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I don’t know about you, but I’m really enjoying the new features Google Analytics added in the last upgrade. We’re all familiar with the standard dashboard where you can see at a glance all metrics for your website, but the default settings might not be exactly what you need to measure for your particular website. Here we will show you how to create custom dashboards for your exact analytic needs so you’re measuring and tracking only what is important to you.
Log into your Google Analytics account and open the Home tab. The Home tab is where you can see several new analytic options, including Real-Time reporting and Custom Dashboards. As you can see in the image below, the default dashboard has sections for measuring things I don’t use-like Conversions and Alerts. That real estate could be better utilized with metrics I need to see and measure. The same is probably true for you as well, so let’s see how we can make this a little more user friendly.Dashboard Options
In the left sidebar, select the New Dashboards tab. A window will pop up allowing you to choose a Blank Canvas to create truly custom dashboards or you can choose a Starter Dashboard which will give you pointers to get started with customizing your dashboard.Create A Blank Canvas Dashboard
A Blank Canvas dashboard is an excellent place to setup metrics to track your ad campaigns and other marketing strategies. The custom dashboards feature allows you to create up to 20 different custom dashboards so you can create as many or as few as your site requires. You’ll be able to see the results in a glance and all of your dashboards are accessible in the left sidebar for quick reference. To get started, select the Blank Canvas option and you’ll see the widgets window pop up allowing you to create specific widget sections for your dashboard. Starting with the Metrics tab, you can select one of many metric options to target specific goals for your site. Basically anything you can measure in Google Analytics can be set as a metric.
Once you have all the widgets you want on your dashboard, you might need to move them around to place them in order of importance or make comparing two metrics easier in a glance. all you need to do is simply drag them where you want them placed for better viewing.What If I Don’t See A Metric I Want To Track? Create A Starter Dashboard
If you’re new to Google Analytics or aren’t sure what metrics you need to track, using a Starter Dashboard will help you get off on the right foot. The Starter Dashboard is pretty much the same as the default dashboard with the added feature of creating widgets to make it semi-custom. If you like the default settings but want to add specific widgets to it, this template is for you. You can keep the default page the same and add specific dashboards showing just visitor metrics, and just content metrics for easy data analysis.Conclusion
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Referral spammers have been making their way into our Google Analytics (GA) data without ever actually visiting our websites since around 2013.
Referral spam may show up to administrators as either a fake traffic referral, a search term, or a direct visit.
Referral spambots hijack the referrer that displays in your GA referral traffic, indicating a page visit from their preferred site even though a user has not viewed the page.
The problem is that marketers have to manually decipher and filter this type of traffic out of their GA data to make proper sense of it.
Since we rely on GA to make major ongoing marketing decisions, clean data means everything to us.
Without knowing about referral spam and how to filter it, marketers could be making weighted conclusions based on bogus bot traffic.
In this column, marketers will learn how to clean their Google Analytics data by filtering referral spam.
If you’ve recently migrated to Google Analytics 4, we’ve got a section in here for you too.For the Love of Filters, What Is Referral Spam?
Referral spam, also known as referrer spam or ghost spam, is created by spam bots that are made to visit websites and artificially trigger a page view.
It sounds sketchy, but bots are just pieces of programmed script that are designed to complete a task automatically online.
It’s estimated that 37% of website activity is created by bots, and less than half of this bot activity is legit.
Desirable bots include:
Search crawlers creating search engine results pages.
Checkers monitoring the health of your website.
Feed fetchers converting content to a mobile format.
The other half of bots aren’t so noble.
Some are designed specifically to spam our referral reports by sending false HTTP requests to our websites with the ability to create non-human traffic otherwise known as bot traffic.You Cannot Weigh Your Gold with Garbage on the Scale
Referral spam artificially inflates your Google Analytics data.
The level of artificial inflation depends on the amount of referral spam your website is getting, which can vary depending on your industry.
