Article Archive by Jarret Streiner

February 2 2012

Google Analytics Filters & Filtering

by Jarret Streiner

Once you have Google Analytics tracking code installed on your site and data is starting to populate, there are few more steps that you should take to get the most out of your analytics account. Adding filters to your account will help you include and exclude information that will refine the analytics data and reports that you need.

Preferably, you should set up at least one profile in your account that does not contain any filters. Once you create a filter on any profile, Google Analytics does not have a method to go back and track the data that was filtered out.

Yet, on the other hand, if you wanted to filter out certain data points from being tracked e.g. all employee traffic or traffic from a sub-domain, then having at least one unfiltered profile is not necessary in this instance. You have 50 profiles at your disposal to set up filtering in as many different ways as you consider necessary.

To begin filtering site data, click on the Gear icon on the right side of the Google Analytics menu. Then you will see the screen above. Then click on +New Filter.

There are two types of filters available: Predefined or Custom. Predefined filters are limited to Excluding or Including traffic from IP addresses, domains, and traffic to subdirectories.

Why would you use these filters? Use these filters to eliminate unwanted hits such as internal site traffic or traffic from a particular IP range, collect data from certain directories of your site or track subdomain traffic separately.

The custom filters are more robust and give you a multitude of choices. You are able to Include and Exclude data patterns or set URLs to Lowercase or Uppercase. Setting the case type is essential due to Google Analytics being case sensitive and capturing data exactly as it appears in the location bar of the browser. This way all of your reports will be unified.

Within custom filters there is a Search and Replace filter, which is used to replace a matched expression with another string. This comes in handy when using page ids e.g. id=100 or id=200, as you can set a readable name for the numbers, 100=Tires, 200=Fuel Filters.

Past the Search & Replace filter is the Advanced filter which is used to reorder URLs. Running the Advanced filter will take the use of Regular Expressions. These expressions can use complete or partial text matches and include wildcards, which are a special symbols that stand for one or more characters.

Using the Advanced filter will change a longer URL
To: /shopping/o=0/qsrc=43/q=red+chair

For more information on filtering:
Clean up your Google Analytics data with these 5 filters

Watch our video tutorial on Filters: YouTube Link

Posted in: Analytics

January 25 2012

Goals and Goal Values in Google Analytics

by Jarret Streiner

We are going to explain what Goals & Goal Values are in Google Analytics, why they are important and how to gauge the value that you can assign to them. These Goals are for non-e-commerce actions, such as Time on Site. If tracking e-commerce transactions are needed, there are tools available in Google Analytics for those actions as well.

Goals are a way to measure actions performed on a website. These actions can be, but are not limited to how many pages per visit visitors are going to, whether they are downloading PDF documents or filling out forms.

Setting up Goals can be found in two places in Google Analytics.

*Please Note, all screen images are from newest version of Google Analytics

The first is in the Google Analytics menu under CONVERSIONS>GOALS

The second place is clicking on the gear icon in the menu.

If your goals are not set up, you will see this screen:

Each Goal set (there are 4) allows 5 Goals to be set for a total of 20 Goals. The first step is to set the name for your Goal, its best to give the Goal a straight forward name i.e. Newsletter Sign-Ups. After you set the Goal Name, the next step is to choose the goal type.

There are four goal types to choose from.

1. URL Destination, which can be a Thank You page for a form, a newsletter sign-up or a white paper request.

  • When setting up a URL Destination, you are able to gather more data by adding a Goal Funnel. A funnel is the path of pages leading up to the goal you set up. i.e. Contact Form>Thank You Page

2. Time on Site can be set for a greater than or less than value. There is availability for hours, minutes and even seconds to be set for this action.

3. Page/Visit can also be set for a greater than or less than value with the number of pages as the variable.

4. The Event Goal allows the most sets of variables to track. The event Goal would be used to track interaction with AJAX or dynamic sites, PDF downloads or interaction with Flash on your site.

While setting up new Goals, one of the optional fields is Goal Value.

Setting a Goal Value is not the same as making a sale from a product. It is the value you feel that particular measureable action on your site is worth.

Not setting the value correctly can give you an inflated or decreased Goal Value.

If you look at the image above and view the Goal Completions and the Goal Value, you will see that all the Goals were set at a $100 price point. Is every Goal you set worth $100?

A proficient technique to ascertain the value of a Goal would be to set the value by a percentage of what you feel the ROI of your goal should be. If a user downloads a White Paper and the average transaction for users downloading White Papers is $250 then you could set the value at 10%, then the Goal Completion will be valued at $25. On the other hand if a user fills out your contact form and the average transaction is only $20, you can set the Goal Value to 1% or $2 per Goal Completion.

