The site's fake, but these are all FAILs I've actually seen before. Can you figure out why these tracking codes FAIL? Leave a comment and tell us how to fix them.
Google Analytics for Online Advertisers
Here at ROI Revolution, we consider Google Analytics tracking essential for paid search, so it's included in our PPC Campaign Management service.