Understanding how to set up your Google Analytics tracking is integral to finding out important information for your website. Having a full comprehension of those visiting your site informs you about what is performing well on your site. Knowing how long people stay on your website’s pages, when the optimum visiting time is, what purchases are made, and who is even subscribing to your newsletter are crucial factors in determining how you can improve your website. 

Google Analytics tracking ensures that you are able to measure metrics and build upon the user experience for your site. There are different ways to set up your Google Analytics tracking and we discuss nine separate ways that help you get the most out of Google Analytics. 

1. Set Up Your Google Analytics Tracking: Install a Tracking Code

Possibly one of the simplest ways to ensure Google Analytics tracking is to set up a tracking code. This is done by copying the Javascript code and adding it to the header of your website. Most CMS platforms will host plugins that can be installed to allow for this or they will have a section that you are able to lift this from. 

Once you have the code, all that needs to be done is to copy and paste it into your Google Analytics account ID. This will ensure that your website is tracking data and you will be able to utilise that information.

2. Set up Google Tag Manager

If you want fine metrics and want to develop your skills in Google Analytics tracking, then making use of Google Tag Manager is imperative to specific results. Google Tag Manager offers a variety of options over how you track your metrics and if you want to target something specifically. 

set up your Google Analytics tracking

Google Tag Manager allows users to capture real-time website traffic. Its variety is what makes it so attractive. It can track things like clicks, downloads, bounce rates, video watch, form submissions amongst other things. You are also able to use evolved event tracking which allows you to set goals in Google Analytics and even conversion events in Google Ads. 

3. Use Google Tag Assistant 

Considered a debugging tool, Google Tag Assistant is a plugin that ensures you have installed Google Analytics correctly on your website. It enables you to view what tracking codes are installed on your website and if they are working efficiently. Tag Assistant is effectively a great way of testing tracking on your site. 

4. Set Up Google Analytics Tracking: Cross-Domain Tracking 

Using cross-domain tracking corroborates your data. Setting it up through all your website properties also confirms if attributions are working correctly and that data is being correctly collected. 

By opening up your Realtime report within Google Analytics, make sure you are tracking yourself as well, as this can influence your data. 

5. Develop Goal Tracking 

A critical feature in Google Analytics is goal tracking. Goals remind you not to simply focus on your website’s traffic but to take into account the variety of metrics that ensure your business success, translating data into sales. 

One method that guarantees that you witness results on your page is setting up conversion goals on your landing page. Understanding this data will warrant whether you can keep your page the same due to successful conversions from the content or whether you need to rethink and redevelop what you are offering on that landing page. 

Understanding the needs of your site is crucial for a successful website. Knowing what to track and what is beneficial to your business is important in how you utilise Google Analytics. If you have an eCommerce site, you will want to see conversions happening on your pages. If you have a blog that is working with affiliates, you’ll want to see high click-through rates. Once you have established your tracking goals, you will be able to use Google Analytics effectively. 

6. What Are Your Key Performance Indicators? 

Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are subjective to every business. They determine how you view success for your site and what it offers. Defining these at the early stages of setting up Google Analytics tracking guarantees that you are receiving data that is relevant to your business needs and goals. 

Working out your KPIs helps measure conversion goals, the parts of your business that you want to report on, and helps you prioritise what you need to be measuring to establish your site and bring traffic to your business. 

7. Develop Custom Views and Filters 

An important part of Google Analytics tracking is views and filters. Having multiple views under each Google Analytics property with specified filters ensures that you have realistic data that actually solves problems and helps you accurately assess your website’s content and what needs to be resolved if a particular page isn’t performing well. 

Having a Raw Data View that contains no filters or IP exclusions allows you to have a space to return to if you make a mistake with other views.

When developing views, ensure that you have a Master View built into your Google Analytics tracking. This is a perfect way of seeing an untouched view and helps record historical data without any filters. 