Similarly, the threat this traffic poses to the integrity of your data is directly proportional to the amount of legitimate traffic your website receives on a normal day.
For example, if you receive thousands or even tens of thousands of visits every month, your data won’t be significantly skewed by a couple of hundred spam referral sessions.
However, if you only receive 50-100 visits every month, a couple of hundred spam referrals would throw off your GA data completely, effectively suffocating legitimate traffic.
If you aren’t aware of this problem, it can be very dangerous to your marketing strategy.How to Filter Referral Spam in Universal Analytics
It’s a nuisance to have bots spamming our websites.
The good news is that it has historically been pretty straightforward to filter this type of traffic.
However, the plot thickened in October 2023, when Google launched Google Analytics 4.
We’ll discuss referral spam in this new version of GA in the next section.
For now, let’s see how to achieve this important task inside your Universal Analytics account.
Make sure that you have the necessary permissions to make changes in your Google Analytics account at the Admin level and then navigate there.
To get started, first create a new view.
It’s a best practice in GA to test new configurations like filters in a new view, instead of in your default raw data view since changes can be permanent and mistakes can be made along the way.
Select the type of view you are creating, either Website or Mobile app.
Then give it a name, and select the same regions and time zone as your main view to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples:
Google will do the bulk of the referral spam filtering work for you automatically.
Navigate to your test view View Settings and ensure that the option to Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders is selected:
By checking this off, you’ll automatically and easily be able to filter out about 75-80% of bot traffic.
Another best practice is to add an annotation to mark the date you started filtering bot traffic.
Annotations act as a helpful reference to remember significant changes over time and can help teams keep a record of these types of changes.
Next, you’ll have to do a bit of manual work to weed out any remaining spam making it through Google’s filter.
But before you can do that, you need to know which spam sites are getting in.How Do You Identify Spam Referral Traffic in GA?
If you want to see if the websites that you suspect to be spam in your Referrals report actually are, first check if they’re on this list or this list of known spam websites.
Other indicators are a bounce rate of either 0 or 100%, a session time of 0 seconds (it’s easy to see how data could become skewed with outliers like these), and a hostname referral that’s not set.
With the list of “bad referrers,” you can block them manually.
Head over to your Referrals report, and filter by descending bounce rate.
That number can vary according to your traffic volume.
In the example below 50 was used.
To identify suspected spam referral sites, use the pointers above.
It is important to roll out filtering in your test view account first.
Once these sites are filtered, they’re gone for good (so you better be damn sure that it truly is spam!).
Once you’re sure, create your list in Notepad or Text Editor so you can paste it back into GA.
Cut down all the URLs to their top-level domain (TLD).
For example, chúng tôi is an affiliate of chúng tôi so it’s better to just add chúng tôi to your potential referral exclusion list.
Now create a regular expression with your list of URLs, so it looks like the example below from Moz:
Be careful to separate websites with a pipe bar, and to add a backslash in front of the domain extension.
This will allow for other subdomains belonging to that TLD to be excluded, as well.
Now, you’re finally ready to create your filter!
Give your new filter a descriptive name like Referral Spam for easy identification later on.
Change your Filter Type to Custom, and change the Exclude Filter Field to Campaign Source (not the Referral field).
Finally, paste your pre-made list of referral spam URLs:
Once you start filtering referral spam, you can start to see how much it was and is affecting your traffic.
It could account for a fair portion of your website traffic if left unchecked, so it’s easy to see why search marketers get annoyed by it.Blocking Referral Spam Using Data Filters in Google Analytics 4
If you’ve recently started using Google Analytics, or actively migrated your Universal Analytics account, you should have a Google Analytics 4 (GA 4) property (which is now the default).
While digital marketers are going to love the new engagement tab, setting up filters for spam referrers looks different now.
Most prominently is the fact that in the new Google Analytics 4 Admin interface, the View column is no longer present.
Instead, GA 4 uses Data Streams, which does not have its own column.
With the new GA 4, marketers can create up to 10 data filters per property.
