2019 Updated Guide to Setting Up & Properly Configuring Your Google Analytics Account For Your Inbound Marketing Campaigns & Lead Gen Efforts.

If you’re here, you’ve probably created a Google Analytics account, slapped the tracking code on your website using a WordPress plugin and are trying to figure out what to do now.

You’ve been told that you need analytics and that you have to be measuring something, so you tried out Google Analytics.

The problem with this approach is that every website isn’t the same. Google Analytics gives everyone the exact same defaults, no matter what kind of site you have. What you need for B2B lead gen is totally different from your buddy who runs an ecommerce platform.

Your next step is to try to customize your account for your business needs. Now you get overwhelmed with the sheer number of things you have to go figure out. 

Do we have a site search? How do I track that? What are Google Signals and should I care?

You don’t have time to figure this out, so we decided to cut through all the noise and help B2B marketers set up their analytics accounts in a way that will provide the best data.

Here are 49 google analytics setup configurations & implementation reviews for a rock-solid data collection foundation that you can show off and be proud of to your boss and colleagues.

SECTION I - Account Level Setup & Configurations - 6 Overall Configurations
Account Settings - 3 main Account Settings To Review & Configure 
 
1.    Account Naming Conventions
2.   Account-ID Usage
3.   Data Share Settings
 

 Access / IDs - 3 Main User Management Settings To Review & Configure

4.   Users & Groups 
5.   User Permissions 
6.   How to Audit & Keep Track Of Users and Permissions

SECTION II - Property Level Setup & Configurations - 16 Overall Configurations


Property Settings - View 

7.   Property Naming Conventions 

Basic Settings

8.   Property Name 
9.   Default URL 
10. Default View 
11.  Industry Category 

Advanced Settings 

12.  Allow Manual Tagging 
13.  Review Property Hit Volume 

In-Page Analytics 

14.  User enhanced link attribution
15.  Start In-Page Analytics  

Search Console 

16.  Adjust Search Console 

User Analysis 

17.  Enable User Metrics in Reporting 

Tracking 

18.  Tracking Code 
19.  Data Collection For Google Signals
20. Data Retention 
21.  Session Settings 
22. Organic Search Sources 
23. Referral Exclusion List 
24. Search Term Exclusion List 

SECTION III - View Level Setup & Configurations - 22 Overall Configurations
Basic Settings  
25. View Name
26. Website URL
27. Time Zone
28. Default Page
29. Exclude URL Query Parameter
30. Currency
31. Bot Filtering
Site Search Settings
32. Site Search Tracking
33. Query Parameter
34. Site Search Category
35. Category Parameter
Goals
36. Destination Goal - Form Submission Thank you Page 
Filters
37. Include US Traffic
38. Include Hostname 
39. Exclude Office IP 
40. Lowercase Hostname
41. Lowercase Request URI 
42. Lowercase Site Search Terms
43. Lowercase Campaign Source
44. Lowercase Campaign Content 
45. Lowercase Campaign Medium 
46. Lowercase Campaign Name
47. Lowercase Campaign Term 
48. Advanced - Append Slash To Request URI
49. Search & Replace - Search String Query Parameters
 
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SECTION 1 PART 1 - ACCOUNT SETTINGS



This section is the first part of the setup & configuration for better data collection for your B2B lead gen website.  

In this section, we will be: 

  • Reviewing / auditing your current GA Install
  • Identify common problems with data collection in regards to account setup
  • Implement a standard naming convention for your accounts 
  • Reviewing how to share data results with Google and which boxes to check 
  • Understand how much data travels back and forth to your account and limits 
  • How to configure and validate users & their permissions 
  • As well as how to keep track of those users and how often audit their access. 

Accounts, Properties,  Views configuration for all analytics accounts.

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If you are using Analytics to track a single website, account organization is simple: you will have one account for your website. For setting up Analytics accounts to manage multiple websites, keep in mind the following:

Each Analytics account can have up to 50 properties and each property can have up to 25 views. Contact your support representative if you need more properties or views.

