Let’s say you have a business. If you have a Google Analytics account, you can keep track of the visits and visitor behavior data associated with people coming to your website. The problem is, how do you make sure that data is pure—untainted by your own visits and behavior when you go to your site and do work on it?
If you’re like me, and you actively check and update your own website, or if you have online presence management people working on your site regularly, you will want to make sure the data you (and they) contribute is taken out of your Google Analytics results. This is accomplished through IP address filters.
By implementing IP addresses into the filters section of your Google Analytics account, you can filter out the data of individuals visiting/working on your site who you don’t want affecting your overall results. To start this process, begin by creating a new view to your Analytics account.
A view is like one perspective for looking at your data, and you can have more than one. For example, you will automatically have a view that displays all your website data. But you can create extra views that display data affected by the filters you’ve set up.
If you’re going to set up a filter, I recommend setting up a separate view. You always want to keep one view that has all your website data active.
Setting Up A View
First off, make sure you have administrative access to work on the Google Analytics account. Once you’ve logged in, click on the ADMIN button on the left of the page:
You will be sent to a new page with three main columns. Direct your attention to the column on the right labeled: Views. By clicking the dropdown option you will see the views your site currently has. To build a new view, select “Create new view.”
Once you are directed to the next page, all you have to do is name your new view, pick a time zone, and then create the view.
Okay, now that you’ve set up your new view it is time to enhance your data by implementing those filters. First, you’ll need your IP address.
Sorry, What Is an IP Address & Where Can I Find Mine?
At its most basic, an IP address is a unique string of numbers that identifies each unique computer user. The string of numbers will be separated by a few periods and will look something like this: 18.104.22.168 (number chosen at random).
To find your IP address, you can simply just go on your computer (or whatever company computer you want the IP address for) and literally type into Google: What is my IP Address?
Setting up a Filter
Okay, now that you have the IP address you want to filter out, go back to Google Analytics and click on ADMIN again. Once more you’ll want to direct your attention to the Views column on the right. Only this time you will want to select the “Filters” button.
Once redirected, you will select the “+ ADD FILTER” big red button near the top.
If you are implementing an individual filter (vs. a filter range), complete the task on the page you’ve been directed to. To start with, name your filter. Beneath that you will see a section labeled “Filter Type” (which should have “Predefined” selected) and three dropdown options. You’ll need to alter each dropdown as follows:
- Under “Select filter type” you will choose “Exclude”
- Under “Select source or destination” you will choose the option labeled “traffic from the IP addresses”
- And under “Select expression” you will choose “that are equal to”
Then all you have to do is hit “Save” at the bottom and your filter will be in place!
Building On That . . .
You can implement as many individual IP address filters as you like in this way, and you can create many different views as well. Just be aware of which view you are looking at when analyzing your data.
Now in some cases this filter method will not be enough to accomplish your goals of purifying the data.
For example, if you don’t just have one outside digital marketing person working on your account, but a whole company, individual IP addresses aren’t going to do it because you may have any countless number of people accessing you site and influencing data. If that is the case, you will want to implement a CIDR IP address (i.e. an IP address filter range).
To learn how to do this, continue on to the next blog by clicking here.