Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Web Communication WSU Analytics

WSUWP Platform analytics now tracked with Google Tag Manager

The plugin managing analytics on the WSUWP platform has been updated to use Google Tag Manager (GTM) as its method for tracking site, application and global analytics. This change affects sites hosted on the central WordPress platform and is not yet a suggested change for other WSU sites.

Managing these Google Analytics tracking IDs through GTM allows us to make changes to how events are tracked in a central area without requiring code level changes across all WSU sites. Our hope is that experimenting with GTM on WSUWP Platform sites now will allow us to have a more robust tracking system deployed in 2017.

No actual changes have been made to how the data is being collected. When these changes are made, we’ll communicate them here so that you’re familiar with the reporting possibilities for your site.

The Google Tag Manager interface only affects how the data is collected. To see a site’s analytics, you will still use the standard Google Analytics interface.

If you notice any issues with analytics tracking on your site, please reach out via Slack, Open Lab, or email to Bob Frank and we can work with you to make any required changes.

Spambot / Ghost Filter Expanded – Deployment Recommended

Google Analytics ghost filter

A dramatic increase in spambot / ghost referral traffic was noticed over the past two months in Google Analytics reports. To block the spambot / ghost data from corrupting your sites’ analytics, a substantially expanded spambot / ghost filter was developed and tested.

The previous filter was designed to stop about 25 of the biggest spambot / ghost offenders. The new filter is designed to stop about 225 of the leading culprits.

Web Communication will continue to monitor GA data/reports for new spambot/ghost offenders, and eventually will create a second filter. (We hit Google’s character limitation with this expansion.)

Website/Google Analytics account managers are strongly encouraged to deploy the updated filter as soon as possible. (Please note: Departments that are partnering with Web Communications to help maintain Google Analytics accounts/properties have already had their spambot/ghost filters updated.)

If you are maintaining your own GA accounts/properties, here are the steps involved. (Estimated time: 1-2 minutes)

  • Log into your Google Analytics account.
  • Select a Google Analytics account.
  • Click on “All Filters.”
  • Select the ‘referral spam bots ghosts’ filter.
  • Highlight and DELETE the old “Filter Pattern.”
  • Copy and paste in the following filter pattern in the same field:

(.*(rich|uptim|websi|money|rank|site-|seo|keyword|sexy|share|search|traffic|porn|-?social-?|-button|o-o-|semalt|Get-Free|buttons-|darodar|cookie-law|compliance-|law-|ilove).*)\.(com|net|org|biz|co|es|online|info)|.*\.(xyz|it|рф|top|xn|me|ga|рф|cf|ro|ru)

  • Check the first and last characters to make sure the entire filter pattern was accepted, and nothing was cut off.
  • Click ‘Save’.
  • Exit the account.

Thank you for your help in keeping WSU analytics accurate.

**Special thanks to Jeremy Bass for his expert coding in creating this filter.

Analytics properties linked to Search Console

google_search_console_image

Over the next few weeks, Web Communications will be “associating” Google Analytics properties (within the *.wsu.edu family) with their corresponding Webmaster Tools / Search Console accounts. About 40 associations have been completed so far.

The natural response: ‘So what? What is that going to do for me?’

The Search Console allows website/GA owners to better see:

  • What pages have been indexed on your site
  • What domains link to your site
  • Errors encountered by web crawlers
  • The crawl rate of your site
  • Your website’s performance in Google organic searches
  • More data regarding keywords, landing pages, devices, etc.

Please note: This step, to associate GA properties with their Webmaster Tools/Search Console, is being performed only on Google Analytics accounts over which the site owners have granted Web Communication access and permission to help. Site owners who maintain their own GA accounts, without Web Communications assistance, might want to take this step on their own, in order to benefit from the additional analytics data.

For additional information, see https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/4559176

A global analytics dashboard for WSU

We’ve been pounding the University pavement over the last several months in an attempt to consolidate the ways that groups track web analytics. As more and more groups apply a unified analytics configuration to their Google Analytics accounts, we’re able to see a better picture of how the web is used at WSU.

Today we launched analytics.wsu.edu, our global analytics dashboard, so that everyone can see some of the basic usage data being captured.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 2.37.48 PM

Counts for “people on WSU websites now“, “Visits Today“, and Top Pages” are updated every minute. Counts for “Top Domains” and the data under “Visits in the Past 90 Days” are updated every morning.

