The integration of the web analysis tool Google Analytics is not particularly difficult. As soon as the tracking code is correctly implemented , the data will be transferred to your Analytics account. However, this is unfiltered data. Spam access and internal access by employees appear in the reports and may falsify your evaluations. You can also receive additional data by linking it to other Google services. In this article you will learn how to set up your Analytics account correctly in order to receive the most reliable data possible.
Structure of the Google Analytics account
There are three hierarchies in your Google Analytics account:
Account> Property> Data View
Each account can contain 100 accounts, each account in turn 50 properties and each property 25 data views. You can make settings on all three levels.
Settings at property level
Reports on Demographics and Interests
You can find more information about this feature in the article “ Demographics and Interests in Google Analytics ”.
Link Search Console
At this point you can also link the Google Search Console (GSC), formerly Google Webmaster Tools, to your property. In this way, you will receive further search engine-related data about your website directly in Analytics. The prerequisite for this is that you have set up the Google Search Console and use the same Google account as for Analytics. Then simply select the right GSC property and the corresponding reports will be available in Analytics. Important: You can only ever link each Analytics Property to a single GSC Property.
In the article “Linking Google Search Console with Google Analytics ” you can find out which advantages the link brings you in detail and how you proceed .
Organic search engines
Not all hits made via search engines are marked as organic search engine traffic by default. This is especially true for small, lesser-known search engines such as Ask. This is also the case for access via search partners such as t-online, gmx or web.de, who get their search results from the Google index. Instead, they are issued as referral traffic. (There is more information on search engines in Germany here .)
You can find more about this in the blog article “Evaluating organic search engines “.
Reference exclusion list
In the referral exclusion list, you can store domains that should no longer be included as referral traffic in the future. Your domain is specified here by default. If that is not the case, you should add it here.
If you use external payment services such as PayPal or have integrated another external service that users switch to during the ordering process, you should also specify these domains here. This enables Google Analytics to correctly assign conversions and e-commerce data.
Link a Google Ads account
If you place Google Ads ads, you should also link your Google Ads account with Analytics. This means that data on your campaigns is also displayed in the Analytics account and you can compare and combine it with the other data.
You can find out exactly how to do this in the article “Linking Google Ads with Google Analytics “.
More Google tools
There are also some other Google tools that you can link to Analytics at this point. These include:
- Google Ads
- Ad Exchange
- Optimize and Tag Manager
- Google Search Console
- Firebase link via an app / web property
With Google Analytics 360 you also have options for linking with:
- Big query
- Display & Video 360
- Campaign Manager
- Search Ads 360
Of course, a link only makes sense if you use these services.
Create and set up data views
By default, a data view is already created in your property. This does not initially contain any filters, which means that all data is received here, including spam access and other accesses that can falsify your evaluations. In order to get the most precise data possible, you can set up additional settings and filters here. It is also generally advisable to use several data views.
Settings at data view level
Also give your URL. For information: The URL that is entered here does not affect the tracking itself. The only decisive factor here is on which pages the tracking code is integrated.
Also adjust your time zone so that you can later carry out analyzes due to peak times on your website.By the way: If you have linked Google Analytics with Google Ads, the time zone selected in Google Ads dominates and overwrites the time zone from Google Analytics. Therefore, when setting up Google Ads, you should make sure that campaigns for different continents are also created in such a way that they can be assigned individually. With Google Ads you can only adjust the time zone once. It is therefore advisable to develop a concept at the beginning that directly includes the correct link with Google Analytics.
You only have to fill in the field standard page if your start page can be called up under the normal URL (e.g. www.luna-park.de) as well as with an appended ending such as index.html, index.php or something similar (e.g. www.luna- park.de/index.html). In this case you enter the appropriate ending here. Analytics then summarizes the data for both URL variants.
You can leave the field for the search parameters empty for now.
Adjust the currency and check the box “Filter out bots”.
You can find out what else you need to consider when setting up site search tracking in the article “Tracking internal search with Google Analytics “.
Create different data views
You should create at least two data views. Depending on what kind of evaluations you want to do, even more.
Raw data view
As soon as your filter applies to a data view, the filtered out data is no longer recorded and is therefore irretrievably lost. To prevent this from happening to you, you should always create a data view that does not have any filters. It serves as a backup in the event that a filter does not work properly somewhere, campaigns were incorrectly linked or for any other reason data no longer comes in completely. You can use the standard data view or create a new one. Under “Settings of the data view” you have the option to rename it directly to “Raw data”. You can still use the normal data view settings here.
Master data view
Here you now have the opportunity to exclude access that is not important for your evaluations. To do this, create appropriate filters. You can find a selection of useful filters below.
More data views
In addition to the master data view, it makes sense to also create data views from which internal accesses are filtered out or a data view in which only internal accesses come in. You can also create data views in which only certain areas of the website are recorded. This depends on how detailed you want to evaluate your data and how your website is structured. Possible views would be for example:
- External access only
- Access to test server / developer environment
- Mobile access only
- Desktop access only
- Website areas for B2B customers only
So that you only record the hits that you want to see, you should set up appropriate filters. Pay attention to the order of the filters. This is crucial. The following filters generally make sense:
A lot of access to your website is not generated by real users, but by bots or faked access. This is ghost spam or referral spam. These accesses falsify your data. Google tries to exclude known spammers, but this is not yet 100% working. Therefore, you should always set up the necessary spam filters.
Instructions can be found in the article: ” Google Analytics Spam Filter: Exclude Ghost Traffic and Referrer Spam “.
Exclude internal access
Another filter that can make sense is the filter for internal access. You usually move around your own website differently than someone else’s. The same applies to your employees. Imagine you have an online shop and your own employees use Google search to find certain products. This completely falsifies your numbers.
Unfortunately, there is no one hundred percent way of doing this. Companies that have their own company IP address can get good values with an IP filter. You can find more about this in the article ” Exclude internal IP addresses “.
It is best to create your own data view for external access. If you are also interested in how your employees move around your website, then also create a data view for internal users. All you have to do is include the internal IP addresses.
Other useful filters
In addition to the filters mentioned above, there are also others that can make your work easier. For example, you have the option of using a filter to ensure that all URLs and information about campaigns are automatically written in lower case. Or if you have many pages with attached parameters that do not change the display of your content, you can cut them off from the URLs so that data for the corresponding pages is summarized here. The same applies to URLs with and without a trailing slash.
Depending on what you want to evaluate, you have many other options here to apply filters and thereby obtain better data.
Simply integrating the tracking code is not enough to receive reliable Google Analytics data. The settings on account, property and data view level in the Analytics account must also be correct and adjusted accordingly. If you consider the points listed above, you already have a good database to start your analysis.
Next, you can think about which actions users should carry out on your site and set up corresponding goals in Google Analytics. Another point is to set up personalized reports and dashboards . Our blog has templates for reports and dashboards that you can download and import into your Analytics account.