How to Marie Kondo Your Google Analytics
PPC | SEO
Now that spring is officially here, and we’ve all Marie Kondo’d (that’s a verb now, right?) our closets, kitchens and dresser drawers… what’s next? As digital marketers, we see endless opportunities for “clean up” – social media, websites, display ad, keywords, etc. But one of the most important of them all has to be your Google Analytics account.
Yes, you read that right; it’s time to Marie Kondo your Google Analytics.
We’ve compiled our top cleanup tips to get your Google Analytics account organized, purged of useless or inaccurate data and sparking joy again.
Cleaning Out IP Addresses
You log into your GA account and notice your incoming traffic is really high – awesome, right? Well, hopefully. After a little more digging, you realize that some of that traffic is actually coming from your staff who visit your website on a regular basis, and not your customers after all.
Here’s an example. Let’s say your company is a metal fabrication shop, and you employ a sales team to create opportunities with OEMs in your area. One sales guy is out all week at meetings, pulling up your website either on his phone or his laptop for various reasons – to share information about a product line, pricing, etc.
You realize you forgot to block his IP address from your Google Analytics, and now your data is skewed. This certainly does not spark joy! How do we fix this?
Head to the Admin area of your account, choose all filters and click the add filter button. From there give your filter a name and select the options to exclude traffic from the IP addresses you need.
Don’t forget to do this for your employees, your work from home employees, your traveling salespeople and any other IP addresses that may skew your website data.
Clean out those filters!
In addition to the IP addresses, there are other filters you can utilize to clean up your data. You can control how much information gets added to your Google Analytics account based on the filters you set up, making them a fantastic way to clean up your data. It’s important to know that filters permanently affect data – that means once you create them, they will continue to work until you physically remove them. Maybe a couple of years ago you were filtering certain things out that no longer should be – take a look and clean those up.
One other thing to remember is that filter order matters. If you have multiple filters that work based one another, make sure they are in the correct order and label them clearly so it’s easy to see at a glance if they’re set up properly.
Check On Your UTM Tags
UTM tags are the way to track traffic coming to your website from different sources. For example, if someone clicks a link you posted on Facebook or Twitter, and you use a UTM tag, you will be able to track the people that clicked on that specific post and how they interacted with your website. These tags, or codes as they’re sometimes referred to, are great to use because you will be able to differentiate the traffic coming in for each source and medium by campaign. Source is the “origin of traffic” aka facebook.com, and medium is the “general category” aka organic, referral or paid. When used correctly, UTM codes can help calculate the impact of your campaigns.
Filtering Out Spam
There are some quick and easy ways to filter out bots and spam from your Google Analytics, follow the steps below!
- Log in and head to the admin section
- Look at the view column at the far right. Click “View Settings.”
- Then you should see “Bot Filtering” Check the box that says, “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.”
While this won’t retroactively filter out spam, it should be set up going forward.
Once you’ve done some cleanup, the next step that would be beneficial is to run some reports to see how your data looks. My colleague Emily put together the blog post 6 Handy Google Analytics Reports, which would be a great place to start.
In closing, if you’re analyzing the wrong data, your analysis won’t matter in the end. Taking the time to clean out your data may feel like a daunting task, but it will be worth it. Do you still feel lost? We would be happy to play the part of Marie Kondo and offer a free website audit where we’ll take a look at your Google Analytics to see what’s not sparking joy, and where you can improve!
“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t”
– Marie Kondo
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