You can grant users view permissions (Manage Users, Edit, Collaborate, Read & Analyze) on:

  • An Analytics account
  • A property under an Analytics account
  • A view under a property


 
Optimization 1  - Account Naming Convention 

Best Practice  - Make the name on Account Name (under Account Settings) represents that of the business and not the actual website.

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Best Practice: Using A Gmail Account To Access Analytics 

Recommended - Use a generic Gmail account to set up Google Analytics (as well as any/all Google products like Adwords, Search Console, etc).  Analytics also uses Google Accounts to authenticate users.

Go here to set up your generic account - Generic Gmail Account Setup

As an example, we use the email address:  JeremySaidMarketing@gmail.com



 
Optimization 2  - Account ID Usage

Document Account ID in Implementation Guide (download here) for future reference. This ID is part of the tracking code that inserted in the source code for your site or app. 

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Optimization 3  - Data Share Settings 

Take time to review the default checkmarks on how Google explains the Data Share Settings.  Decide if you would like to share all your data points with Google or not.  

Consider the security levels of your data when making this decision.  Normally it’s ok to share the data points with Google for product enhancement purposes, however, they do give you the choice. 

The following Data Share Settings Are Available: 

  1. Google Products & Services 
  2. Benchmarking 
  3. Technical Support 
  4. Account Specialists 
  5. Give all Google sales experts access to your data and account, so you can get more in-depth analysis, insights, and recommendations across Google products. (HUH?)


Best Practices - About GDPR 

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/3379636?hl=en&utm_id=ad

Make sure to review and accept the Data Processing Amendment found at the bottom of this section.  After you have accepted, it records the data for you in your account settings. 



Section 1 Part II - Access & Admin Id’s



 
Optimization 4 - Users & Groups

You can add new people to your Google Analytics in two different ways. You can add an individual user or a user group.

User groups are part of Google’s Marketing Platform. According to Google:

“You can assign user groups permissions for the 360 Suite and for individual product accounts within the Suite. Members of a group inherit that group's permissions, and also retain any permissions they have separately.”

You may see a user group used by a digital marketing agency.

Our suggestion is to audit your users and groups quarterly or whenever there is turnover with an agency or marketing team to ensure that all the appropriate people have been added or deleted from your account.



 

Optimization 5 - User Permissions

4 permissions are available that you can apply singly or in combination:

Understanding the different levels of access is important. The chart below defines each access and examples of when you might consider assigning each level. 

ACCESS:

FUNCTIONS PERMITTED:

GOOD FOR: 

Manage

Full Admin permissions.  Add / Delete Users

Business Owners, Marketers &/or Analysts

Edit

Add/Edit/Delete Users.  Manage filters, goals, etc but not manage users

Try to limit access here. Other team leads or supervisors, consultants and/or agencies

Collaborate

Create personal assets & share them, but no user admin access

Good managers or outside team members to see and help with data analysis

Read & Analyze

Can only see reports and configure data points but can not collaborate on shared assets.

Good for C-Suite as well as VP/Director levels. Also good for accountants and auditors outside of your organization


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You can enter a Google associated email into the email field, check the appropriate permission levels,  and choose to notify the user by checking the box and it will send the user an email with the relevant information about accessing your Google Analytics account. 

Best Practice - Change History - Who did it? 

Change history is an important tool in the account settings that allows you to get an idea of how many changes have been made and how recent those changes occurred.  This gives you an inside look at how up to date an account may be in using their analytics in their business.

This can be a red flag for some consultants (like me) telling me that the blatant disregard of their Google Analytics account means they might not have the budget for an analytics and conversion consultant or may not deem it as important as it should be.

On the flip side, this could be a business needing help and a freelancer or digital marketer that’s wanting to go deeper into the technical areas of this industry may use this indicator as an action item to talk about the opportunities this presents for a small business owner and how important measuring their online campaigns are to their marketing success. 



