Remove Facebook Parameters and Clean Up Google Analytics

Posted on April 14, 2013 in

Are you dealing with Google Analytics treating one page like it is 1000 different URLs? This problem is created by ugly URL(s). An ugly URL is anything that comes after a question mark (?) in a URL. Plenty of reasons why you may need to use those types of parameters, but it can make for tracking data in GA troublesome. In this instance, it happens when someone hits the Facebook Like button on content on your site.

facebook

How Google Analytics Logs a Pageview

GA ignores the domain and looks at the remaining URI path to determine a unique page. So when looking at the URL patth, the query string parameters, even though it’s the same content, Google Analytics will assume it’s a unique page.

For example, even though these two pages serve up the same content and having different “tracking codes” attached to them, they will be logged as different pages. As a result of this, GA is cluttered with thousands if unique pageviews that don’t really exist and provide no value to your business.

www.example.com/some-page?fb_action_ids=123

www.example.com/some-page?fb_action_ids=456

NOTE: These query string parameters may actually provide value to your business. Maybe they identify different products or different tracking codes. In the scenario we are exploring here, the problem revolves around the Facebook social sharing.

Let’s Clean House

Simplifying your Analytics profile is pretty easy. Just in case you are nervous about losing or discarding data you care about, it’s just as easy to create a new Google Analytics profile. Or maybe you want one profile that has all this Facebook query parameters in it, and one that doesn’t.

In the Profile Settings of your new or existing Google Analytics profile, copy the following string and paste it into your “Exclude URL Query Parameters” text area:

fb_action_ids, fb_action_types, fb_source, action_object_map, action_type_map, action_ref_map

exclude-facebook-query-parameters

 

Apply your chances and wait for some data to pour in to your newly updated profile. As new users click “Like” on your content, it should start reporting cleaner URL(s) in GA and keep every neat and tidy. Be aware though, Google Analytics does not reprocess data. In other words, likes you received previous to this profile update will not be affected, but from here on out, you should start seeing cleaner landing page traffic in regards to Facebook like traffic.

 

 

By Nathan Byloff

Nathan is the CTO for RankHammer. His area of expertise is technical SEO and everything to do with data - collection, analysis, etc. He is driven by automating any reporting task that has to be done more than once.
  • FilipeRosenbrock

    thank you

  • MattiasLindgren

    You should also ad the parameter fb_ref

  • MattiasLindgren Good call. Will add this weekend.