GA Tracking: How to set-up and spot data inconsistencies
Data inaccuracies could have a negative impact on your digital marketing strategy and campaigns. If your Google Analytics tracking is set up incorrectly, the data in your dashboard might give a false view of your website’s current performance.
This means that you could be making incorrect forecasts, you won’t know how your campaigns are performing, and your marketing decisions will be based on incorrect data.
Table of contents
- Importance of installing GA tracking code correctly
- How to check if GA tracking code is working
- Spotting data inconsistencies
- How to fit GA errors in tracking
- How to set up goal tracking
Google Analytics (GA) tracking is fairly straightforward to set up, however, it’s also easy to break. Tracking issues can arise when you carry out a website migration, change your website’s code and more. That’s why it’s crucial to get to know the tell-tale signs that your GA tracking isn’t working.
In this guide, we’re going to go through the set-up process for Google Analytics, show how to check Google Analytics is working, and how to spot inconsistencies. This means you can rest easy knowing you’re making the right digital marketing decisions for your business.
The Importance of Installing GA Tracking Code Correctly
It’s likely that the majority of your digital marketing strategy will be informed by Google Analytics data. No matter whether you want to increase your conversion rate, organic traffic or average session duration, GA data can provide you with the information you need to pivot your strategy so that you achieve your goals.
If your tracking code isn’t working correctly, your GA dashboard will show the wrong data, or worse yet, it won’t pick up any data at all. This can give rise to a number of issues, including:
- Incorrect reporting
- Ill-informed decision-making
- Loss of website traffic, sales and revenue
- Reduced conversions
Taking the time to make sure your GA tracking is set up correctly will help you to avoid complications further down the line. It will also help to ensure you’re always making the right decisions for your business and digital marketing strategy.
Setting up Tracking with Google Tag Manager
One common method for adding Google Analytics tracking to your site is through Google Tag Manager. GTM is a tag management system that simplifies adding tags to your website. Instead of adding multiple snippets of code to your website, you can simply apply multiple tags through GTM.
You can use this method with a number of different CMS’. However, you’ll need to add your Google Tag Manager code, instead of your Google Analytics code to your site.
If you add both versions of code, this can cause tracking issues on your site, resulting in an unnaturally low bounce rate reporting in GA. Therefore, it’s essential to pick one method and install Google Analytics tracking correctly to prevent data inconsistencies.
If you use WordPress, you’ll need to install Tag Manager on your site first. To do this, you’ll need to:
- Login to Google Tag Manager and copy your tracking code
- Install the Insert Headers & Footers plugin & activate it
- Go to Settings > Insert Headers & Footers
- Paste your Tag Manager code into the header section
To install Tag Manager on Shopify, you’ll need to:
- Log into Shopify
- Go to Online Store > Themes > Actions > Edit Code
- Select Theme.liquid and paste your Tag Manager code after the opening of the <head> tag
To install Google Tag Manager on Magento, you’ll need to:
- Login to Magento
- Go to Admin, then click Stores > Settings > Configuration
- Go to Sales then select Google API
- Go Google Analytics > Enable ‘Yes’ > Account Type ‘Google Tag Manager’
- Enter your Google Tag Manager ID in the ‘Container ID’ field
- Save your new settings
Installing Google Tag Manager on Squarespace is easy. To do this, you’ll simply need to:
- Login to Squarespace
- Go to Settings > Advanced > Code Injection
- Paste your Tag Manager code after the opening of the <head> tag and in the footer
To install Google Tag Manager on a Wix site, you’ll need to:
- Login to Wix and go to Site Integrations
- Go to Google Tag Manager > Connect > Connect Google Tag Manager
- Enter your Google Tag Manager Container ID
- Save your settings
Once you’ve correctly installed Tag Manager on your site, you’ll need to set up the Universal Analytics tag. Follow the steps below to do this:
- Go to your Workspace Overview and click > new tag
- Choose Tag Configuration > Universal Analytics
- Choose your Tag Type (use Page View if you want to track website traffic, or you could use Event if you want to track specific interactions such as button clicks)
- Select a Google Analytics settings variable, or you can create a new one
- Select a Trigger that will make your tag fire
How to install Google Analytics on WordPress, Shopify, Magento & more
If you’re a beginner wondering how to set install GA tracking on your website, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together step-by-step instructions for installing GA tracking code on some of the most popular CMS’ below.
