Why is it important to filter out your own site visits from Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a robust tool that collects information about your site visitors. It captures website activity like the number of visits, duration on pages, landing pages, traffic source, conversions, and more. We can use the reports to understand who our users are, where they are coming from, track user behaviors, know how they are converting, and analyze the performance of marketing campaigns. But to effectively use this information you want to measure ACTUAL traffic data by filtering out your own site visits.
You and your team’s intentions and behaviors on your own website are very different than your “real” site visitors.
How much of your traffic is actually coming from you? And do you know how that’s throwing off your conversion rates if you’re tracking a funnel or sales page?
Google Analytics is pretty astute but not enough to know it’s YOU visiting your OWN website. Google Analytics counts every site visit as real data. Filtering out your own site visits or your team’s traffic is very important because each time you visit your own site your traffic is counting towards your overall traffic numbers.
Take for example if your team is preparing your sales page before a launch they may view it numerous times to make changes. I use this example because I had a client whose numbers were wildly different than the numbers we were seeing on the dashboard side. It turned out that her team had done over 100 views to the sales page while getting it ready. This was drastically throwing off her conversion rates and her overall traffic numbers. Luckily we had created a filtered view that was much more pared-down and told a more accurate story. And this is exactly what I want to help you accomplish – collecting QUALITY data.
Google Analytics allows you to create filters to exclude IP addresses. I teach you how to easily filter out your own site visits.
Let’s dive in!
1. Create A New View
If you have not already done so, first create a new view. You can name it Main View (or website name – Main). Again, be sure it’s a different view than your All Website Data View.
Why create a new view?
Google Analytics allows you to create up to 25 views which are way more than you will need. I recommend having three views and depending on your business you may eventually add more. These three views will each play a very different role in effectively setting up your Google Analytics account.
It’s important to keep one View “untouched” to act as your backup in case anything went wrong. This is your All Website Data View. Mistakes happen and you may accidentally filter data incorrectly and Google Analytics data is not retroactive. But no sweat you have your backup, ‘All Website Data View’ aka Backup View.
The second type of view you want is a ‘Test View.’ This view is where you will do all your testing when setting up new filters. And then ONLY once they are tried and tested you would add them to your ‘Main View.’ The main view data collects the insights you will use to optimize your website, conversions, and user experience.
When you filter out your own site visits you want to do this on your Main View. The reason I say Main View and not Test View here is because when you are testing things on your site you need Google Analytics to collect this information to see if the things you set up are working properly. So Google Analytics needs to include your IP Address in the Test View. It is in your Main View where you want to exclude you and/or your team site visits.
The main view is where you use your data collected to improve your marketing strategy. This view needs to collect information on your actual visitors.
Once you have excluded yourself from the Main View you can use your RealTime report to confirm you have indeed set up your filter properly, likewise, you can test that you are included in your Test View. Since RealTime reports show you who is on your site in real-time it is the perfect occasion to use this report. Using your RealTime reports saves you time by testing in real-time as opposed to having to wait for data to accumulate.
Pro Tip: Use RealTime Reports to check if your visit is actually appearing or appropriately being filtered out.
2. Add A Filter To Exclude Your Own Site Visits
Once you have added a new view, click on ‘Filter’ and click on the red button ‘+ Add Filter.’ Then give your filter a name, such as ‘Filter out my IP Address.’ Next, click on Custom and select IP Address. Lastly, in the Filter Pattern text box add your IP Address and click Save. If you do not know your IP Address the easiest way is to do a search for ‘what is my IP address.’ Your IP Address will appear first in the search, like this.
3. Excluding Multiple IP Addresses
You may want to add multiple IP addresses. For example, if you work in multiple locations, or if you have other team members that you’d like to filter out.
When adding in more than one IP Address they are always separated with the pipe symbol which is the straight vertical line | . To begin add the pipe symbol between each IP Address.
Next, you also need to include a regex. A regex is basically a sequence of characters that broadly or narrowly match patterns in your analytics data. IP Addresses include periods and what you need to do is add a forward-facing slash in front of each period (hence the regex .). Below is an example of what three IP Addresses would look like. Notice the two pipe symbols separating the IP Addresses and then the foward-facing slash in front of each period.
Again this is done when you’re doing more than one IP Address. If you’re only excluding one IP address, paste it in and hit save otherwise follow the format above and then hit save.
Recap: Filtering Out Your Own Site Visits
Filtering out your own traffic is as easy as 1-2-3. It takes about 2 minutes and is critical in collecting your ACTUAL site traffic for more accurate reporting.
- From Admin choose a View to use, click Filter, add New Filter, then give your filter a name
- Select custom, IP Address and paste in your IP Address (use proper formatting if more than one IP Address)
- Hit Save
Time is a valuable commodity. You don’t have to do it all. You know you should be taking advantage of the insights that Google Analytics collects on your business.