Another method to calculate Goal Value is to use the total revenue generated by the measureable action divided by the number of goal completions. Not all of your Goals will be worth the same to you monetarily or business-wise.

Is someone downloading a White Paper more or less valuable than someone filling out your contact form? Is a user that stays on your site for longer than 5 minutes more valuable than the user that clicked through 10 pages of your site?

Once you take the time to set your Goals and Goal Values, you will be able to start tracking your Goal Conversion Rate.

Revisiting your Goals and Goal Values every quarter is a valid method to distinguish if the Goals you have set are still providing valuable insights and are converting at the rate you set.

Posted in: Analytics

January 18 2012

How to Track Social Media Interaction

by Jarret Streiner

We asked in a previous blog Are Your Website Visitors Socially Engaged? If the answer is yes, then you need to make sure you are correctly setting up your site to track these valuable metrics in Google Analytics. If the answer is no, then you should still know how to set up your site to track social media interaction for when you establish your social media campaigns.

Google Analytics has created three new reports to track social media interaction. The Social Engagement report tracks behavior changes for social media actions i.e. Facebook Like or Google +1. The Social Actions report tracks the number of social media sharing actions from your site. The Social Pages report tracks which pages are being creating the most social media traffic.

Before you implement any of the coding necessary to track social media interaction, you will need to start by adding this code snippet before the </head> tag.

<!– Google Analytics Social Button Tracking –>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=””></script>

Google +1 social engagement interactions are tracked by default in Google Analytics, but to track other valuable metrics such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn you will have to use the _trackSocial method.

Here is a description of the _trackSocial method:

_gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, network, socialAction, opt_target, opt_pagePath]);

Where the parameters represent:

Required. A string representing the social network being tracked (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)

Required. A string representing the social action being tracked (e.g. Like, Share, Tweet)

Optional. A string representing the URL (or resource) which receives the action. For example, if a user clicks the Like button on a page, the the opt_target might be set to the title of the page, or an ID used to identify the page in a content management system. In many cases, the page you Like is the same page you are on. So if this parameter is undefined, or omitted, the tracking code defaults to using document.location.href.

Optional. A string representing the page by path (including parameters) from which the action occurred. For example, if you click a Like button on, then opt_pagePath should be set to /apis/analytics/docs/index.html. Almost always, the path of the page is the source of the social action. So if this parameter is undefined or omitted, the tracking code defaults to using location.pathname plus You generally only need to set this if you are tracking virtual pageviews by modifying the optional page path parameter with the Google Analytics _trackPageview method.

Once you have the _trackSocial set up, there are methods used to track Facebook Likes, Facebook Unlikes and Shares.

Facebook LIKES

FB.Event.subscribe(‘edge.create’, function(targetUrl) {
_gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, ‘facebook’, ‘like’, targetUrl]);

Facebook UNLIKES

FB.Event.subscribe(‘edge.remove’, function(targetUrl) {
_gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, ‘facebook’, ‘unlike’, targetUrl]);

Facebook SHARES

FB.Event.subscribe(‘message.send’, function(targetUrl) {
_gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, ‘facebook’, ‘send’, targetUrl]);

View a demo of this in action:

Facebook also has buttons available from the Facebook Developers page found here:

If you use the buttons from Facebook, you will have to add this code to get tracking numbers from Google Analytics:

<script type=”text/javascript”>_ga.trackFacebook();</script>

This is Twitter’s _trackSocial set up.

To add a Twitter button:

<script src=”” type=”text/javascript”></script>
<a href=”

Another option is to use buttons provided by Twitter. Those are accessible at:

To track the Tweet Button you will have to add this code to the Tweet event.‘tweet’, function(event) {
if (event) {
var targetUrl;
if ( && == ‘IFRAME’) {
targetUrl = extractParamFromUri(, ‘url’);
_gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, ‘twitter’, ‘tweet’, targetUrl]);

To track LinkedIn, you first need to get the code for the LinkedIn Share button from the LinkedIn Site:

Then add this code to your site:

<script src=”” type=”text/javascript”></script>
<script type=”IN/Share” data-counter=”right”></script>

You can set the data-counter to left or right. If you do not want to have a LinkedIn number, you can leave that portion out of the code.

With social media continuing to grow, being used every minute of the day and driving traffic to you site, it is an invaluable metric that should be tracked and reviewed.

Posted in: Analytics

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