There are a number of different ways to add GA tracking to a WordPress site. Generally speaking, however, you can use a WordPress plugin, or insert the code manually.
You can use any of the following plugins to add GA to your website:
Alternatively, you can add the tracking code manually by:
- Logging into WordPress backend
- Click Appearance then > Theme
- Copy your GA code directly after the opening of the <head> tag
It’s easy to install Google Analytics on Shopify, as they have an integration that allows you to add your tracking ID without changing your sites’ code.
To do this:
- Login to Shopify
- Click Online Store then > Preferences
- Add your ID to the Google Analytics account field
- Save your settings
To install Google Analytics on Magento 2, you’ll need to:
- Login to Magento
- Click Stores > Settings > Configuration
- Then go to Sales > Google API
- Select ‘Yes’ in the enable tickbox
- Add your Google Analytics ID to the account number field
- Save your settings
According to Wix, you can only add Google Analytics to your site if you’ve connected your Wix site to a domain purchased from another provider.
To add your tracking code, you need to:
- Go to the ‘Marketing Integration’ section in the backend
- Select ‘Google Analytics’ then click ‘connect’
- Select ‘Connect Google Analytics’ in the top right corner
- Enter your Google Analytics ID
- Tick ‘IP Anonymization’
- Save your new settings
To add Google Analytics to Squarespace, you need to:
- Log into Squarespace and click ‘Settings’ then > ‘Advanced’
- Select ‘External API keys’
- Add your tracking ID to the Google Analytics Account Number field
Read our top Google Analytics tips for beginners to find out how to make the most of the tool…
How to Check if Google Analytics Tracking is Working
There are a few different ways to test your GA tracking and make sure it’s working. We’ve listed some of the most common methods below.
Use the Tag Assistant Chrome extension
This add-on will do the hard work for you and show you whether your tracking code is working properly. Even better yet, it’s made by Google themselves so you know it’s trustworthy.
All you need to do is:
- Download the add on from the Chrome store
- Click the add-on and make sure ‘Google Analytics’ is checked
- Click ‘Done’
- Head to your site and click ‘Enable’ and refresh the page
Manually check the code
You can also view the source code of your website to manually look for your tracking code:
To do this:
- Head to your website, right-click and select ‘view source code’ or ‘view page source’
You should be able to see the tracking code after the <head> tag. If you can’t it’s likely that your analytics code is missing from your site.
Check real-time web traffic data
You can also check that your GA tracking data is working properly within the tool itself.
All you’ll need to do it:
- Log into analytics
- Head to Insights then > Reports then > Real-time
If you find that there are active users on your site, your tracking code is working as normal.
Spotting Data Inconsistencies
If your data doesn’t look right, there could be issues with your tracking code. The ‘right’ data is likely to vary from website to website, however, there are a few general signs that will tell you that there are issues with your website analytics.
Your bounce rate is very low
In general, bounce rates between 60% and 80% are rather common. Of course, this will vary slightly between websites. So if your bounce rate has dropped drastically, or it has fallen to single digits, it’s more likely that there’s something wrong with your tracking code.
- Multiple instances of the same GA tracking code installed with the same property ID (double tagging)
- Poor migration to Tag Manager & analytics
- E-commerce hits are firing together with a pageview
Your e-commerce data isn’t showing in a particular view
You can set up e-commerce tracking within GA to view and analyse data relating to purchases made on your website. If your data isn’t showing when this is enabled, there could be an issue with your tracking.
- Looking at the wrong view in analytics
- The code snippet wasn’t installed in the right property
Your page views are too high or too low
Looking at your page views and traffic is a quick way to see whether something is wrong with your tracking. Any unexpected increases or decreases in your traffic could indicate there’s a problem with your site.
- You’re using old code
- Your tracking code is incorrect or missing
- You’re using the wrong filters
How to Fix Google Analytics Errors in Tracking
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to fixing analytics errors. Sometimes the fix is simple, however, in other cases, you may need to enlist the help of a web developer to get to the root of the problem.