Internal traffic filters are suggested and somewhat pre-configured.
However, currently, there are only two types of filters available:
Neither of these seems appropriate for filtering external referral spam.
What’s more, if you turn to Google support for help, you find yourself in an endless loop between Google’s top-drawer banner that tells you to navigate to Google Analytics 4 support and the search bar on that page that takes you back to the Universal Analytics results for filtering referral domains.
We’ve reached out to Google to clarify exactly how to do this in GA 4, and they confirmed that it isn’t yet possible (current at time of publication).
“…since GA4 is a new upgraded product in Analytics, thus the feature i.e “Referral Exclusions” are yet to be launched in GA. Different resources have different timelines, so we cannot assure a specific date for the launch. However, I would like to inform you that the feature is being worked upon…”
While we wait for the ability to exclude referral spam in GA4, I recommend creating an old and new version of Google Analytics:
One in your legacy Universal Analytics mode.
And a new one in Google Analytics 4 mode.
Follow the instructions from the previous section in Universal Analytics to filter referral spam from your GA reports for now.
The good news is that this new iteration of Google Analytics has testing built-in, so it won’t be necessary to create new views for implementing new configurations:The Benefits of Weeding Out Referrer Spam
Clean data is everything when it comes to making meaningful and actionable conclusions based on it.
With these powerful tactics behind you, you’ll be able to filter referral spam so you can make decisions based on facts.
Since referral spam can hit lower-traffic websites even harder than larger sites, it’s important that marketing teams of all sizes stay on top of it.
That means checking for new referral spam websites regularly and adding them to your exclusion list.
Remember to keep your Universal Analytics view alive for now, until we know more about how to exclude referral spam in Google Analytics 4.
🚨 Note: All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023. That’s why it is recommended to do the GA4 migration. We’ve also created a GA4 version of this post.
Google Ads and Google Analytics are both powerful marketing tools on their own—but what if you could get the best of both worlds by connecting them?
In this guide, you’ll learn why you should link Google Ads to Google Analytics, how to do it, and how to make sense of the collected data.
An overview of what we’ll cover:
So let’s start!Why Connect Your Google Ads and Google Analytics Accounts?
Linking your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account has two major benefits that you wouldn’t be able to leverage from these tools separately.Observe the Behavior of Google Ad Traffic
Firstly, you’ll be able to track the behavior of the users that visit your website from a Google Ad.
For example, did the user visits other pages on the website? Or did they leave immediately? Are they more likely to convert than users who arrived from other sources?
You can answer all of these questions by importing Google Analytics metrics like Bounce Rate, Pages/Session, and Average Session Duration into your Google Ads account.
Thus, linking these two accounts extends your ability to track traffic and user behavior. It also tells you about the quality of traffic that you’re buying with Google Ads.Google Analytics Retargeting Audience
Secondly, you can retarget an audience from your Google Analytics account using Google Ads.
Depending on your requirements, you can create different types of audiences in Google Analytics and target them using Google Ads.
Apart from this, you can also import Analytics goals and Ecommerce transactions into your Google Ads account for better goal tracking. Similarly, you can import cross-device conversions into your Google Ads account when you activate Google signals.
So let’s see how to connect these accounts!Log In with the Same Email Address on Both Accounts
We’ll start by logging into both of our accounts.
🚨 Note: Make sure you are logged in with the same email address on your Google Ads account that you are logged in with your Google Analytics account.
First, find your Google Ads email address at the top right-hand side of the screen.
Your Google Analytics email address will be found under your account name.
Next, we’ll need to check whether we have the correct account permissions set for connecting.Check That You Have the Right Account Permissions
One major thing we need to take care of is to grant correct permissions.
Let’s see how!Google Ads Permissions
Then, check your access under Access level. You need to have Admin access level set up with your email address.Google Analytics Permissions
Go over to the Admin section at the lower left-hand side of the platform.
Under User Management, you need to have edit access to the account.Link Your Accounts Together
Check the compatibility of your Google Ads IDs.