Having this data available is good for a few reasons:

  • Designers and developers working on University websites now have a way to quickly view recent browser and operating system statistics. This helps to make more informed decisions around what technology to use and support.
  • We’re able to see the depth of the web within the University at a glance and compare the popularity of different domains over time. We also see what’s popular in the moment. Even today after we first fired the site up, we were intrigued by some of the current hot spots.
  • Because it’s cool. 🙂

Leaving your browser window open for several minutes can be a lot of fun as you see the various pages that become popular and then drop off.

A lot of work went into the data. Herding analytics settings across a University is not an easy task.

What made the dashboard itself easy is the work of 18F, a digital services delivery team within the United States General Services Administration. In March of 2015, they announced the launch of analytics.usa.gov and open sourced both the code powering the website and the code pulling data from the Google Analytics API.

It took a total of around 4 hours to take this public domain work from 18F and launch it as a WSU web property at analytics.wsu.edu. And it looks great!

Of course, in the spirit of the original project—and in our general spirit, we’ve also open sourced the code behind analytics.wsu.edu. It joins another 168 repositories the WSU Web Communication team has made public. Check it out and please don’t hesitate to open an issue with any desired changes, comments, or questions.

And if you have a website at Washington State University that does not already have global analytics applied, please reach out so that your site can be a part of this dashboard as well.

University Taxonomy List and Application Tracking Codes

(Summary: WebCommunications posts universitywide taxonomy list and enhanced instructions on updating the Google Analytics code/settings for websites)

A universitywide list of “taxonomy terms” was developed and vetted last spring, so that everyone could utilize a uniform set of terms to identify campuses, colleges, offices, departments, units, etc.,

Why? Using a uniform taxonomy improves online searches, analytics, and the categorization and sharing of files, stories, photos, and other content, which benefits everyone.

To that end, Web coordinators and IT professionals were asked this past week to make sure the analytics settings on their websites identified their campus, college, parent unit, unit, and subunit correctly. (Many are set at “none,” which makes analytics data less accurate.)

In response, several web coordinators and IT reps have wisely asked for access to the university’s taxonomy list, to ensure they are using the correct terms in their Google Analytics settings. » More …

Website Analytics Code – WSU Sites Need Updating; Instructions Attached

PDF_Logo-150x150

First, thanks to all of you who have been working with us to update and structure Google Analytics on websites universitywide. It appears we’re about 80+% of the way done. Ultimately, it will provide you with better “wsu-name-based global tracking,” and ensure best practices.

Here’s the reason for the email. We’re finding that a sizable percentage of participating sites have not set up the Google Analytics code on their sites that defines their location, campus, college, department, unit, etc.

Could you please take a few minutes to help correct this situation. It’s a fairly brief, straightforward process, and below are instructions and the code needed to accomplish this.

Everyone’s participation paves the way to much better web analytics for all. See following PDF for instructions. Global Analytics Update Request 11-24-15

Thanks in advance for your prompt help!

Google Analytics naming and structure

google analytics logo

Just a quick heads up regarding Google Analytics.

University Communications is making some minor changes in the naming structure of central  Google Analytics accounts and a few other accounts that we help manage. This will NOT affect any of the data, it will just look slightly different.

For example, the preferred format for college account names will be the name followed by “– College”.   E.g.   “Arts and Sciences – College” or “Voiland – College.”

We’re trying to create a consistent format, so the new universal analytics will work smoothly with the accounts and data, and so the accounts will be grouped and named in a logical order/format.

There has not been a consistent account/property structure in the past, so it’s currently a bit chaotic.  Some are named using only urls http://XXXXX.wsu.edu, some use “WSU College of XXXX”, some “College of XXX”, some just the abbreviated college name, or acronym.

A full description with all the details will be presented next couple weeks, after the details are fully tested. Meanwhile, we just wanted everyone to know there might be some minor changes to central communication account names, and not to be alarmed.

If you manage your own college or campus Google Analytics accounts, we’re hopeful that you will choose follow the preferred naming and organization structure in the future, so we can employ a consistent format universitywide.

Thanks in advance for your help. Have a great week.