If you’ve landed here, you’re probably a little confused and maybe even disappointed about some recent changes in Google Analytics regarding network domain and service provider.
So, let’s all take a moment to mourn the loss of some of your favorite Google Analytics dimensions: network domain and service provider.
Why were these dimensions removed from Google Analytics? Nobody really knows. This change was made swiftly and with basically no warning. But, where there used to be data now all you’re left with is this:
Typically, when dimensions are depreciated in Google Analytics, users are given a significant heads up. However, that was not the case for two of our favorite dimensions that found themselves depreciated in February of 2020. The service provider and network domain dimensions were replaced with “not set” at that time, which came as a shock to a lot of people.
Users immediately started looking for answers about whether this was a temporary issue (perhaps a processing error) or a permanent change made by Google. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the latter.
Let’s explore the loss of these dimensions and discuss some possible workarounds that you can implement today.
Why Is This an Issue?
So, you have certainly noticed that these dimensions have been done away with, but you may be unsure of how their loss can impact you. Unfortunately, these were very helpful dimensions for a lot of users, so their loss can be felt in some pretty major ways.
Namely, this is an issue for people using these dimensions for bot/spam traffic filtering, lead generation, and internal traffic filtering. Let’s take a look at each of these uses to help understand how your Google Analytics property has been affected in their absence.
One of the main reasons why people were so upset over the loss of the service provider and network domain dimensions is because they were very helpful for filtering out bots and spam referral traffic.
Previously, you could simply set up a View in Universal Analytics to exclude this traffic with an ISP organization filter. You could also simply look at your reports to see if there was a suspicious-looking ISP generating a lot of traffic.
Additionally, many larger companies have their ISP set up as their company name. Thanks to this, organizations could see which pages certain companies were viewing and engaging with. As a result, companies could come up with appropriate leads simply by viewing how other businesses were interacting with their site.
Internal Traffic Filtering
Finally, another popular use of the service provider and network domain dimensions was to help organizations filter out internal traffic. If your organization has your ISP set as your company name, then filtering out your internal traffic was easy as pie before. You could just exclude your company name by using a View Filter, and Poof! No more internal traffic skewing your metrics.
What Are Some Workarounds?
Because the service provider and network domain dimensions were so helpful, a lot of people were not happy when they were depreciated. Trust us: We feel your pain here. That’s why we’ve come up with a few workarounds for you.
Here are three tips for making up for the loss of your service provider and network domain dimensions:
1. If the issue you’re having is that you need to filter out internal traffic, you’re in luck! The best way to filter out internal traffic when you’re using Universal Analytics is to set up View Filters. While you won’t be able to filter out quite as easily as before when you could see your named ISP, you can still filter out internal traffic using your IP address in a fairly straightforward way.
We’ve already created a post to help you set up View Filters for filtering out internal traffic that you can read here. (Keep in mind that if you’ve switched over from using Universal Analytics to GA4, you won’t be able to set up View Filters, as they’ve done away with View Filters in GA4.)
Thankfully, there is a free version that you can try, but keep in mind that it’s limited to 30K hits every month. Still, this can be a solid workaround if your website doesn’t generate a ton of traffic.
3. Finally, if you were using your service provider and network domain dimensions for lead generation, the best solution for your company is to purchase a premium subscription for a tool that can help break down your B2B interactions. There are a lot of options available, but a couple of the best ones are LeadFeeder and SalesPanel.
These tools allow you to see which companies visit your website and how they interact with your content. Yes, you’ll have to pay for your subscription, but it could be worth it if this was already a standard sales channel for you.
Farewell to Service Provider and Network Domain Dimensions
The loss of service provider and network domain dimensions was a shock to many Google Analytics users.
Unfortunately, the service provider and network domain dimensions were very helpful for a lot of users. Many organizations used them for generating new leads, filtering out internal traffic, and identifying bot/spam referral traffic.
If you’re still missing these dimensions, we feel your pain.
However, as they have been permanently done away with, you’ll have to look for new ways to make your data work for you. Using View Filters to help you filter out internal traffic is an excellent way to make sure your own employees aren’t skewing your metrics.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve come up with any additional ways to make up for the loss of your service provider and network domain dimensions!