Did you happen to notice a sudden spike in visitors to your site this month? We did, too.
Earlier this month, Google Analytics stopped collecting data for Network Domain and Service Provider. This data was particularly helpful in rooting and filtering out fake traffic and getting a better picture of site users and engagement.
Many businesses regularly review this data for some classic signs of fake traffic, like 1:1 relationships between users, new users, and sessions, as well as 100% bounce rates, no registered session durations and single-page visits over multiple sessions.
Using Google Analytics filtering tools, we could then flag and remove these network domains and service providers to get a better view of site data.
Now, when reviewing this data, you’ll see “(not set)” where your network domain and service provider once were.
In addition to filtering out bots and other spam traffic, the change can also affect re-marketing and ad targeting campaigns based on audiences defined using these data points. It will also affect those who filter out company or internal traffic using ISP Organization or ISP Domain. IP-based filtering, however, still appears to be intact.
The change, coming seemingly in the dark of night, comes with no official announcement or statement from Google as of publication. However, the fine folks at 3 White Hats offer a workaround through Google Tag Manager.
More details can also be found through the analytics consultants at Click Insights.
And for those seeking to follow the community discussion on this topic, you can follow along with the Google thread here.
This post will be updated as new information becomes available.