Using a Test View is a great way of trialling out different filters to see what works best for your business before creating a new view. From here, you’ll be able to use a view to test filters to help you configure data and hone in on particular statistics that you may require from your tracking. 

admin page google analytics
The Admin Page allows you to customise views and filters to get precise data.

8. Remove Unnecessary Traffic 

Everyone wants clear and concise data or information, so ensuring that you have filtered out any unnecessary traffic is crucial to clear tracking. Creating filters to remove traffic from bots and crawlers enables a clear picture of your data, helping you make informed decisions from the traffic that is accurate. 

When using Google Analytics tracking, you want to be considering real visitors who can influence lead generation or conversions, not bots that have no actual monetary value for your website. 

9. Curate Custom Reports in Google Analytics

Creating custom reports with specific data filtering helps you gain insight into different types of traffic. Understanding the variety of visitors to your site helps you understand your target audience or broaden your marketing efforts to those who you may not have considered as potential customers. 

Using Audience Data can help you curate custom reports. Within this section, you can click through Interests and Overview to generate three interest reports in In-Market Segments, Affinity Categories, and Other Categories. It is in these segments that you are able to gain greater insight into your audience and how you can best market your product or service to them. 

Image of Google Ads Set Up Analytics Page
You should monitor your Google Ads Analytics to continually improve and optimise

GDPR and Data Privacy Compliance in Google Analytics Setup:

While setting up Google Analytics to track website traffic provides valuable insights, it’s crucial to remember data privacy regulations, particularly if your website caters to users in the European Union (EU). Here’s what you need to know about GDPR and data privacy compliance in Google Analytics:

1. Understanding GDPR:

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the EU. It outlines how businesses can collect, use, and store personal data, giving individuals control over their information.

2. Does Google Analytics violate GDPR?

While Google Analytics itself isn’t inherently illegal, using it without proper GDPR compliance can lead to hefty fines and legal repercussions. This is because website analytics often collect personal data, such as IP addresses, location information, and user behavior, which falls under GDPR protection.

3. Key GDPR compliance steps for Google Analytics:

  • Transparency and Consent: Obtain explicit and informed consent from users before collecting any data through Google Analytics. This means clearly explaining what data is collected, how it’s used, and providing options for users to opt out or withdraw consent.
  • Legal Basis: Choose a lawful basis for data processing under GDPR. For Google Analytics, the most common options are consent or legitimate interest. Ensure your chosen basis aligns with your purposes for data collection.
  • Data Minimization: Only collect the minimum amount of data necessary for your analytics purposes. Avoid collecting sensitive data (e.g., health information, political opinions) unless strictly necessary and with explicit consent.
  • Data Security: Implement robust security measures to protect user data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction. This includes encrypting data, using strong passwords, and regularly updating software.
  • Data Retention and Deletion: Define clear data retention policies and stick to them. Only store data for as long as necessary for your legitimate purposes and delete it securely when no longer needed.
  • User Rights: Respect users’ right to access, rectify, erase, and restrict processing of their personal data. Provide clear avenues for users to exercise these rights.

4. Additional Recommendations:

  • Use anonymization techniques like IP anonymization and user-level data deletion whenever possible.
  • Consider integrating Google Analytics with a Consent Management Platform (CMP) to streamline consent collection and management.
  • Regularly review your Google Analytics settings and configuration to ensure GDPR compliance.
  • Consult with a data protection professional if you’re unsure about specific requirements or have complex data collection practices.

Remember: GDPR compliance is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix. Staying informed about updates and adapting your setup as needed is crucial.

Security Considerations in Google Analytics:

While Google Analytics is a valuable tool for website owners, it’s crucial to remember it collects data, some of which might be considered personally identifiable information (PII). This necessitates implementing security measures to protect user privacy and prevent unauthorized access or misuse of data.

