Should you set Google Analytics up on the staging site?

A common scenario is for a new website to be built on a test staging server that requires tracking to be implemented. Ideally, you’d want to set all the tracking up on the test site but you don’t want this data going into the main Google Analytics Property since it’s not real data but you do want to be sure all of the tracking is in place and works correctly.

The best way I’ve found to do this is to:

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Why is Facebook data different to Google Analytics?

In short Facebook & Google Analytics use different attribution models.

Facebook Attribution

Provided you have the Facebook tracking pixel installed on your pages and you are pushing in a conversion(s) as an event:

Facebook will take credit for a conversion if the conversion happens with 28 days of clicking a Facebook ad or 1 days within viewing a Facebook ad i.e. the ad appeared in your Facebook feed.

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How to fix AdWords clicks discrepancy error in Analytics

Most of the time I see this error in Google Analytics two things are happening:

The Adwords Ad is targeting a page that has some sort of redirect
The redirect strips out the gclid parameter and Google Analytics records the session against the Organic channel.

If the site has recently moved from http to https check that the Ad destinations have been updated to the new URL.

In short you need to avoid sending traffic to any page that redirects. Strictly speaking redirects should not mess up tracking but I’ve lost count of how many time redirects are a part of a tracking problem.

There’s a couple of tools that can help here:

Check for redirects with: Redirect Path

Crawl the site with Screaming Frog and match the data up with the Ad destination URLS. If any of the Ad destination URLs redirect then update the destination URL in Adwords.

If you’re working on a site with thousands of pages then switch Screaming Frog for Deep Crawl which is web-based and handles large volumes better in my experience.

More info from Google Analytics help:

Essential Google Analytics custom alerts

You’re probably expecting me to list a bunch of alerts I set up right? Well, the truth is I only set up two.

The reason for this is that if you have lots of alerts you quickly start ignoring them. For me, less is more here and I only want alerts that tell me something is probably wrong.

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