Google Analytics errors could result in a lot of wasted time, money and resources, so it’s important to get them resolved as quickly as possible. To help, we’ve listed some of the most common errors and their solution below:
Problem: Missing Google Analytics code
- Install Analytics through Tag Manager or Google Analytics again
- Add Google Analytics code manually
Problem: Your page views/traffic is too high or low
- Install the latest version of GA tracking code
- Remove multiple instances of the same code in the same property
- Make sure you’re using the right tracking code
Problem: Your bounce rate is too low
- Make sure Google Tag Manager code hasn’t been installed alongside GA code
- Make sure your pop-ups or chat windows are not triggering analytics
How to set up goal tracking
Google Analytics’ goal tracking is an incredibly useful tool that will help you to dissect your data even further and learn more about your website visitors.
Website goal tracking can help you to:
- Improve your conversion rate
- Improve your UX
- Find out what’s blocking conversions
- Identify areas of weakness
- Find out which products or services are the most popular
- Make more informed decisions about your digital strategy
Types of goal tracking in GA
There are 4 different types of goals to choose from in Google Analytics. We’ll go through these in more details below.
A specific location/URL load e.g. Thank you page
Sessions that last for a specific amount of time e.g. 5 minutes or longer spent on a help site
Pages per visit goals
When a user visits a pre-defined number of pages or screens
One of your events has been triggered e.g. Ad click, button click, social share etc.
Whilst all goals are useful in one way or another, you don’t want to overcomplicate your data by tracking too many goals. The options you choose will largely depend on the nature of your business, and what you want to improve.
For example, if you want to improve your customer service, you may set a duration goal of 5 minutes on an FAQ page to find out if your page answers users’ questions easily. Or if you’re an e-commerce business, you may set up an ‘add to cart’ event goal to find out how many users are dropping off at this stage of the buyer journey.
If you’re new to goal tracking, not to worry. We’re providing our tips on how to set up some of the most popular goal types below.
How to set up destination tracking
If you want to track the number of website visitors that view a certain URL, you can use destination goal tracking. To set this up in Google Analytics, you’ll need to:
- Copy the request URI of the URL you want to track e.g. If the URL you want to track is “www.candidsky.com/thank_you” the request URI would be “/thank_you”. You don’t need to include the full URL.
- Log into Google Analytics, go Admin > Goals > New Goal
- Use the ‘place an order’ goal template (you can choose another option if you’re tracking a different type of destination)
- Go to Goal Details > Destination “equals to” > and add your request URI
- (Optional) Toggle the Funnel function ‘on’, to add other destination URLs that you want to track before your users check out. This will help you with your funnel visualisation
- Verify your goal – This will use your existing data to calculate a conversion rate for your goal. If this is incorrect, it’s likely that there has been a mistake in setting up your goal
- Save your new settings
How to set up phone call and email tracking
You can also use Google Analytics for phone call tracking and email tracking. To set up phone call tracking in Google Analytics, you’ll need to:
- Set up call extensions and call reporting in your Google Ads account
- Set up your actions for phone call conversions in Google Ads
- Define your call length – This is what will define a conversion in Google Analytics
- Add your conversion tracking tag to your site
- Check your code is working
On the other hand, if you want to set up email tracking in Google Analytics, you’ll need to:
- Create a trackable URL for your email – This will need to include specific parameters to ensure it’s tracked correctly in GA
- Turn your trackable URL into an image
- Send a test email
How to set up custom event tracking
If you find that an event you want to track is not on the pre-defined list in Google Analytics. You may need to set up tracking for a custom event. Fortunately, this is relatively straightforward.
To do this, you’ll need to:
- Choose your event conditions. This includes setting the Category, Action, Label and Value
- Integrate these goal settings with the click event on your site (this involves adding the relevant code to your site
- Test your event tracking
How to set up HubSpot tracking
If you have a HubSpot website or blog, you can track this within Google Analytics too. To do this:
- Login to HubSpot and go to > Settings
- Go to Website > Pages
- Choose the right domain > go to Integrations
- Select the Integrate to Google Analytics checkbox and enter your GA tracking ID
- Save your settings
Need a hand with your GA tracking and data analysis?
Here at CandidSky, we have all the tools you need to help you extract the maximum possible value out of your Google Analytics data.
If you’re not seeing the results you need, why not book a discovery call with our team to see what could be improved? Get in touch today to learn more.