Are you looking to make better marketing decisions with your Google Analytics? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this video, I’m going to show you how to filter out internal traffic in Google Analytics so you can make better marketing decisions with your Google Analytics reports.
Why is it so important to remove and filter internal traffic from your Google Analytics? As a business owner and a marketer, first, let’s review the purpose of Google Analytics. We want to understand our customer. We want to know who they are, what they’re doing on our website, and how they’re buying from us or why they are not buying from us.
We want to understand the traffic patterns on our website. Where are our visitors coming from? What devices are they using? How long are they staying on our website? What pages are they visiting? We want to know how our customers are finding us. Are they coming from Google? Are they coming from social networks? Are they coming from other websites or website referrals? And as business owners and marketers, we want to be able to track our content and our marketing performance. Which campaigns are the most effective and what content are people most interested in? Without filtering internal traffic from our Google Analytics we cannot focus on the relevant data – our customers!
What exactly is internal traffic? We are referring to any traffic that is being generated by you or your business directly or indirectly. This might include the people who are making changes to your website, including minor content updates. They’re on your website. This generates traffic. Maybe you’ve got a customer success element and people are on your website, clicking through your site. All of this internal traffic will skew your Google Analytics reports. It’s not a true representation of customer traffic and the data that you need to make better business decisions.
Let’s go ahead and implement some filters that you can use to remove the internal traffic from your Google Analytics.
First, log into your Google Analytics account and go to the Admin section.
We’re going to see the property that we want to implement the internal traffic filter, and then we’re going to have our view. If you’re new to Google Analytics, you will probably only see a single view called all data. This view contains all the raw (unfiltered) traffic data. Our best practices recommend creating a minimum of three views, including this unfiltered view. It is extremely important not to delete or modify this view.
The second view that you want to create is the main view. As you move forward, this main view (or marketing view) is going to be the primary view. It should contain all of your tests and filters. Ideally, you should only see traffic that is 100% relevant to your business and marketing goals. This is why we want to filter out the internal traffic and as well as any other future filters that remove spam, sub-directory blog posts et cetera. That is data that clutters your view and something you should also consider removing. Your main view is probably going to be the cleanest data that you’re going to have to make those business decisions.
The third view that you want to implement is a test view. If you’re creating a new filter you first want to try that in the test view and make sure that the test is perfect. Once you’re satisfied with making those changes and the filter’s performance you can then move it from the test view over to the main view. This ensures that you do not disturb any of that clean data.
We want to add a filter and then create a name. In this case, we will call this internal traffic filter, but you can name it whatever you want. From there we will have our predefined filter type. Google does a really good job of this. We now have a filter type. We are going to exclude and choose the traffic from IP addresses. Then we choose the expression for it to exclude any matches. In this case, we will exclude our own IP address. If you don’t know while your IP address is, there’s a very quick way to get that. Simply go to Google and type in “what is my IP address”. Enter the address into your filter.
As business owners and marketers, this is going to allow you to make better business decisions moving forward. Also note that when you implement a new view or when you implement a new filter, it’s not retroactive. This means that it will only collect and filter out that data from the exact point it is implemented. Why is this important? If you have someone new to the organization or you’re looking at historical traffic, you need to be aware and make a note of when the filters were implemented. An easy way of doing that is to add an annotation to your Google Analytics. You can do this by clicking traffic channels and create an annotation. It’s best to add today’s date, or the date when the filter was implemented if that’s not today.
Google Analytics is an amazingly powerful free tool that business owners and online marketers can use to help guide their decisions. By default, Google Analytics collects a massive amount of data, which can mask the more important traffic you need to focus on to make those decisions.
Filtering out your internal traffic is the first step toward sanitizing your data and ensuring that only the relevant numbers are taking into consideration.
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