You Cut Quite a Profile

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 | 4:35 PM

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Editor's Note: This post is the first of a regular series of guest-authored posts with our Google Analytics Authorized Consultants, who are certified by Google to offer support and consultation to Google Analytics customers.

This first post is written by
LunaMetrics in Pittsburgh. Learn how to use Google Analytics from set-up to analysis at their one-day training, "Getting ahead with Google Analytics," on October 3 in Washington, D.C. Sign up here, and read on to learn a useful technique for seeing segments of traffic.

In Google Analytics, it's easy to isolate segments of your traffic such as paid traffic, or organic traffic, new visitors or returning, Firefox users or Safari users using a specific report (such as New vs. Returning) or the Dimension drop down menu within reports. Obviously, you want to see how different visitors behave and how your online campaigns and search engine optimization efforts are paying off. But sometimes, you may want to really be able to inspect this data easily within all Google Analytics reports for a website. You may have a question that Google Analytics answers for the whole site, but you want to know it for only a specific segment. In that case, set up a few profiles which filter down to these segments for your site.

For starters, what does setting up duplicate profiles mean? After you set up your Google Analytics, you can go into the Analytic Settings and choose Add Website Profile. You get the choice of adding a profile for a new domain, or for an existing domain. If you choose "existing," you don't have to do any additional work to your site, but you now have a second place to look at the exact same data, and you can play with it any way you want.

A previous post on this blog, Experiment using different profiles, detailed how to create duplicate profiles for your data manipulation enjoyment. Go crazy with filters! :-) Since you can create 50 profiles in a Google Analytics account, multiple profiles are a good way to view your data through different lenses and isolate certain segments.

Once you've learned to use multiple profiles and see data this way, you have the ability to learn more from your analytics. For example, you can create a profile that only shows paid traffic and you know that the Map Overlay report is only showing that visitor segment. In another example, you might need to know how visitors from a certain campaign reacted to the steps you set up in one of your funnels. Create another profile, filtering in only the campaign you care about, and looking at the Defined Funnel Navigation report.

This is semi-advanced stuff, but just remember to leave at least one "real" profile where you don't filter at all. That way, you can work on the others without making mistakes on the data that you are relying on to guide your website decisions. Not sure if that Regular Expression or filter are going to capture exactly the right data? Set them up on your sandbox profile and see if they work. Some of the other Google Analytics Authorized Consultants told us they set up a sandbox profile for every "real" profile whenever they configure a new customer's account, so that both profiles have the same data history.

Profiles enable you to test theories. Maybe you don't understand why your visitors are behaving in a certain way that shows up in your "real" profile -- but have five potential answers. Set up a profile that includes only yourself, using filters. Then try all the strange things your customers may have done and see if your sandbox profile will duplicate the real profile.

Here at LunaMetrics, there are 10 profiles that we set up for almost every client website right off the bat. You can see them below in an example which uses www.googlestore.com (you'll need to customize and troubleshoot the filters mentioned at the bottom to your own campaigns and site):


And here they are in detail. Most of the filters are custom include filters:
  1. No Filters: Profile with zero filters. Use this for troubleshooting.
  2. Only Direct: Include filter for the field "Campaign Source" only equaling the pattern "direct" visitors
  3. Only Internal: Use an include filter which will include only traffic from internal IP ranges on IP address.
  4. Only New Visitors: Include filter on the field "Visitor Type" equal to "new"
  5. Only Organic: Include filter where the filter field is on "Campaign Medium" and the pattern is "organic"
  6. Only Paid Search: Include filter on "Campaign Medium" equaling the pattern "ppc|cpc"
  7. Only Referral: Include filter on "Campaign Medium" equaling "referral"
  8. Only Returning Visitors: Include filter on "Visitor Type" equaling "returning"
  9. Organic And Paid: Include filter combining the above two filters for "Only Organic" and "Only Paid Search" to include all search engine traffic
  10. Overall: All traffic except filter out internal IP ranges using the "Exclude all traffic from an IP address filter."
Here's a screenshot of the filter for the "Only New Visitors" profile mentioned above.
Many of you are probably only managing one website, and can quickly set these profiles up manually. We were doing this manually at first but as we added more and more clients, we created an iMacros script to actually set up these profiles and filters automatically. If you're interested in learning about it, feel free to contact us or attend the training in Washington, D.C. on October 3.