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August 19, 2021

Why Does IP Exclusion Matter? A Look Into Honest Analytics

3 minute read

You’ve just launched a new website, and your traffic analytics are already soaring. You can’t wait to share them with your team, and then your metrics increase even more – until you realize that a significant portion of the traffic came from your own colleagues. That’s never good!

Let’s talk about what that means for your digital marketing strategies.

What is IP Exclusion?

 

It’s as straightforward as it sounds - IP exclusion is the process of intentionally excluding certain IP addresses from you or your client’s web traffic analytics.

Analytics are the most valuable when you’re confident in their accuracy and utilize them to gain insights and adjust your content accordingly. If you’re including your team’s internal traffic on your own website, you’re skewing your own stats and making data-driven decisions based on your team’s behavior, not the behavior of your users!

IP Addresses that you Should Exclude from Web Traffic:

 

  • Your HQ office network and any other office locations. If you are using a VPN, ensure that this is excluded for all business locations

  • Home IP addresses of employees, partners, web and IT teams, or contractors who work from home, especially those in sales, IT/web, and marketing who may contribute to site traffic. Personal networks may be dynamic IP addresses, we recommend verifying that your exclusion list is up to date on a regular basis. A quarterly audit is a great practice!

IP Addresses That You Can’t Typically Exclude:

 

  • Traffic that comes from employee traveling, such as sales teams or when employees work remotely from a coffee shop, etc.

Other Considerations for Exclusions:

 

Internal IP exclusion shouldn’t just be considered when analyzing your web traffic analytics. Internal IP’s can also be excluded from several digital advertising platforms to ensure that your campaign spends are optimized and to avoid overserving retargeting ads or unintentionally directing impressions towards internal or client teams.

Why does IP Exclusion Matter?

 

If we know anything about digital marketing, it’s that data analytics matter. Are your analytics honest? Your numbers might actually be inflated if you’re not thinking about your internal traffic (or all those work-from-home hours that people have been logging recently).

Without properly setting up your analytics and internal IP exclusions, you could really be throwing off your web traffic data, including things like web sessions, bounce rate, or other data points. IP exclusion helps ensure that UX decisions are driven by the behavior of your users, not your team.

How do I Exclude IP Addresses?

 

So you’re ready to exclude your internal IP addresses from your web traffic? Great! Because it’s a relatively easy task that can have a measurable impact on data quality and accuracy.

First,  Google “What’s My IP” to find your public IP address. There are four primary types of IP addresses, public, private, static, and dynamic. You will have to ask all remote employees or employees in other offices to do the same in order to exclude all relevant internal traffic from your analytics. 

How to Exclude IP Addresses in Google Analytics:
  1. Navigate to your admin menu in Google Analytics>
  2. Select “All Filters” under Account>
  3. Click Add Filter and set the Type to be “Predefined”>
  4. Select the Filter Type to “Exclude,” Source or Destination to “traffic from the IP addresses,” and Expression to “that are equal to” and then type in the IP address you’d like to exclude

You need to have account-level access to edit permissions to add filters.

How to Exclude IP Addresses in HubSpot:
  1. Log into your HubSpot portal>
  2. Go to Settings>
  3. Tracking and Analytics >
  4. Tracking Code >
  5. Advanced Tracking >
  6. Scroll Down!

Make sure that you have admin access to update these settings within your HubSpot portal.

Excluding IP Addresses for Digital Advertising Platforms:

 

Most digital advertising platforms have some sort of IP exclusion feature built-in. To better understand capabilities and processes, check with your platform or digital team.

Remember to do this for each office location, each home office, AND check for updates each quarter or year just in case anyone has a dynamic IP address (which changes from time to time).

If you track analytics in Google and HubSpot, you should do this process in both places for every relevant IP address to ensure data accuracy.

Excluding IP Addresses on Heatmapping and UX Monitoring Tools:

 

Heatmapping tools like HotJar or Lucky Orange provide invaluable insight into user behavior on web pages. Our team is a strong advocate for testing and monitoring using Heatmapping and recording tools to inform UX updates on web pages, digital assets, and landing pages. 

Internal and development teams should be excluded from any platforms that help monitor behavior that could inform UI/UX decisions.

Clean Data Informs Sound, Accurate, Data-Driven, Digital Strategies!

 

If your web traffic and engagement data is skewed from your own internal traffic, you’re hijacking your future marketing efforts and UX decisions.

Taking the time to exclude internal IP addresses on a recurring basis is a simple step toward more reliable data. Then, and only then, will your analytics be primed to inform solid, lead-generating, and data-driven decisions! 

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Valarie Kouba
AUTHOR BIO
Valarie Kouba

Valarie is an Account Manager at Stratagon who loves data-driven strategic decisions, quick wit, and helping people better understand and communicate with their audiences. Valarie is passionate about measurable growth in her team's campaigns and her ever-growing collection of houseplants. Connect with her on LinkedIn!