Profiles are an integral and sometimes underutilized part of a Google Analytics tracking campaign. A profile is, in a nutshell, segmented data – and segmentation is your key to insight when you are using Analytics. For example, say you are inspecting a funnel visualization report, and it turns out that visitors coming to you organically seem to be performing much better than your paid traffic. By breaking this chunk of data down into segments: paid and organic, you can compare these two groups, hone in on the funnel, and see what is specifically going on that is causing your organic visitors to convert, or what is preventing paid from completing the conversion. If you are new to Google Analytics, you might not know that you are unable to segment your funnel visualization report using the ordinary tools. How do you get a look at this segmented traffic then? Funny you should ask: profiles!
Not only are profiles a way to view segmented data to gain insight, they are an indispensable tool for protecting your Analytics data and controlling access to who may see what. Your Google Analytics campaign will run much more smoothly if you take the time to structure your account properly with users, profiles and filters. Furthermore, you can’t reprocess historical data when you create a new profile when you use Google Analytics, so it’s best to set up a couple of essential profiles from day one.
These are some essential profiles that you should have, as suggested by Justin Cutroni, Analytics expert:
Raw Data Profile
This is a profile with absolutely no configuration. It’s an unmodified profile to use if your other profiles might ever fail.
This, like the raw data profile, shouldn’t be altered in any way, but the data should be refined, with nice filters and profile settings. Here are some filters you will want to use to clean up your data on the master profile:
• Use a filter to exclude traffic sent from your place of business. When your employees utilize the company website, or outside contractors work on the site, this inflates your Analytics reports, and it’ll cause you a lot of grief further down the line if this data doesn’t get refined right away. You can do this with a predefined filter – choose “exclude” “traffic from IP” then choose “address that are equal to.” In the box, fill in your IP address. Be sure to include filters for any IP address that would inflate your data, such as your home address IP, or the IP from that freelancer who has been back on forth on your site fifty times this hour.
• Use a filter to secure your data. Google Analytics tracking code appears in plain text. A malicious visitor need only view the HTML on his page, and install it on a different website to inflate the data within your profiles. This is a long shot, but it would be time intensive to sort everything out and it’s easy to include this. Add a new predefined filter, select “Include” “traffic from domains that are equal to,” and in the box put in “example.com” (Your website)
• Use a filter to force your request URI to lowercase to normalize the data on your reports. Add a new custom filter, choose “lower case”, and for the filter field choose “request URI.”
• Use a filter to force your campaign data to lowercase to normalize it. Force your campaign parameters, campaign name, medium, source, term and content to lowercase. This should round your master profile out nicely.
Filtered Profiles for Restricted Access
You won’t want everyone looking at your reports to be able to see everything. Figure out what filtered reports you will need and restrict this view to your user. For example, you might not want to show a user from across country data that is affiliated with your geographic region.
Tip: Remember that in the most successful companies, everyone is a marketer. When we break down data silos and give people access to this priceless data it boosts productivity and encourages introspection. Dashboards and filtered profiles are great ways to accomplish this. For example, the tech team could help the SEO team by examining technical Analytics data and determining what may be slowing down the site.
Use those Profiles for Segmentation
Just as mentioned in the initial example about segmentation, use filters to obtain segmented views of reports you need to see. So if you wanted to see that funnel visualization report, create a profile for this, add a custom filter, choose include field: campaign medium. Under pattern, select organic.
Create profiles for campaigns, sources, mediums and more to drill down and really dive into your data. Profiles can secure your Analytics information, structure your account, and can help you normalize your report data and deliver more insight into your reports, so be sure to use them today.