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Google Analytics Fast Start – 10 mistakes to avoid

The top 10 setup and usage mistakes to avoid when using Google Analytics

Why do I need this guide?

Most digital marketers have used Google Analytics and many have a good, basic understanding of how Google’s ubiquitous web analytics service can inform and improve their digital marketing.

However, like any complex system, there are better ways and wrong ways to implement, configure, optimize and extend it and many more ways to review the reports and insights contained within the average Google Analytics account.

This guide in the Smart Insights ‘Fast Start’ series gives you a checklist of issues to review to improve your implementation. It brings together a series of common mistakes which we have seen made by both experienced and new Google Analytics alike, grouped into 10 easily identifiable areas.

This is not a “how to guide” but it is a reasonably advanced breakdown of key misunderstandings and configuration issues as well as opportunities for anyone’s Google Analytics. For the detailed “how to” best practices, we recommend the Smart Insights’ premium members resources in the Google Analytics Toolkit in the members’ areas including the Google Analytics setup audit.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for any business setting up or using Google Analytics, and will help people with different roles in the business optimize their use of analytics to deliver better results for their site. Alongside the relevant Smart Insights resources, it will help:

  • Marketing managers and directors review the suitability of their setup to drive performance since they will know the smart questions to ask their agencies, consultants or internal specialists
  • Owners and marketing managers in smaller businesses who need to set up Google Analytics themselves
  • Analytics specialists in agencies and consultants review how they advise clients on setting up Google Analytics

So, it is designed for people who are already familiar with the basics of Google Analytics, but not yet experts in it. It will be helpful for those using Google Analytics for their own SME/SMB, or for those in larger organizations who want to understand how to use GA better.

What does this guide contain?

The guide is designed as a checklist to help members optimize their use of Google analytics quickly. It gives 10 mistakes to avoid with many different issues identified in each, so serves as a checklist for those just starting out with the platform. For a more advanced guide that goes into more details and provides best practice advice, you will need our 7 Steps Google Analytics guide.

Latest updates

This content has been updated with links through to our newest resources to ensure you have the help you need to implement the best practices advice for using Google Analytics.

Resource Details

About the author

Matt Trimmer

Matt TrimmerMatt Trimmer is Principal Consultant & Managing Director of ivantage – a specialist training company for digital professionals. He enjoys training in Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Search Engine Optimisation very much because of the ‘wonderful and interesting’ people he meets and technologies he comes across. Matt is one of the world’s leading experts in Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Search Engine Optimisation and Digital Marketing and travels all over the world educating and enlightening digital professionals. Additionally, he became a Google Seminar leader in 2009, listed on with only 14 others authorised to train exclusively for Google’s Seminars Success programme.

You can connect with Matt via LinkedIn and follow on Twitter

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