For all I talk about GA, there’s should always be a point where one steps back and ask the questions ‘why?’ and ‘what?’. Why are we analysing this traffic, and what exactly are we looking for.
This is best done at the start of the project, whether it’s when we first set up analytics, or when we first get access to analytics.
To do this we need to sit down with the client and begin to understand the business. Sure, we can make some assumptions at first glance, but we really need to get inside the business.
For instance, what are the aims of the business, beyond of course increased sales. What are the key KPIs? What goals are we interested in? And what are the reporting questions that are asked on a regular basis? What other sources of traffic are we interested in – for instance, do we need to combine multiple sub-domains into one account?
Another good question if you’re setting up GA for the first time, is ‘what level of traffic do you expect?’. Standard GA has a limit of 10 million ‘hits’ a month (see this article) and while this sounds a lot, it can be reached. Other limit include the number of profiles/views; my point is that an understanding of the business in the early days of analysis will go a long way down the line.
And finally, the big question: whatcha going to do with this data?!