Common Google Analytics Issues.

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Google analytics is a powerful tool that is available, completely free, to anyone and everyone. Once installed, on a basic level it gives valuable insight into data such as how many visitors your site has and how they found it. How these visitors behave on your site, which pages get their attention and which don’t and whether they converted? There is much more beyond this allowing you to drill down and analyse your site and its audience, however to be effective, make sure your data isn’t being skewed by some of the common issues we often see.

In order for Google Analytics to work at all, you must first paste the tracking code onto every page on your site. Common problems include:

Multiple instances of the code

To clarify, this is when there are multiple instances of the code for the same Analytics account. If your bounce rate is very low (<5% or so) then this is a sign that individual visits are being counted more than once - the number of page views will also be artificially high though the number of sessions will be accurate. To check for this, right click on a page on your site and click view source. Then using the find function (ctrl+f or command+f on a mac), search for ‘i,s,o’ or your analytics account ID. This will highlight all versions of the tracking code on the page.

Missing from individual pages

Sometimes, individual pages or groups of pages have the tracking code missing. The most obvious symptom of this can be seen in the ‘referrals’ section of Analytics. If your own website is appearing as a source in the list of referring sites, then this is the most common cause as the tracking of a user is interrupted as Analytics thinks they have left the site. When they continue to browse on to a page containing the tracking code, GA thinks it is a new session. This will also mean that your total number of sessions is inflated.

Spam Traffic

A very common issue (and unfortunately unavoidable) is that of spam traffic. This most commonly takes the form of referral spam whereby spammers send fake hits to your analytics account which shows up in the list of referring sites. It also takes the form of organic traffic with spam referring keywords or language spam, where the language is recorded as being a spam word or phrase. This means that the data in your Analytics account is heavily skewed, usually with poor bounce rates and low time on site.

You can add a filter to block the traffic, however by the time you do this it is usually too late as you can only add them after the attack has begun. Instead, in order to properly analyse data in your account that may have been affected by spam, you will need to build a segment to exclude it.

Incorrect Attribution

In order to properly analyse your traffic, you need to be sure of where your traffic is originating from, whether it’s organic, from paid advertising, social media or another channel. When carrying out paid digital marketing campaigns, including emails, (or any online campaign where traffic is sent to a site from another source), the most common form of tracking is to use UTM tracking, where you add parameters within the URL specifying the source and the campaign. This is then pulled through into Google Analytics allowing you to fully analyse how successful your campaign was.

There are two main problems we see with attribution:

There is no tracking

This means that it is difficult to apportion if traffic has come from your campaign as it will usually be counted as referral traffic or in the case or emails, direct traffic. This means that it will be amalgamated with all the genuine referral and direct traffic. Any ads setup through Google Adwords are automatically tracked, as are most emails sent through email marketing tools, however other ads such as on social media will need UTM tagging added to the URLs.

Inconsistent UTM Tracking

When tagging campaigns, it is important to remember that the data is case sensitive, therefore having one ad as ‘Facebook Ads’ and another advert as ‘Facebook ads’ will result in multiple entries in Google Analytics, again making it difficult to fully analyse all your data.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool but it is dependent on the quality of your data. If you would like any help with your Analytics, feel free to give us a call on 01233 467800 or email hello@sagittarius.agency .

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Sagittarius
sag-author100x100

Sagittarius

07 Jun 2017 - 5 minute read
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