Displaying items by tag: analytics

Sunday, 31 December 2023 22:18

GA4 IP Filters

 

How to Filter by IP Address in GA4?

A common process in keeping your GA4 data accurate is removing internal traffic.  The most common way to do that is by filtering out this traffic by IP Address.  This article will step through how to complete this process.

 

How to Define Internal Traffic using an IP Address?

The first step of this process is defining internal traffic using an IP Address.  We will use an example IP Address of 123.456.78.9 - you can find the right IP Address by typing in "What is my IP" in Google search or check with your network team to find a range of IP Addresses. 
Now navigate to the "Define internal traffic" page.  ( Admin -> Data streams -> click on Data Stream -> Configure tag settings -> click "Show more" -> Define internal traffic ) and you will see this screen:
 
 ga4 ip filtering define internal traffic
After clicking on the creat button you will see this screen:
ga4 ip filtering defininf internal traffic with an ip address 
Defining Internal Traffic by an IP Address 
Enter in a unqiue name for your "Rule name".  Notice that "traffic_type" value is defined as "internal", this is what will be used in the filter step to filter out this traffic.  You can create new "traffic_type"s at this point as well if you would like different filters, keeping in mind that there are a maximum of 10 filters allowed. 
Next select the "Match type", in this case we have selected "IP adress matches regular expression", there are other choices as well including "IP address is in range (CIDR notation)" - look here to learn more about this match type - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classless_Inter-Domain_Routing.  In the "Value" field we have coppied in our IP address and then add "\" before the "." to make it clear that we mean a period "." in our IP Address.  (The period character means a single character wildcard, using the backslash, "\", escapes the period to indicate that we mean an actual period and not a wildcard.  We will be providing a brief Regular Expression article to provide the basics that will help your GA4 analysis.  To read more - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regular_expression

How to Create a Filter in GA4?

The next step is creating (or in most cases editing) your internal traffic filter.  First navigate to Admin -> under "Data Collection and modification" click on Data filters.  From here you can Edit your "Internal Traffic" filter, or click the "Create" button to start.  You will see this:

ga4 ip filtering internal traffic filter

If the "Data filter name" is not set fill in a unique name.  Next notice that the "Parameter name" is set to "traffic_type" and the "Parameter value" is set to "internal" - in most case we can leave these alone, if you want to create additional custom filters - then the Parameter and Value will allow you to customize these settings.

Finally we will want to select the "Active" filter state - this will ensure that the traffic is permanently filtered out.  (If you only want to filter the data from reports, but want the data available, try Report Filters - here is an introduction to Exclude Filters.)  When you are complete click on the "Save" button and then click on "save filter" on the next warning that filters are destructive and irreversable.  Make sure you test your filters - to ensure no data is lost.

References:

Google Article on Filtering Internal Traffic - https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/10104470?hl=en

Google Article on Regular Expressions in Google Analytics - https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1034324?hl=en

 
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Saturday, 22 April 2023 19:22

Edit GA4 Custom Channel Groups

Introduction:

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of Google Analytics that offers a more intelligent, flexible, and privacy-focused analytics solution for businesses. GA4 comes with many advanced features that provide a better understanding of user behavior, customer journey, and website performance. One such feature is the ability to edit GA4 channels, which allows you to customize your reports and insights according to your business needs.
 

What are GA4 Channels?

Channels in GA4 refer to the sources of traffic that bring visitors to your website. These channels can be categorized into various types, such as organic search, direct, social, referral, email, and paid search. Each channel has its own set of characteristics and behaviors, which can help you identify the most effective marketing channels for your business.
 

Why Edit GA4 Channels?

Editing GA4 channels can help you gain deeper insights into user behavior and optimize your marketing campaigns. By customizing your channels, you can filter out unwanted traffic sources, combine similar channels, and create new channels that better reflect your business goals. This can help you focus on the most important metrics and make better-informed decisions about your marketing strategy.
 

How to Edit GA4 Channels?

To edit GA4 channels, you need to follow these steps (also see video following this article):
Step 1: Go to the Admin section of your GA4 property and select Data Settings.
Step 2: Click on "Channel Groups".
ga4 channel group editing
 

Step 3: To start from scratch you can create a new Channel Group or more often you will 'Copy to create a new' (in some properties you may see 'duplicate') the 'Default Channel Group':

GA4 copy channel group

Step 4: In the Edit Channel Group window, you can rename the channel group, change the rules for the channels included in the group, and add or remove channels from the group.
GA4 edit or modify channels
 
Step 5: To Create a new Channel - click on the "Add new channel" button.  Then on the next screen update the criteria for this new channel.  In our example traffic with a medium of either "magazine" or "newspaper" will be assigned to our "Magazine" Channel. 
To change the rules for the channels in the group, click on the ">" button next to the channe. This will open the Channel Details window, where you can set conditions for including or excluding channels based on various parameters such as source, medium, campaign, and more.
GA4 create a new custom channel
NOTE: The regular expression in this example uses the "|" symbol which represents and "OR" - so if our medium is "magazine" or "newspaper" the Channel will be "Magazine".
Step 6: After making the necessary changes, click on "Save channel" and then "Save" to save your new channel group.
Step 7: Once you have saved your changes, the new channel group will be available in your GA4 reporting views.
 

Tips for Editing GA4 Channels:

1. Before making any changes to your channel groups, make sure you have a clear understanding of your website traffic sources and user behavior. 
2. Use descriptive names for your channel groups to make it easier to identify them in your reports.
3. Experiment with different channel group configurations to find the one that works best for your business.
4. Regularly review and update your channel groups to ensure they accurately reflect your marketing strategy and goals.

