Web Analytics Playbook

Play 4: Configure your tool’s settings carefully

You’ve probably seen the acronym: GIGO, or Garbage In, Garbage Out. If your data are garbage in (not consistent or incorrect) when it comes into your reporting tool, then no matter how good your strategy or reporting structure, the data will inherently be garbage out as well.

Reports are only as good as the data collection behind them. Configuring your analytics tool is a crucial but often overlooked part of an analytics program’s overall success. Be cautious when you configure your tool to maximize insights and minimize garbage.

Checklist:

  • Learn what all the configuration options do (e.g., don’t accidentally click boxes to share data with third parties)
  • Discover how others have done it; there are plenty of examples online
  • Incorporate unique aspects of your site’s structure or taxonomy in the configuration
  • Put specific structural settings or filters in place that will help your strategy
  • Keep a view with no filters as a “raw data” backup
  • Preserve (or enhance) data privacy with your choices

Key Questions:

  • Should we enable IP address anonymization?
  • Have we configured our site search parameter to correctly record search terms?
  • Did we create a raw data view, a test view, and a production view?
  • Should we enable options to automatically remove bot traffic?
  • Do we need a filter to specify which domains send traffic to this tool?