Choose and input an account name in the Link group title field. This way, if you have multiple accounts that you connect to your Google Ads account, you can determine where this is coming from.
Choose where you want to pull data from. You are allowed to choose multiple views.
Enable auto-tagging to automatically pull data from your Google Ads account into Google Analytics.
You may also want to leave auto-tagging settings as they are, especially if you are utilizing UTM tags and you want to avoid mixing it up with the auto-tagging feature.
You may also want to try to link Google Ads and Google Analytics through Google Ads’ linking wizard.
So let’s go ahead and see how the data will look once the two accounts are linked!Looking at Live Data
Open the homepage of your Google Analytics account. You’ll be able to see all the campaigns and reports under Acquisition → Google Ads → Campaigns.
On the top of the screen, you’ll see the sales charts. It will show the number of Users vs. Transactions report of a particular timeframe for your campaign.
Going further down on the Campaigns page, you’ll see the different metrics of your campaigns.
For example, you’ll find the Cost and Revenue in this report. You’ll also see the Ecommerce Conversion Rate, Bounce Rate, Sessions, etc. for your campaigns.
Similarly, you can analyze and compare the results of different campaigns to increase their effectiveness.
For example, the bounce rate of a smart campaign can be considered good even if it’s around 80%, but the bounce rate of a shopping campaign will be considered good only if it’s really low.
You can definitely obtain revenue-related information from your Google Ads account. But when you analyze the reports with your Google Analytics account, you can make more informed decisions as you have a holistic view of data.FAQ What account permissions do I need to connect my accounts? What data can I see once my accounts are linked?
After linking your accounts, you’ll be able to see more data in both Google Ads and Google Analytics. In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition → Google Ads → Campaigns to view campaigns and reports. You’ll see sales charts, metrics like Cost, Revenue, Ecommerce Conversion Rate, Bounce Rate, and Sessions. You can analyze and compare the results of different campaigns to optimize their effectiveness.How does linking Google Ads and Google Analytics help with decision-making?
Linking the two accounts provides a holistic view of data, allowing for more informed decision-making. While revenue-related information can be obtained from Google Ads, analyzing reports in Google Analytics provides additional insights and a comprehensive understanding of user behavior, enabling better decision-making for ad campaigns.Summary
So that’s all you need to know about linking your Google Analytics account with your Google Ads account.
Have you started doing keyword research for your Google Ads campaign? Check out our handy guide on how to use Google Keyword Planner for SEO keyword research.
If you’re always going to a specific site when you turn on your computer, you might as well make it your home page. Every browser comes with the ability to set a custom home page. The process doesn’t take very long on major browsers, and it’s also beginner friendly.Setting a Custom Home Page on Firefox
Once you’ve added the address of the page you want as your new homepage, restart Firefox, and the first page you will see will be your new home page. Don’t bother looking for a save button, as there isn’t one.Change Homepage in Opera Add Custom Homepage in Safari (iPad)
Things work a little differently when it comes to adding a custom homepage in mobile Safari. Open Safari and go to the homepage URL that you want to add. Tap on the first icon at the top right (the square with an arrow pointing up).
Swipe left and select the option that says “Add to Home Screen.” The window will change, and it will now show you the site’s URL. You should see a blue Add option at the top right.
Safari will close all of a sudden. Don’t panic, as this is normal. Go to your iPad’s home screen, and a shortcut to your new custom homepage will appear.Adding a New Custom Home Page in Microsoft Edge Adding a Custom Home Page in Chrome Conclusion
The steps to make a specific site your home page are short and easy to follow. Since every browser is designed differently, the steps will differ slightly. The above instructions should allow you to set a custom home page on various browsers.
Just a simple guy that can’t enough of Technology in general and is always surrounded by at least one Android and iOS device. I’m a Pizza addict as well.