Here are key security considerations:

1. IP Anonymization:

  • What it is: This feature masks a portion of a user’s IP address, making it more difficult to identify individuals.
  • Why it’s important: Anonymized IP addresses reduce the risk of PII exposure and potential privacy violations. It’s crucial for GDPR compliance within the EU.
  • How to implement: Enable IP anonymization within your Google Analytics settings.

2. User Consent:

  • What it is: Obtaining explicit permission from users before collecting their data through Google Analytics.
  • Why it’s important: User consent builds trust and transparency, and is mandatory under regulations like GDPR.
  • How to implement: Provide clear, easy-to-understand information about data collection and offer a clear opt-out mechanism. Consider using a Consent Management Platform (CMP) for streamlined consent management.

3. Data Encryption:

  • What it is: Utilizing algorithms to convert data into an unreadable format, protecting it from unauthorized access.
  • Why it’s important: Encryption safeguards data during transmission and storage, minimizing the risk of interception or breaches.
  • How to implement: Google Analytics automatically encrypts data in transit between your website and its servers. Ensure your website uses HTTPS to further secure data transmission.

4. Access Control:

  • What it is: Limiting access to Google Analytics data to authorized personnel only.
  • Why it’s important: Restricting access prevents unauthorized modification or misuse of data.
  • How to implement: Assign different access levels within Google Analytics based on user roles and responsibilities. Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication.

5. Regular Updates and Maintenance:

  • What it is: Keeping Google Analytics and website software up-to-date with the latest security patches and fixes.
  • Why it’s important: Updates address vulnerabilities and security flaws often exploited by attackers.
  • How to implement: Automate software updates whenever possible and actively monitor for new updates and patches.

6. Regular Security Audits:

  • What it is: Periodically evaluating your Google Analytics setup and website security measures for vulnerabilities.
  • Why it’s important: Audits identify potential weaknesses and allow for proactive solutions before breaches occur.
  • How to implement: Conduct regular security audits or consider hiring a professional security consultant for in-depth evaluations.

Remember: Security is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix. Staying vigilant, implementing necessary measures, and adapting your approach based on evolving threats are essential for protecting user data and maintaining trust.

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Google Analytics Setup and Tracking:

Setting up and maintaining Google Analytics tracking can sometimes lead to errors and unexpected behavior. Here are some common issues and troubleshooting steps to get your tracking back on track:

1. Tracking Code Not Working:

  • Double-check placement: Ensure the tracking code is placed correctly between the <head> and </head> tags on every page you want to track.
  • Verify code accuracy: Look for typos or missing characters in the tracking code snippet.
  • Test using the Tag Assistant: Utilize the Google Tag Assistant browser extension to verify if the code is firing correctly.
  • Clear browser cache and cookies: Sometimes cached data can interfere with code execution. Clear your browser cache and cookies and try again.

2. No Data Showing Up:

  • Wait for processing: Allow some time for data to be collected and processed. It can take up to 24 hours for data to appear in your reports.
  • Check filter settings: Verify that no filters are excluding the data you expect to see.
  • Review view settings: Ensure you’re looking at the correct view where your website data is collected.
  • Check website traffic: Make sure your website is actually receiving traffic. Use tools like Google Search Console to analyze website traffic sources.

3. Goals Not Tracking Conversions:

  • Verify goal configuration: Ensure goals are set up correctly with the specific URLs, events, or values you want to track.
  • Test goals with the Goal Funnel Visualization: Use this tool to identify where users drop off in the conversion funnel.
  • Check for conflicting settings: Review other filters or settings that might interfere with goal tracking.

4. Internal Traffic Showing Up:

  • Filter out your IP address: Use a filter to exclude your own IP address from website traffic data.
  • Create separate views: Consider setting up a separate view for internal testing purposes and excluding it from main reporting.

5. Data Discrepancies with Other Analytics Tools:

  • Understand different methodologies: Different analytics tools might use slightly different tracking methods, leading to minor discrepancies in data.
  • Compare timeframes: Ensure you’re comparing data for the same time periods in both tools.
  • Review data sources: Double-check if both tools are tracking the same data sources (e.g., website vs. app).

