Advanced Google Analytics Content Follows
We have been working with a number of clients who have quite complex goals and conversion funnels....and no staging/test environments. These clients are quite challenging when it comes to refining and testing their goals and filters. As is best practice we always create specific profiles for testing filters and goals. What
we have also done and what I'd like to share today, is our technique for goal and filter calibration.
Calibration Requirements and Challenges
Calibrating a goal or filter in a live environment whilst not impacting a client's GA data set is tricky - more so in high traffic environments. Knowing that a goal or filter works accurately is essential though. We have developed a simple filter based on the IP address exclusion filter most people use already to facilitate calibration. The 'Exclude all traffic from an IP address' filter is provided by default. What we want to do though, is to include data for traffic only from a specific IP address so that we can hit one page, follow one journey through the site or hit the site using a particular user agent and be certain only our traffic hits our profile. This way we know exactly what traffic the goals and filters based on those criteria are going to receive and we know what results to expect - easy calibration.
Setup a new profile to test this
Say we want to test a newsletter signup goal for a new client. First of all we create a new profile for the site in question called something like 'Signup Goal Calibration'.
Setup the filter
Having created the profile, the only traffic I want to appear in that profile is from my PC - let's say by going to http://whatsmyip.org/ or similar that my address is 188.8.131.52 (randomly chosen as an example). I create a new filter called 'CALIBRATION - CAUTION'. The caution note should advise careful use
of this filter...it's potentially quite destructive.
Now, the calibration filter is a custom filter that includes traffic based on 'Visitor IP Address' and the filter pattern would be something like '83\.215\.34\.12'. Of course, a range could be used here but the tighter the range the better when calibrating exercise. So, the filter is applied to the profile and now only I can hit the site and have my traffic data appear in the calibration profile. I can hit the site once, leave - come back after x hours and expect to see 2 visits, 2 page views etc. etc. I would compare the traffic in my calibration profile to other profiles to be 100% certain that the traffic is only me. Perhaps even fabricate a set of UTM tags to fake a spurious traffic source that only I would come from. Basically be certain that your calibration filter is water tight. Now I can follow the newsletter signup user journey and wait for my goal results to appear. Hurrah, the goal works. Now I can try other goals and filters and test them scientifically.
Rinse and Repeat as they say...
Depending on your preferences and need for speed, you may also want to use setVar to set the user defined parameter to a unique value for you and segment the traffic based on that value. This neat alternative was pointed out to me by Robbin from Lunametrics - thanks!
CTO Moneyspyder (Google Analytics Authorised Consultant)
Google Analytics Consultant