Filtering out hostname spam in Google Analytics

This is the weirdest kind of spam, I guess that's what it is; Intended to make the people who read the reports check the fake sounding hostnames? Probably so they can get a drive-by infection - makes sense I guess since these are people with websites, quite a good target.

I made a regular expression to help me filter out hostname spam from my reports:

First I exclude my own sites using this regex, the customisations are mostly to deal with .com and .co since many of my sites use the quite unique NZ TLD:

localhost|.nz$|tomachi.co$|(damnative|triptonites|carbonmade|boomboom|design|youtube|googleusercontent|sites.google).com$|.fritz.box$|.guru$|.dev$|auctiontix.net$

This provides a filtered 5 year view with these spam domains showing - great!

Hostname Spam in Google Analytics

Hostname Spam in Google Analytics

From here I created the following regex to outright block TLDs that I don't use, and even the (not set) hostnames I found:

not set|us$|cn$|\.ru$|info$|eu$|br

Luckily the block known bots feature works so well, and removes the need for this type of action, however, this can be useful for looking at historic reports.

GA Bot Filtering

GA Bot Filtering

GMail Business Tips

I'm gonna hit you with the creme de la creme of what I've learnt about email and business, here goes...
  • Consider using GMail.com as your main UI (seems you already mite!)
  • Learn the shortcuts, they need to be enabled first in settings (Cog symbol top right corner)
  • Shortcuts best to learn:
    • Go to Inbox: GI
    • Reply: R
    • Trash: #
    • Spam: !
    • Scroll focus up and down: J K
    • Decrease / Increase importance: - =
  • Install Undo Send in gmail amazing useful
  • Install Sidekick to see when people open and click your email
  • Use Google Analytics tracking URLs in your email signature links (like I do)
  • Use a Google Analytics invisible tracking pixel in your email signature (like I do)
  • I can now create an "audience" which is people whom have opened by email (I think)
  • Put tracking in a "rollup" Google Analytics account that is on *all* your web properties as a secondary custom-named tracker, useful for "sans-website" sources/platforms, and cross-domain tracking (Hey I got off-topic, man I love analytics too much)
  • Setup Canned Responses for use during longer personal emails:
    • your email, bank account, common URLs, Facebook/Google plus URLs, maps
    • jam your address in there, makes it quick to dump in later from that palette
  • You can then use filters to automatically send any of your preset Canned Responses, I used this once when I was looking for flatmate from a craigslist-like site (TradeMe) - too many responses so I had them fill out a Google Forms form first 🙂
  • See if you can filter by "Unsubscribe" and automatically label these as Newsletters
    • If it works well you can make it Skip Inbox

Startup Lead Generation Remarketing Audiences

For new/low traffic sites - a good minimal audience set

All Users is everyone who visits my site in 30 days - the default audience automatically created by GA.

Then I make two, in this case 90 day audiences: In cases like the one below where I do not have any previous conversion data, I'll usually add a "15 minute visit" goal especially for new and low traffic sites just starting out. Until I have email/phone link click tracking I'll put View Contact Page as an audience too. These time to lives should be reduced to 30 days once you have better conversion tracking in place and/or the startup has some customer base already.

Startup Lead Gen Audiences

Startup Lead Gen Audiences

 

 

Track Email Opens with Google Analytics Static Image Tag

The idea: since you can't put Google Analytics into an email, because it's based on Javascript which you can't run there, put an image pixel tracker into your email signature instead.

<img src="https://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&tid=UA-XXXXXXX-1&cid=69696969&t=event&ec=email&ea=open&el=recipient_id&cs=TomsEmailSignature&cm=email&cn=TomsEmailSignature&dp=/virtual/email-open&dl=rollup.tomachi.co">

Some useful customisations worth mentioning

Document Path: 

To set a virtual page, I always use /virtual/email-open with this: &dp=/virtual/email-open

To set a virtual domain, lets say rollup.tomachi.co use: &dl=rollup.tomachi.co

Pixel here: .

 

Read more: http://dyn.com/blog/tracking-email-opens-via-google-analytics/