Why You Should Set Up Your Google Analytics Tracking

Google Analytics tracking is a great way of ensuring that your marketing efforts are not in vain. Understanding your audience and demographics, being able to filter out unnecessary traffic and focus on clear, raw data can help you grow your business and change lead gens into conversions. With that in mind, installing Google Tag Manager into your site can help you make informed decisions and improve the content of your site and thus your conversion rate.

Future of Google Analytics: Migrating to GA4

The world of website analytics is constantly evolving, and Google Analytics is no exception. To stay ahead of the curve, understanding the “future” and adapting accordingly is crucial. Here’s a brief overview of the sunsetting of Universal Analytics (UA) and the importance of migrating to Google Analytics 4 (GA4):

Sunsetting of Universal Analytics:

  • What’s happening: Google has announced that UA will stop processing new data on July 1, 2023 (standard accounts) and July 1, 2024 (360 accounts).
  • Why is it happening: UA relies on older technology and data collection methods, making it less adaptable to changing user behavior and privacy regulations.
  • Impact: After the sunset date, you won’t be able to collect new data in UA, and historical data access will be limited.

Introducing Google Analytics 4 (GA4):

  • What is it: GA4 is the next generation of Google Analytics, built on a more flexible and privacy-focused architecture.
  • Benefits of GA4:
    • Privacy-centric: Designed to comply with evolving privacy regulations like GDPR.
    • Cross-platform tracking: Tracks both website and app data, providing a holistic view of user behavior.
    • Machine learning insights: Leverages machine learning to predict user behavior and provide deeper insights.
    • Future-proof: Ensures your analytics remain relevant as technology and user behavior continue to evolve.

Importance of Migrating to GA4:

  • Maintaining data collection: Migrating ensures you won’t lose data collection capabilities after UA sunsets.
  • Future-proofing your analytics: GA4 offers benefits and features aligned with future advancements in analytics and privacy regulations.
  • Gaining early insights: Starting early allows you to accumulate GA4 data and understand its unique features before UA becomes unavailable.

Migration Resources:

Remember: Migrating to GA4 is not just about replacing UA, it’s about embracing a future-proof solution for understanding your audience and optimizing your digital presence. Start planning your migration early to ensure a smooth transition and continuous access to valuable analytics insights.


1. Do I need to be a developer to set up Google Analytics?

Not necessarily! The methods outlined in this article cater to different levels of technical expertise. Beginners can utilize simplified options like the Google Tag Manager, while intermediate users can delve into manual code implementation. For advanced configurations, developer-specific resources are provided.

2. Which method is best for me?

The best method depends on your comfort level and website setup. If you’re new to Google Analytics, start with the Google Tag Manager or WordPress plugin options. For more control and customization, consider manual code implementation, but seek developer assistance if needed.

3. How long does it take to set up Google Analytics?

The setup time varies depending on the chosen method and your experience level. Expect 30 minutes to an hour for beginners using the Tag Manager, while manual code implementation might take longer.

4. What if I make a mistake during setup?

Don’t worry! Most common errors have simple solutions. This article provides troubleshooting tips, and you can always refer to Google’s support resources for further assistance.

5. Do I need to pay for Google Analytics?

The basic features of Google Analytics are completely free for most websites. If you have high-traffic websites or require advanced features, paid plans with additional functionalities are available.


Setting up Google Analytics on your website is a crucial step to understanding your audience, measuring marketing efforts, and optimizing your online presence. This article has provided you with a comprehensive guide to various setup methods, catering to different user levels and website types.

Remember to choose the method that best suits your comfort level and leverage the provided resources for assistance. By taking the time to set up Google Analytics correctly, you’ll gain valuable insights to drive informed decisions and achieve your digital goals.

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