 Example of Change History



 
Optimization 6  - Keeping Track Of Users & Permissions

Best Practice- Documentation Of Users Accessing Your Account

Recommended - Document all users and their access levels and keep inside of your Google Analytics implementation document.  This should be reviewed once a quarter for continued accuracy (depending on your company’s logical access security policy)

Recommended - Set up ID’s under the generic Gmail account that you created earlier as you set up each account that has access to your data. 

Recommended - Remember to assign users with complete discretion at the Account Level.  Anything that is created at the account level will have access to all properties and views created under that account.  Also, consider starting at the view or property level first before assigning access at the account level. 

Best Practices - The Elusive GA Trash Can

Don’t be scared of the trash can, it’s actually your friend. You will find that the trash can is actually a temporary holding area for anything you may want to get rid of or even something you screw up during setup and/or installation.

The trash can is a temporary deletion of a view and/or property and will be held there for 30 days. 

If you decide to delete a property or a view, Google Analytics will give all managers of the account a notification email that this happened.

Be careful if you are setting a Google Analytics up and your customer or manager has manage access already.  They may be concerned if you start deleting everything you created and question if they have the right person for the job.

You can always retrieve anything that you delete within those 30 days, and Google Analytics will even send you a reminder email when something is about to be deleted, just in case you forget about something you discarded and want to retrieve before it’s too late. 

The last item to note about trash is, there are different boxes at the top that allow you to move quickly between account, property or view to find whatever you are looking for.  If you can’t find it right away, you can always use the search function. 

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SECTION II - Property Level Setup & Configurations

This section is the second part of the setup & configuration for better data collection inside of your properties settings that govern what data is collected on the site.  

In this section, we will be: 

  • Reviewing / auditing your property settings defaults and which ones to adjust 
  • Understand which property settings in the property profile to adjust 
  • Which advertising tracking features that you need to manually turn on 
  • The Google Analytics tracking code and what to do with it 
  • Which settings to adjust in regards to data collection & retention
  • Which setting to adjust to ensure sessions coming from domains you own are properly recognized and not categorized as outside referral traffic 

PROPERTY SETTINGS 

Out of the box, Google Analytics allows you to create a new property after you finish setting up the account details.  This is where most marketers go wrong and only setup 1 property.   

Best Practice

Recommendation:  My recommendation is to create 1 to 2  properties when setting up your Google Analytics account (depending on if you have an e-commerce site or not). 

In order to avoid a data disaster and/or what some in the industry call data bankruptcy, it’s imperative that you set up a backup and recovery property first.  This property will be a default property with almost no additional configuration elements added to it. This ensures that you are collecting raw data in one property that doesn’t have filters excluding or including any data sets. This will be a mirrored setup of your analyst property without all the bells and whistles.  

If you take over an account or are hired on as a new inbound marketer and are put in charge of Google Analytics, there are a couple of configurations you will want to make. 

Recommendation: Rename the current property being used to 00, add the name of the website or business, and then in parenthesis, put “original configuration”.  This will be the old analytics or subsetted data that was used before you or your team started. This way you can compare anything you do, with the previous configuration.



 

Optimization 7 - Property Naming Conventions

As a technical marketer or someone that works with Google Analytics daily, there are times where it can be difficult to show value and prove that what you do is valuable to the organization. By creating a new profile, you can always bounce back to that profile to see what was done previously and show how your new numbers are different. 

Main Properties To Set Up 

00 | Name of Account  (Original Configuration Do Not Modify)

01 | Main Admin Analytics Property 

Recommendation: Assuming that your website is tracking one website and is an e-commerce website, the following are the recommended naming conventions and property setups: 

Main Setup If You Have An E-commerce Property 

00 | Name of Account  (Original Configuration Do Not Modify)

01 | Main Admin Analytics Property (Enhanced Ecommerce)

02 | E-commerce (Debug) Property (Test & Development)

There are a few more property setups that might be advantageous to you supporting the account and/or working on the data inside of Google Analytics. 

