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Don't be fooled: understanding Google Analytics statistics for better data interpretation

27th August 2023

3-minutes read

With the increase in digital marketing activity for businesses, it is more important than ever to understand how to interpret Google Analytics (GA).

Although it's a powerful tool, many people misinterpret its data, which leads to inaccurate conclusions and, potentially, poor decision making.

This article will cover the top five ways people misunderstand GA data and how to get a better understanding of your analytics statistics.

Ignoring data collection settings

One of the biggest mistakes people make when using Google Analytics is to ignore the data collection settings. These settings play a crucial role in ensuring accurate data measurement. If they are not properly configured, your analytics statistics could be misleading and unreliable.

It's important to review and adjust these settings regularly to keep them aligned with your website's goals and objectives. Pay attention to things like filtering options, goals, and eCommerce settings.

By taking the time to understand and optimise your data collection settings, you will ensure that your data is accurate and reliable.

Focusing on vanity metrics

In digital marketing, vanity metrics are tempting!

They're the flashy numbers that make us feel good about our efforts, like the number of social media followers we receive or the number of views our website gets.

But focusing solely on vanity metrics will distract you from the true goals of your business. While these metrics can provide some surface-level insights, they often do not reflect the true impact and success of your marketing efforts. Instead, it's important to dig deeper and focus on things that are more meaningful and more directly tied to your business' objectives.

Shift your focus to metrics such as conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and revenue generated and you will gain a clearer understanding of your true marketing performance. And this, in turn, will help you to make more informed decisions.

The next time you find yourself fixated on vanity metrics, remember to look beyond the numbers and focus on what truly matters for your business's success.

Misinterpreting bounce rates

Bounce rate is an often misunderstood metric in Google Analytics. Many people assume that a high bounce rate is a bad thing, indicating that visitors are leaving your site without taking any further action. While a high bounce rate can be concerning, it doesn't always mean that visitors are uninterested or dissatisfied with your content.

Bounce rates simply show the percentage of visitors who land on a page and then leave without navigating to any other pages on your site or taking some meaningful action on that page.

But this is strongly influenced by various factors such as the type of page, user behaviour and the purpose of your website. For instance, a Contact Us page is likely to have a high bounce rate because visitors looking for a company's contact details will quickly find the information they need and leave satisfied. On the other hand, an eCommerce site may have a lower bounce rate because visitors are navigating through multiple product pages before making a purchase.

To truly understand whether your site's visitors are bouncing too much, you need to analyse your bounce rate in conjunction with other metrics and consider the overall context.

Look at the average time spent on a page, the source of the traffic and the overall user engagement. If visitors spend a considerable amount of time on the page and engaging with your content, you are achieving a good outcome, regardless of what your bounce rate stats may say.

Use bounce rate as a starting point for further analysis rather than relying on it as the sole indicator of success or failure. By interpreting bounce rates correctly, you can gain valuable insights into user behaviour and you will be able to optimise your website accordingly.

Overlooking segment analysis

Segment analysis is a powerful feature in Google Analytics that often gets overlooked. Many people focus solely on overall data and fail to dive deeper into specific segments of their audience. If you don't use segment analysis, you will miss out on valuable insights that can greatly improve your marketing efforts.

Segment analysis allows you to break down your data into specific groups based on demographics, behaviour and other factors. This can help you to better understand how different groups within your overall audience interact with your site and drive the most conversions. By identifying patterns and trends within these segments, you can tailor your marketing strategies to target those people more effectively.

For example, segment analysis can reveal that a particular age group or geographic location is more likely to convert on your website. Armed with this information, you can adjust your messaging and ad targeting to reach these high-performing segments.

Don't overlook the power of segment analysis in GA. By taking the time to analyse and understand your different audience segments, you can make data-driven decisions that will lead to greater marketing success.

Not understanding attribution models

Many people fail to grasp the importance of attribution models and how they impact the interpretation of their data.

Attribution models determine how credit is assigned to different marketing touchpoints that contribute to a conversion. Without a proper understanding of attribution models, you may misjudge the effectiveness of your marketing channels and make incorrect decisions based on incomplete or skewed data.

It's crucial to educate yourself on the various attribution models available in Google Analytics, such as last click, first click, and linear models, and determine which one aligns best with your business goals.

By assigning the most appropriate attribution model to your GA setup, you can accurately attribute conversions to the channels that contributed most towards that success. And this means that subsequent analysis of your Analytics data will result in a truer reflection of how your business operates in its market.

Struggling to make sense of your Google Analytics data? Call Rubiqa today on 01332 331332 to arrange a free chat about we can get your data to work harder for your business

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Jeremy Flight

Jeremy Flight

Technical Director

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