Google Analytics is a tool with many features. It can be easy to miss a few that can have an effect on your reporting. Before you go running to your dev team, many of them don’t require a developer to take advantage of. Here, we’ll show 10 features you can enable to make a positive impact on your reporting today.
- Bot Filtering: This check box is an easy way to help clean up traffic and improve the accuracy of your reporting. When you turn this setting on, Google will check if incoming hits match any of the bots or spiders from the IAB International Spiders and Bots list and exclude them from your data in Analytics.
- Keeping your Referral Exclusion List updated is incredibly important in preventing sessions from breaking while a user navigates around a family of sites. For example, if you’re an ecommerce site and the checkout flow takes place on a separate domain, the session will break when the user is sent back to the site after the transaction if the exclusion list is not set up properly. With that in mind, it’s common for us to see exclusion lists set up incorrectly, resulting in data that does not truly reflect the customer journey.
- Query parameters will often create fragmentation in GA reports that can make it much more challenging to get an accurate picture of page performance. It increases cardinality in GA’s reports and if it’s severe enough, Google will group rows into an ‘(other)’ row (for more on cardinality read our post on it here). Excluding URL Query Parameters is one of the most common opportunities we see and a great way to make reporting easier to understand.
- We’ll often see clients who have search functionality built into their site, however, they’re not taking advantage of GA’s ability to track the interaction. To turn this on, enable site search tracking in the View admin settings and add the query parameter that’s used to pass search terms into the text box. Once that is configured you will be able to report on site searches in GA and see search terms that your users are searching for under the Behavior section of GA.
- Industry Benchmarking is a great way to compare your data to the data of your industry peers. To enable this feature, navigate to Account Settings and select the industry that best matches in the property settings (screenshot below). It’s important to be aware that by turning this on you agree to let Google use your anonymized data as part of the benchmarking feature. Once that’s completed, you gain access to benchmarking data in the Audience Reports section.
- Remarketing and Advertising Reporting are two features housed under Data Collection in the Property Level Admin Settings. These two features allow the user to gain access to new reports as well as enhanced audience capabilities. They are easily turned on by clicking the corresponding boxes, but make sure to read Google’s policy requirements surrounding the features before doing so.
- Enabling Enhanced Demographics and Interests Reporting is very similar to #6 in that it only requires the flip of a switch. By turning this on, it enables the user to see age, gender, and interest information about the visitors to their sites giving them another level of knowledge into their user base. One note: before turning this on the Advertising Features must be enabled.
- For AdWords users, creating an audience in the property settings can save some time. The Audience feature allows the user to create audiences by linking products like DoubleClick for Publishers, Optimize, or even just an audience in Analytics. This allows you to manage user segments in Analytics to enable a deeper understanding of how they interact with your site.
- For many GA users, knowing how many people visited their site and how they interacted with the site is the most important aspect of Google Analytics. It is as easy as enabling the Users metric in reporting. Once this is turned on, you will see your standard GA reports more focused on user-based metrics.
- While the other entries have been settings to enable to increase or improve the data flowing into GA, this last feature is sort of cheating. Intelligence is a hidden feature in GA that is largely underutilized. Intelligence is a way to find the information you’re looking for in reports faster and more efficiently. It allows you to ask a question to GA and GA will answer it. For example, you can ask Google, “Which pages have the highest bounce rate this week compared to last week?” or “What is the trend of bounce rate by device category?” It’s a versatile tool available to users that can make finding answers in reports much easier.
Although these features may be easy to implement, they can have big impacts on your reporting capabilities. We used the Google Demo Account for most of these screenshots which can be accessed here. If you need any help implementing these features, feel free to contact us!