Hiding from Google Analytics and saving time

Everyday I learn something new. It’s the nature of working on the web. Here’s something I learned this week…

In my day job, I am concerned with monitoring web traffic for our different marketing efforts. I want to know if students are clicking through on an email that invites them to an event, I want to know which of the emails and which links result in the most action.

I use Google Analytics and the handy URL Builder tool to create campaign tracking URLs. Then through analyzing data, I can see how people came to a certain landing page… was it through an email we sent? Was it through the banner ad we purchased, or a Facebook ad or post? And I can look at the entire event and start to make decisions about what worked, what didn’t, and be a little bit more informed.

The problem though, is that Google uses 30 minute sessions to track a “visit”. And after analyzing traffic for a recent recruiting campaign, I discovered those sessions, also include MY visits to pages not at all connected to the campaign.

I was combing through all of the landing pages for a recent campaign, and started noticing that some URLs were showing up that were NEVER put into a campaign. Deeply embedded pages for an executive education event registration, and a few undergrad pages were being tracked as landing pages even those links were never in the emails for our MBA Recruiting campaign. We’ve tried some IP filtering with Google analytics in the past, but due to some internal set-ups, and needing to track some internal data, we’ve never had luck hiding ourselves from Google. So Google was including pages I visited after testing an email campaign in our analytics.

Until now!

Meet the Google Analytics Opt-Out Add-on (for Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Opera… all the browsers). “This add-on instructs the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.jsanalytics.js, and dc.js) to prohibit sending visit information to Google Analytics.”

So, now my clicks on campaign urls won’t be included in our analytics data. And I don’t have to spend as much time cleaning up our analytics data when I do campaign tracking.

In the future, it would be great to be able to filter this by domain, because I don’t mind lending some data to other domains, just not the ones I’m working on.

Are there google analytics & campaign tracking tips you’ve learned along the way?