Recommendation: If you are part of a company that uses an outside inbound agency for help with specific projects or even if you have an agency working on a 12-month contract or month to month retainer.  Whatever the situation may be, it’s always a good idea to setup a new property for each agency that you work with.  

For example, if you have an SEO agency and let's say a social media agency as well, you may want to setup up individual properties for each.  This way, each company can have control over their own configurations, channel differentiation, segments and more. So, now it might look like something of the following: 

Main Setup If You Have An E-commerce Property 

00 | Name of Account  (Original Configuration Do Not Modify)

01 | Main Admin Analytics Property (Enhanced Ecommerce)

02 | E-commerce (Debug) Property (Test & Development)

03 | JeremySaid SEO Team 

04 | ABC Social Media Team 

Recommended: I highly recommend using the numbers as it provides a very easy way to sort the list as you implement the properties.  Furthermore, it will be a tremendous help in finding properties & views very quickly as well as navigating the interfaces efficiently.  

If you have multiple domains, you may want to give each property a more descriptive name while continuing to use the numbers scheme.

Note:  The majority of the time, these properties ID’s will all load (fire)  more than likely on every page. That’s one of the few downfalls to this approach as each and every property will load as a website page loads anywhere throughout the site.  There are some exceptions, but they are rare and can be handled directly through Google Tag Manager. 



 

BASIC PROPERTY SETTINGS

 

Basic Property Profile Settings To Configure

  • Property naming conventions 
  • Default URL and if it needs to be modified 
  • Default view and how you want GA to open each time 
  • Industry & Category 

BASIC SETTINGS


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Advanced Settings - Property Profile

  • Allow manual tagging if you have external ads you are tracking
  • Reviewing property hits & volumes of each (and limits) 

 

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IN-PAGE ANALYTICS
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TRACKING INFO 

 

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Section III - View Level Setup & Configuration

  • View Settings - The 4 Main Views To Setup
    1. 7 Basic Settings to review 
    2. 2 Site Search Settings to review & configure 

 

  • Goals - Don’t Ignore These HUGELY Important Configurations
    1. Most Common lead gen goals to setup 

 

  • Filters - 10 mandatory filters to be installed in the main admin view
    1. The Don’t Get Your GA Hacked Filter 
    2. Forcing all data to lowercase (and avoiding huge future headaches) 
    3. US traffic only vs All Traffic Around The Globe 
    4. Excluding Your IP Address.  Assuming you are a salaried employee, home office, Starbucks, all remote employees and the list goes on & on

VIEW SETTINGS 

Optimization 25 - Number of Views To Set-up or Reconfigure

The 4 main views to set up and/or reconfigure under the view section? 

  1. Unfiltered Profile 
  2. A testing view for all changes and filter testing
  3. A testing profile that is for you and only you. Y our IP address is the only one that will pass data from your browser to the analytics account you are working on. 
  4. The main GA view that you will be working in for analysis.  We usually call it 04 - Main Analyst View
 
Main Views To Set Up
  1.  Unfiltered View (Do Not Modify)
  2.  Sandbox View (Filter Validation)
  3.  Testing View (Analyst IP Only) 
  4.  Master Data View (Production)

 

Basic Settings When Setting Up A New View

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Site Search Tracking

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Goals 

What are Goals?

Goals are conversions, or any action on the website you want a user to take. Establish goals so that these important actions are tracked. 

Determine the top objectives for your site, from submitting a form (and an email address), to asking for a price quote, or buying a product. These are conversions to be designated as goals. 

 

STEP 1 - GOAL SETUP

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STEP 2 - GOAL DESCRIPTION

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FILTERS
And we save the best and often the most difficult configurations for last. However, since we have everything laid out for you in terms of how to configure the goals, how to test them, even how to name them and of course how to implement each one. 

It’s hard to believe, but even though this may very well be close to the top or at the top of the list in terms of importance when setting up your account, often times it’s completely blank when we go to open goals and dig in.  Here is a picture of your goals when you get started: 

00ga

 

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