Google Analytics

Setup Basic Analytics with Google Tag Manager – Part One

Back in February (2017!?) I started a new series of blog posts about Google Tag Manager – A Digital Marketers Best Friend. This will be a basic introduction on how to get it set up and connected up with your basic Google Analytics.

I’m going to break this post down into a few parts as follows:

  1. Setup a Google Account
  2. Sign up for Google Analytics (GA)
  3. Sign up for Google Tag Manager (GTM)
  4. Create your first Google Analytics property
  5. Create your first Google Tag Manager container
  6. Link the two together
  7. Test and Publish your GTM container

The first three of those I’m not going to cover in detail as I’m sure you’re all able to create your own Google accounts. Once you’ve created a Google account, either using your own email address,  or creating a new gmail account you can then sign up for Google Analytics and sign up for Google Tag Manager.

Creating your first Google Analytics Property

When you create your GA Account, it will also create your first GA Container for you but there are a few settings I’d recommend updating straight away.

Account Setup

  • I always update the Property and View names to include the URL, for example so its easy to find later in the accounts list.
  • You need to choose an Industry Category, this is really useful for looking at benchmarking against your peers within GA reports.
  • You want to choose the most relevant reporting time zone for your website, in my case UK and GMT +1 to account for DST.
  • I recommend you tick all of the Data Sharing Settings under the time zone settings as this allows for better support from Google and for the benchmarking mentioned earlier.

Upon clicking Get Tracking ID at the bottom of this page you’ll need to accept the T&Cs to be able to proceed. I’d recommend reading these through at least once so you get an understand of how Google is using your data. After that you are all set and will be presented with the basic GA tracking code. For many users this would be the end of the setup process and either they or their web developers would insert this code in their website and you’d have basic analytics up and running in less than 15 minutes.

I believe that data and analytics are some of the most valuable assets a business can have when it comes to continual improvement of their digital channels and because of this, I like to get things set up well the first time I do it so we have a good foundation to build from. This requires a few more steps as outlined below.

  • Go into your GA Account Settings tab, here I’d recommend ticking all of the Data Sharing Settings if you haven’t done so already. You’ll also need to review and accept the Data Processing Amendment at the bottom of this page, before clicking the save button right at the bottom.
  • Next up, we’ll review the GA Property Settings tab. Make sure your Default URL is correct and you’ve set http or https, chosen a Default View (usually a filtered view), the most relevant Industry Category, selected to use enhanced link attribution and ticked Enable Users Metric in Reporting.
  • After you’ve checked your Property Settings, you’ll want to go into Tracking Info – Data Collection and either select demographics and interests or better yet, enabled Data Collection for Google Signals as this gives much better data.
  • Under Data Retention, unless your business has a specific data protection policy defining this, I usually extend this out to the max – Don’t automatically expire. I also do the same for Session Settings and extend out to 24 months under Campaign timeout.
  • Last but not least is your View Settings. You should always have at least two views – no exceptions. One filtered, One raw. As Filters can never be undone, its always worth keeping a completely unfiltered view as a backup. In the filtered view, you’d usually filter the bots, add site search tracking settings, timezone and currency too.
  • You’ll want to make sure you’ve configured your Goals under this view or Ecommerce Settings if you’re an online retailer. The filter I always add is to exclude my office IP address from this view as I’m likely to repeatedly visit my own site (maybe not so true of late….) and don’t want me skewing the data.
  • One of my favourite filters to add other than this has to be ‘How to Consolidate All m/lm/ Referrals for Better Reporting in Google Analytics‘ by Carlos Escalera Alonso, its great for merging messy Facebook referrals into one line in reports and the same can be achieved for other channels with a few tweaks.

In Setup Basic Analytics with Google Tag Manager – Part Two, I’ll cover how to setup the Google Tag Manager part.

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