Last week, we started talking about common Google Analytics problems affecting dealerships everywhere. And since I’m young, healthy and have a fast recovery time, guess what? Yup…we’re gonna do it again.
Problem #1: Self Referrals in Your Reports
What are “self referrals”? They’re what happens when your own website’s domain shows up on your site as referral traffic. This is usually a result of bad implementation, and can really affect your dealership’s data when you’re looking at the total scope of your online traffic.
To see if you’re having self referral traffic showing up in your reports, head to Acquisition > All Traffic and then Referrals. Any entry you see on this report that has your own website’s domain is a self referral, and is compromising your traffic.
Well, it’s debatable. Some might say “get to the root of the problem and make sure that there’s no incorrect tracking code implementation”. But in some cases, like when you have multiple domains or subdomains as a part of your view, you may need to simply exclude self referrals from your report. How do you do that?
Head to Admin on the bottom left. Under property and tracking info, you’ll find the “Referral Exclusion List”. Simply add a referral exclusion, and include your domain, or whatever domain you wish to exclude.
REMEMBER: only mess with these kinds of things in “New Views” that you’ve created for the purposes of customizing your data. Never update your “All Website Data” view without being sure you want to skew all of your default data.
Problem #2: Internal IP Traffic
This problem is simple but significant, and depending on what you’re tracking can greatly skew the kind of data you want to see. If you have customers or staff who are accessing your website from within your place of business you may want to filter this traffic out, as it will inflate the session data.
In any view other than “All Website Data”, you can set up a “Filter” to filter out internal traffic. Navigate to Admin, View, Filters, and add a New Filter. Under “Predefined” select “Exclude” “Traffic from the IP addresses” and then – depending on what you’re filtering -, use the last box and the entry field to select the IP addresses you want to filter out.
And here’s a Pro-Tip: make sure you work in tandem with your team to catch all of the internal IP traffic you want to exclude and not just the address you’re using currently.
Problem #3: Bot Traffic
For the benefit of anyoneThis problem comes in many shapes and sizes, and there’s no way we’ll cover how to prevent every possible bot from reaching your Google Analytics traffic, BUT there are a number of steps we can take to try to clean out as many of them as we can.
First, to see POTENTIAL bot traffic, head to Acquisition, Channels, Direct, and change your primary dimension to “Host name”. Large “heartbeat” spikes from hostnames other than your own website can frequently mean that your site is being crawled regularly. Looking for other direct spikes of this nature is the best way to get a broad view of your data, and see potential issues.
We’ll ask for help from Google. Head to admin, View, View Settings, and under “Bot Filtering” click “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders”. Google is good at finding and filtering out these bots for you and, as long as this is checked, only the outliers should appear in your traffic.