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On Windows 11, “Snap Layouts” is a feature (part of Snap Assist) that brings a visual aid to snap windows on the screen more efficiently by hovering over the maximize button or dragging a window to the top of the screen. The caveat with this solution is that you can only snap windows with a predefined set of layouts, depending on the size and aspect ratio of the screen.
Since Snap Layouts are limited and you cannot edit the layouts, you will need to use an alternative solution to create custom layouts to snap windows on your computer, which is when “FancyZones” comes in handy.
FancyZones is a tool part of the PowerToys app that allows you to manage windows on Windows 11 and 10. However, unlike Snap Layouts, with FancyZones, you can create custom layouts and access more customization settings that allow you to snap windows exactly the way you like to make you more productive. Although you can use this tool on any display, it is especially useful for large monitors or multi-monitor setups since you can create unique layouts per display.
In this guide, you will learn how to use the FancyZones feature in PowerToys to manage window layouts on Windows 11.Create custom snap layouts on Windows 11
FancyZones allows you to create layouts to snap windows with pre-defined layout templates, but you can also create custom layouts with the editor. However, you must first install PowerToys on Windows 11 (or Windows 10).
To create custom snap layouts on Windows 11 with FancyZones, use these steps:
Turn on the Enable FancyZones toggle switch (if applicable).
Select the monitor to create the snap layout with FancyZones if you have more than one monitor.
(Optional) Select one of the available layout templates, including Focus, Columns, Rows, Grid, or Priority Grid.
Confirm a name for the layout – for example, My Custom Layout.
Select the layout type. The “Grid” creates horizontal or vertical layouts, and the “Canvas” (recommended) option helps you to create layouts freely.
Position the snap zone in the location you want and resize it like any other window using the mouse.
Repeat steps 9 and 10 to create additional zones depending on the number of windows you want to snap on the screen.
Once you complete the steps, the layout will be set up, and you can start dropping windows on each zone. You would do this by holding down the Shift key, dragging, and dropping the window to its position.Customize FancyZones settings
The FancyZones tool includes several settings you can customize to control the layouts and windows behaviors. You can adjust these settings to your preferences, but you will get recommendations of the best settings you should consider enabling in the instructions below.
To customize the FancyZones settings for the best snapping experience on Windows 11, use these steps:
Under the “Zone” section, check the “Hold the Shift key to activate zones while dragging” option to snap windows using your custom layouts.
Under the “Window behavior” section, check the following options:
Keep Windows in their zones when the screen resolution changes.
During zone layout changes, windows assigned to a zone will match new size/positions.
Move newly created windows to their last known zone.
Turn on the “Override Windows Snap” toggle switch to use the Windows key + arrow shortcuts to snap windows.
Check the “Move windows between zones across all monitors” option.
Under the “Excluded apps” section, you can specify the name of the app you do not want to snap on zones when using the Snap Assist feature.
After you complete the steps, the windows manager feature will behave according to your settings selection.
🚨 Note: All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023. That’s why it’s recommended to do the GA4 migration.
When a user converts on your website, they often go through a journey of channels—and as a marketer, your job is to track this journey accurately.
Assisted conversions are a great way to understand the channels that support user conversions, even if those channels don’t directly participate in the final interaction.
In this guide, we’ll learn how to use the assisted conversions report in Google Analytics to leverage our marketing efforts.
An overview of what we’ll cover:
So let’s dive in!What Are Assisted Conversions, and Why Use Them?
Assisted conversions are interactions that lead to the conversion but aren’t the main source or conversion point for the audience.
Thus, all interactions on a conversion path (except the last interaction) are assisted conversions.
Google Analytics provides a report on assisted conversions. To access it, you can go to Conversions → Multi-Channel Funnels → Top Conversion Paths in your account.
You can select the Path Length and type of transaction in this report. For our report, let’s select the Path Length of 6 and select Transaction under E-commerce.
The results of this report show the path of the channels a user visited before converting.
To get a more granular view of these reports, we’ll shift our Primary dimension from the multi-channel funnel—the MCF Channel Grouping Path—to the Source Medium Path.
