What are Parameters?
Parameters are used as a convenient way of transferring data from one URL page to another. Parameters like primary and key values are passed across site pages to ensure that previous search details are not lost when the user visits another page. Taking an ecommerce site as an example, if a size is selected, a size filter parameter will be added to the URL as the a user continues to search.
In the below example, the user has selected size 38 selected in a shoes category. A size filter has been added, changing the URL.
How do they Affect Google Analytics Reporting?
However useful these parameters are for the user, they can pose problems when it comes to delivering reports to clients. When reviewing page/category/product performance in GA, you are often faced with data on various different URLs for one page. This makes reporting to non-technical departments difficult, and we have found that the overwhelming amount of information can it can sideline the use of GA, making the client less inclined to pay attention to important data.
It is important for a GA user to understand that URL parameters can be of great use when it comes to understanding what information is being passed across. Amongst many other things, URL parameters can be used to identify what users are interacting with and can give great insight into what is being searched and how many pages are being viewed within a category But for the purpose of top level reporting and more detailed top level insight, a roll up filter profile should be created.
In order to create a roll up with GA, a new reporting profile should be created. Once this profile is created, the breakdown of all parameter strings should be listed. This can be done by reviewing the Pages breakdown in your main GA profile. which can be found under Standard Reporting > Content > Site Content > Pages
This will give you a breakdown of all URLs that are being viewed with the parameters you wish to remove. You will need to show the maximum amount of rows and export all pages into Excel.
From this, you will need to list all parameters from these Excel sheets; you will see that many of the URLs contain the same parameters. It is very easy for an Excel expert to pull them out automatically.
Once you have extracted the lists of parameters, you will need to place them in the following format, ready to place into GA.
It is important to note that each parameter is separated by a comma (,) there is no space between them and that the last parameter does not have a comma at the end.
You will then need to import these into your new reporting profile. In order to remove these filters, you have to visit the admin section of your site
Then select Profile Settings
You will then need to view “Exclude URL Query Parameters” and paste your query parameters into the box. Finally, click “Apply” at the bottom of the Profile Settings section.
This will then remove the parameters from the moment you apply the changes. It is also important to note that if you find you have missed a query parameter, all you need to do is add it to the Exclude URL Query Parameters section and they will be filtered going forward. You will then start collecting data in a cleaner, rolled up, top level way.
4Ps isn’t just another performance marketing agency. To discuss how analytics and content are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and tracking technology, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels. What could 4Ps-led data insights do for your business?