Get started with Google Analytics: three actions you can do today to improve your conversion rates

Get started with Google Analytics
If you're looking for a gentle push to get started with Google Analytics, this beginner-friendly post will get you going. Learn how to customise your configuration and discover insights in hours. Take action that will increase your CRO revenue today.
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If putting away your Google Analytics configuration sounds familiar, this post should help you to get started. You don’t need to be an analytics pro to follow these three quick recommendations. In just a few hours, discover new insights and improve your data collection to help drive higher conversion rate optimisation (CRO) revenue.

I know that setting up your Google Analytics sounds overwhelming – so I’ve created this handy step-by-step guide with three things you can action right now and complete in hours. You can pick just one thing or do all of them in one go.

The guide is aimed at users who already have their Google Analytics installed – but your configuration is close to non-existent or just messy.

Weekly Web Analytics Strategies for Product and Marketing Managers

I picked these specific activities based on what I find lacking in companies’ configurations a lot of the time. These are small set-up gaps that have large knock-on effect on how effective your future analysis will be.

Let’s get started!

1. Find revenue leaks in under-performing browsers

One action that leads to considerable revenue gains is discovering browser-related bugs.

The scenario is common and easy to spot if you know what to look for. With the quick investigation outlined below, you may find out that there are browsers that get traffic but result in very few or no conversions at all, as was the case with one of our clients:

Google Analytics browser conversions

In the report above you can quickly spot the browsers that are under-performing. To get to the report above, go to Audience > Technology > Browser & OS. In the top section of the table table, select the Secondary Dimension “Browser Version” to get a better understanding of potential issues.

Fortunately for this client, the lack of conversions was explained by deliberate differences in functionality for in-app browser experiences. They simply didn’t have Ecommerce features available for visitors using their apps – because these users already had their product. Phew!

That is certainly not always the case! You may discover that one of your browsers is not converting – and when you dig in more, you find out that a dynamic piece of content is not compatible with that particular version.

You should make sure that you don’t suffer considerable revenue losses associated with browser-related bugs. This report lets you quantify the potential business impact, so you can assess the value of fixing the problems.

Once you identify under-performers, test transactions in low-converting browsers to discover bugs. You can use Google Analytics to analyse user journeys and find specific drop-off points for these browsers too to make testing more efficient. Even if you don’t have Ecommerce tracking set up, you can choose your most important goal and see how many conversions each browser generates.

Fixing browser related bugs will have an almost instant positive effect on your revenue and any improvements from testing will be even greater.

And what if you’ve not discovered any inconsistencies? Well, lucky you! That means you’ve not been leaking revenue. Go celebrate!

2. Switch to User-based metrics

Now is time to get dirty! Let’s actually play around with some settings!

Historically, Google Analytics used Sessions to calculate other key metrics, including conversions. However, we know that in many cases, users are likely to visit a website multiple times before making a purchase.

Google Analytics calculates conversions based on transactions per sessions rather than transactions per user, so it makes sense to add a way to measure user-based conversions and revenue as well. You can configure these with custom metrics.

Just head to your Property settings in the admin section. In the list, click Custom Definitions, and then Custom Metrics. In there, add a new Custom Metric using the settings below:

Google Analytics revenue per user custom metric

You can use the new metric to build custom reports that analyse both user and behavioural data.

In addition to this, Google Analytics has a setting that allows you to set your primary metric as Users. This is done in the Property settings section in your admin panel:

Google Analytics user metrics reporting

Enabling this setting arranges all your reports to be focused on Users rather than Sessions to better reflect your audience behaviour. You can make this change without any hesitation as no underlying data is changed. You are also able to undo it if you wish.

Wen it comes to optimising your website, the benefits of making these two small changes are vast as you are now able to make user-focused analysis and measure revenue impact of testing based on users rather than sessions.

3. Apply lowercase filters

My third tip will change your View filters. It can be scary to play with this feature as your data is forever changed from the moment of implementing the new settings. Don’t worry though – there are no negative implications of making the changes I’ll be suggesting here.

Data fragmentation resulting from formatting errors is an all-too-common problem and tends to affect multiple reports. Data relating to the same entries is collected using text written using different cases on different occasions. You may know it’s the same data – but, by default, Google will count each variation as a separate entity. Most commonly, this issue is present with Campaign tags and URLs.

Imagine you’re running a Black Friday campaign across different channels. It’s possible that one person on your team tags a URL:

and another changes the campaign name to start with a capital letter like this:

If you want to analyse the traffic as one campaign later on, e.g. to segment data after running a test, you won’t be able to do it in a straight-forward way.

Another common scenario is having different variations of URLs in your pages report. If you type these paths into your browser, they will show the same pages regardless of case. However, Google Analytics will list them as separate pages – making aggregated analysis difficult.

Worry not – there is a quick fix to change all collected campaign and URL data into lowercase letters using filters. Just follow the guidelines below to add new filters in the Admin section of your Google Analytics account for each view that you want to apply them too. Use the Filter Field to select each field you want the filter to apply to – you’ll have to create a separate filter for each lowercase field.

Google Analytics lowercase filter set-up

Below is a list of fields we usually apply the filter to at Business Ahead. In addition to URLs and Campaign fields, we also apply it to Event fields to ensure as little data fragmentation as possible.

Google Analytics lowercase filters

If you do A/B testing, keeping data aggregated makes it easier to analyse segments to spot potential behaviour differences in groups of users. Keeping events and pages uniform also helps determine the impact of micro conversions (e.g. visiting a page or downloading an asset) on revenue.

Ready to get started with Google Analytics?

I hope you found these tips helpful and easy to follow. These simple steps should give you the confidence to play around with your Google Analytics account more. Why not dig into different reports and play around with what you can see. Unless you’re in the Admin section, you can’t break anything so go wild!

If you don’t feel confident that your Google Analytics is up-to-scratch but want to start with A/B testing and CRO, why not book a call to see what steps you could take?

Join over 500 Product and Marketing Managers in transforming their teams to become data‑driven.​
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