This will give a path of all the channels visited by the user before converting.
Note that all the reports of Google Analytics relating to Acquisition apply a standard attribution model. As per this model, the report gives conversion credit only to the last channel on the path and ignores all the previous sources.
This means, in our example, the credit for this conversion will be given to chúng tôi , ignoring all the previous channels.
But for a marketer, the other sources that facilitated the user to the final conversion are still important for tracking purposes. We can track these sources in two ways—using an Attribution Model or Assisted Conversions.
The Assisted Conversion model is quite old in Google Analytics. It counts every conversion that was not the last conversion as an assisted conversion.
Thus, in our example, all the other 5 channels out of the 6 will be considered assisted conversions. However, if a channel is occurring more than once, then it will only be counted once.In Short, Assisted Conversions Are Funnel Steps
To summarize, the last channel gets the credit for the conversion, whereas all the other unique channels before the last one get credit for the assisted conversion. Thus, every channel in the path gets some credit for the final conversion.
Google Analytics has an entire report dedicated to assisted conversions.
Let’s take a look!The Assisted Conversions Report in Google Analytics
In your Google Analytics account, open the reports from Conversions → Multi-Channel Funnels → Assisted Conversions.
Next, filter the type of conversion. For our example, we’ll select E-commerce → Transaction.
And again, select the Primary Dimension as Source/Medium.
This report shows the number of Assisted Conversions for each channel in the first data column. This includes any source that appeared at least once in a user’s conversion path.
Our main focus, however, will not be the volumes of these two conversions, but rather the ratio of these conversions.
Let’s see how this ratio is significant for marketers!The Assisted Conversions / Direct Conversions Ratio
The Assisted Conversions / Direct Conversions ratio tells us the position of the assisting channel in the conversion path.
We can classify this ratio into three categories—significantly less than 1, close to 1, and significantly more than 1.
The first category (significantly less than 1) suggests that the assisting channel is towards the end of the conversion path.
The second category includes the ratio which is almost 1. This suggests that the channel is equally an assisting channel and the last channel of conversion.
The third category includes the ratio which is significantly more than 1. This suggests that the channel is mostly an assisting source for conversion and occurs at the beginning of the conversion path.
Clearly, the ratio suggests the effectiveness of the channel in converting the user. Thus, it can help you boost your conversions—if you use it wisely.How to Use The Assisted Conversions / Direct Conversions Ratio
With this ratio, you can decide the type of communication you want to present to the user based on the position of the channel in the conversion path.
For example, if you have an extensive email campaign running from your channel, you’d want the call to action to be towards the end of the conversion path. Thus, the selected channel should have a ratio significantly less than 1.
On the other hand, if you know that a source is typically at the beginning of the conversion path, you might want to change the message you convey on that channel.
You’d only try to persuade the user to move forward on the conversion path, rather than constantly sending a hard-selling message. Such sources will have a ratio significantly more than 1.
You can also use the volume of assisted conversions to decide the marketing message.
A higher volume of assisted conversions tells us that a particular channel is trying to bring a greater audience to our website for the first or second time.
This channel may not convert the audience, but it will help to increase our reach.FAQ How do I access the assisted conversions report in Google Analytics?
To access the assisted conversions report in Google Analytics, follow these steps:What information does the Assisted Conversions report provide?
The Assisted Conversions report shows:Can I track assisted conversions using an attribution model other than the Assisted Conversions report?
Yes, you can use different attribution models in Google Analytics to track and analyze assisted conversions. The Assisted Conversions report is just one way to gain insights into the contribution of various channels.Summary
So that’s everything you need to know about the assisted conversions report in Google Analytics!
Assisted conversions are the channels that facilitate user conversion. They are one of the important factors to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. The metrics on the Assisted Conversions report in Google Analytics tell us about the contribution of each channel in the final conversion.
Once you set this up, you can also learn some other tracking techniques in Google Analytics to measure the success of your campaigns.
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