Conclusion:

Editing GA4 channels can help you gain deeper insights into user behavior and optimize your marketing campaigns. By customizing your channels, you can filter out unwanted traffic sources, combine similar channels, and create new channels that better reflect your business goals. Use the tips outlined above to make the most of your GA4 channel editing capabilities and improve your website's performance.

References:

Google Article on Channel Groups - https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/6010097?hl=en#zippy=%2Cin-this-article

Google Article on Regular Expressions in Google Analytics - https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1034324?hl=en

 
Published in Blog
Wednesday, 09 September 2020 19:15

Google Tag Manager - Introduces Server Side Tagging

Three Ways Server-Side Tagging Can Help Marketers Succeed In 2023

The release of server-side tagging in Google Tag Manager has a lot of digital marketers talking, and for all the right reasons. For years, marketers have relied on a variety of third-party tech partners to gain deep insights into customer behavior on their websites, sometimes trading such valuable information for slower site performance, questionable security, and misleading data sets.

Why should marketers be looking at server-side tag management right now? For starters, privacy safeguards implemented or being implemented in the most popular browsers are quickly making server-side tagging not just an option, but an eventual necessity.

Two such examples can be found in Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (also known as ITP), which has severely restricted third-party cookies, as well as Chrome’s restrictions on third-party cookies that are set to roll out in 2023.

These changes amount to a complete overhaul of the current landscape marketers have grown accustomed to, and are creating new challenges for marketers looking to provide relevant ads and highly personalized experiences to customers. For digital marketers to continue to maintain audiences and provide relevant advertising, implementing server-side tagging will be a must.

GTM Tag management today

The server side is also the secure side

Browser security will continue to be a hot topic for both brands and the customers interacting with them in 2021, making server-side tagging an even hotter commodity moving into the new year. Server-side tagging allows digital marketers to identify customers with server-based (http only) first-party cookies.

Further, server-based cookies are more secure, as a result browsers will allow such cookies for user identification. This change ensures privacy by the browsers, and will ultimately force more digital marketers to embrace server-side cookies moving forward.

These issues make the availability of server-side tagging all the more exciting. The new features give users the ability to move Google Tag Manager containers from a website or app to a server-side environment, thus creating another layer of tagging between sites (and other data sources) and other third-party marketing tags such as Google Ads, Facebook, and more.

Server Side GTM Tag management

There are many benefits to moving your tag management to a server-side environment, but for the sake of time, we’re going to feature our top three reasons why your digital marketing strategy should seriously consider migrating your tags to a Google Cloud Container in 2021.

Improved website performance.

One of the primary benefits of Google Tag Manager is the ease in which digital marketers can add new tags to marketing campaigns. But, that also comes with a price—namely, how easy it is to overload a website with a slew of trackers and the associated JavaScript that can have a serious impact on site performance and page load times.

With server-based tagging, much of the work being done within our client’s browser can be offloaded to our Google Tag Manager Container in the Google Cloud environment. We accomplish this is by moving browser-based code to server-side clients, which in turn apply business rules for tracking, security, and potential data enrichment from other systems. This newly transformed data is then sent to the final consumer of said data, resulting in less code that is downloaded and run within the browser to give users improved site performance and a better overall user experience.

Customer-centric security features.

There’s little doubt that data and privacy concerns remain a key concern of Internet users. For example, a recent survey of mobile users in the U.S. showed that 64 percent of respondents take data privacy of brands very seriously. Further, 43 percent stated that they refused to make mobile purchases because of concerns that their data would be stolen.

With browser-side containers, every new marketing tag added to the browser can send user data directly to third-party sources. Most of the time this isn’t an issue, however, the fact remains that digital marketers have very minimal oversight or control of the data that’s collected.

A server-side client, on the other hand, puts marketers in control of the data collected and forwarded to third-party tracking providers. Server-side GTM accomplishes this through data checks performed in the Cloud Server GTM Container prior to sending said data to third parties, resulting in greater security for your customers’ data.

Analytical accuracy where it matters most.

Another reason brands should consider server-side tagging in Google Tag Manager is the ability to improve the quality and accuracy of the various data that are collected through customer interactions and site visits.

With current browser-based containers, for example, expiring cookies can lead to a wide range of undesirable results. Because of some of the privacy features browsers such as Safari and Firefox (ITP mentioned above) implement directly affect user cookie privacy, it’s not uncommon for such users to return to websites a week later only to appear to a brand viewing the data from an analytical perspective as completely new users.

Even more, such privacy features can negate conversions with a third-party cookie after as a little as a day, essentially converting what could be a successful campaign into a data-driven failure.

Accuracy in analytics and data sets is one of the features that makes server-side tagging in GTM so valuable. With server-side tagging, cookies can now be set from the Google Cloud Server, as opposed to the unreliable browser-based cookies that are in use today. With server-based cookies, all browsers will allow longer timeouts, thus allowing your marketing technology to ‘see’ your customers for who they are and for a much longer period of time, leading to more personalized and relevant targeting and communication.

Discover what server-side tagging can do for your brand

With the introduction of server-side tagging to Google Tag Manager, our top three picks of enhanced security, faster site performance, and improved accuracy in analytics are just the tip of the iceberg. Want to learn more about what migrating to a server-side tagging platform can do for your brand?

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