Google Analytics’ Service Providers listing can give you insight into who is visiting your website each month.
I was showing one of my client’s their web statistics for the month via Google Analytics and discovered that there was some useful information that I hadn’t been sharing before. When I showed them the Visitors section I drilled down through Network Properties to show them the Service Providers. While Google may have intended this to show Internet Service Providers (ISPs), if a company has a T1 or other type of prosumer connection to the Internet, the name of the business will display instead of the ISP. What that means is that the client now has a view of some of the businesses visiting their site and how often.
For those with an active sales pipeline, information like this can be invaluable. Who better to sell to than those who have already been visiting your site? In the case of the client who helped me discover this, they found out someone at a major corporation had been viewing their web site regularly. Now, it could be anyone at that company and it could be for any number of reasons, but what it does indicate is that your web site has something they keep coming back for. When we reviewed the history of that company, they had visited almost every month for the past year. I’ve since started emailing out this page specifically as part of my monthly hosting report.
Too Much Information?
Depending on the amount of traffic your web site has, you may need to use the filter at the bottom of the listings (not pictured). You can either include or exclude words by using the “containing” or “excluding” drop-down, respectively. Use ‘pipes’ instead of spaces or commas to search or exclude multiple terms. For example, to exclude the most popular ISPs, you would write something like this:
For a more advanced Service Providers search, try the Advanced Filter. Click “Advanced Filter” next to the search box, which brings up the dimension “Service Provider” with the condition “Containing” and a blank value. That much is the same, so here is the ‘advanced’ part. If you want to contain one or more values (remember to use the pipes) and exclude others, add a second dimension for “Service Provider” and choose excluding and your search value.
But wait, there’s more. As you may have noticed, you can also add a metric for Visits, Pages/Visit, Avg. Time on Site, % New Visits, Bounce Rate, and Goals. When used together with Service Provider, you can seek and sort the visitors by number of visits, number of pages, and so on. This is a potentially very powerful sales tool and one that should not be overlooked in your web analytics.
If you want to exclude your own business or your webmaster’s business from Google Analytics, which can sometimes skew your data, use the IP exclusion feature. To do this, click on the “Edit” button for your site on the main profile page. On the “Profile Settings” page, scroll down the page until you see the box named “Filters Applied to Profile” (below goals). Click on the “Add Filter” link, and you’ll be taken to the “Create New Filter” page. Once there, put in the IP address(es) you want excluded and then click “Save Changes”. This will keep your business from being counted in Google Analytics. If you’re not sure what your IP address is, just Google, “What is my IP?”