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This is the second in the UX insights for education series. You will want to read the first post about setting yourself up for success before coming back to this.
Once you have Google Analytics (or your preferred analytics platform) installed you will also want to make sure you have clean and insightful data coming in. There are two main ways to do this: filters and event tracking. One example would be using a filter to make sure sources and mediums are standardized. If you’re using custom UTM on links you might see the same source or medium show up twice, once capitalized and once not. You can add a filter to change these to a standardized casing.
To set up a filter you will need to open the Admin tab and in the View section you will select Filters. When you first start using filters it’s recommended to create a new view to test filters before adding them to your primary view. It’s also good to maintain an unfiltered view of all of your traffic, just in case.
Here are a few suggestions for filters you can try out in your test view.
Filter: Force case
The first filter to try is also the easiest. You can force the source, medium, or campaign to be upper or lower case using a custom filter. Select Lowercase or Uppercase in the custom filter type and choose the field to act upon. This will ensure that Niche and niche will be treated as one source rather than two.
Filter: Show the full URL
Who enjoys looking at traffic from “/” or “/apply” when going through your analytics? You will constantly be fielding questions from others on campus about what pages they are. You can display the full URL in Google Analytics using a little more complicated filter.
This will require the Advanced filter to pull in the
hostname to preface the
request-URI that is displayed in Google Analytics. This filter overwrites the
request-URI, so it’s extremely important to use this only in a test view first. This will make your reports and dashboards easier to read and provide more value when shared with those who don’t live in the Analytics.
Filter: Aggregate social media
Several of the big social media sites use multiple domains, which winds up dividing their traffic across several lines in your reports. If you have ever spent time adding together m.facebook, l.facebook, lm.facebook (and the 40 others that have been seen) you will know the headache this causes. There’s a good reason they do this, it’s a process called link shimming that checks links to make sure they are not malicious before sending users over.
This filter uses the Search and Replace filter and regex code to combine several subdomains into one. Over time there may need to be edits as different subdomains crop up. Here are three that may be of use for you:
There are a lot of other filters you can use, such as removing internal traffic (which I prefer to do with segments, more on that in the next part) and doing a search and replace on terms. If you would like to connect and talk more, you can find me on LinkedIn or Twitter.