Google Analytics

Hostname to Content Analysis Custom Report

Posted at August 8, 2011 | By : | Categories : Google Analytics | 3 Comments

Have you ever looked at your Google Analytics content (pages) reports and wanted to see details about the hostnames (website domains) where the pages are located? Then we’ve got something in common! This kind of reporting is a common request from clients and also a reporting technique I use all the time to do technical diagnostics, audits, and multi-site roll-up reporting.  So, I recently created an uber Custom Report for the New Version of Google Analytics to do just this kind of analysis and thought I’d share it with you.

The report contains three awesome tabs that show:

  1. Hostname to Pages Explorer
  2. Hostname and Pages  Table
  3. Hostname to Page Section Drilldown

What You’ll Find in my Hostname Custom Report

The custom report contains three report tabs each with one metric tab and several dimensions and metrics.  Overall these tabs allow you to analyze data about what hostnames you get visitors, visits, and pageviews from as well as the corresponding details for each page on each hostname.

 

The first tab: Hostname Explorer

The first tab is named the “Hostname Explorer”.  This uses the custom report Explorer functionality, which is what you’ll see in most reports within GA – it allows drilldown from one Dimension to the next nested Dimension.  This tab of the report gives you drilldown from Hostname to Page with the corresponding metrics of Unique Visitors, Visits, Pageviews, Bounce Rate, Exit Rate, and Average Time on Page.

editing the "hostname explorer" tab

Viewing the "hostname explorer" custom report

The second tab: Hostname Table

The second tab uses the “flat table” view which supplies columns for two dimensions and corresponding columns for metrics.  In this tab I’ve placed Hostname in dimension column 1 and Page in dimension column 2.  If you want to see a list of all pages with their corresponding hostname, then this is the report for you.  Metrics here are the same as the previous tab, showing Unique VisitorsVisitsPageviewsBounce Rate,Exit Rate, and Average Time on Page.

editing the "hostname table" report

screenshot of the "hostname table" custom report

The third tag: Hostname Page Drilldown

This last provides page drilldown capability just like the “Content Drilldown” report in Google Analytics standard reports.  What this does it break apart page content by “section” as defined by your page “directories” in the URL’s.  I.e. the top-level section is the first slash-separated portion of your pages – this blog uses /blog/ for its first slash-separated section.  I like this view because it lets me quickly see all hostnames and then drill to a given host and see data about each section, then drill into a section to see sub-sections, and so-forth up to four sections deep!

editing the "hostname page drilldown" report

example of the drilldown report for hostnames to page sections in action

Using this Custom Report

example of the hostnames report in action, revealing an unknown website sending data into MY Google Analytics account!

My top recommended use for this report is to see just where you’re getting traffic from.  Think your implementation is in good shape?  Wait till you check this.  You’ll often find your site is running on domains you didn’t realize or that your tag has made its way into other sites through copying.  For example, here is the hostname report for my site – what is that last line (#4) – that means someone had MY analytics tag on the domain “www.bct.im/ForexMarket”.  Huh?  Not me.  That indicates a problem (indeed, we had a rogue script sending hits in – and found it thanks to this report!).

I once had a client discover a competitor had copied their site, en mass, GA tag included… having a report showing their pages complete with tracking tag on the competitor’s domain was great ammunition for the litigation that followed.  Hopefully your case won’t involve stolen content, but a pleasant surprise about things like translation engines or an opportunity to improve your own implementation by tracking sub-domains or other 3rd party domains properly.

Enjoy!

-Caleb

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  • Tess

    August 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you Caleb for this easy to understand and really useful post! It seems the forex domain, as well as web.com is a very common issue.

    I found a blog post explaining how to setup filters to exclude those stats in Analytics: http://techhacking.com/2011/01/23/google-analytics-referrer-spammers/ Just to be clear: it’s not intended to ‘solve the problem’, as in stopping the spammers, but to help filtering out the stats from your real traffic. :)

    Cheers,
    Tess

    • Anonymous

      August 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      Tess,

      Yes, filtering out unwanted hostnames is easy to do.  Be sure to always keep an “unfiltered” profile without the hostname include filter around for cross-checking what hostnames are sending traffic in to your account given the many reasons this is helpful.

      Thanks for reading!

      -Caleb

    • Anonymous

      August 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      I should also note that you can easily see your data sans unwanted hostnames using Advanced Segments to define “include only” on hostname.  This also has the benefit of working retroactively against all your data rather than the filtered profile approach which only works from the time you set it up forward.

      -Caleb

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