So you thought you were getting a handle on this whole Google Analytics Referrer spam problem, did you?
When referrer spam started being noticed in Google Analytics, people jumped on fixing the problem quickly. If you don't already know what this is - referrer spam is fake visitors to your website for the sole purpose of advertising a site to you in your Google Analtyics reports.
For help on dealing with referrer spam, see this post.
That's not what we're talking about today.
Event Tracking Spam
Now I'm starting to notice Event Tracking Spam in Google Analytics.
For example - See this event tracking spam in one Google Analytics account. This simple site has NO event tracking set up at all. The reason I caught this is because any event tracking in this site is not correct.
Did I visit this site to find out what this was about? Sadly, yes I did. Is that exactly what they wanted me to do? Yes, yes it was.
Filtering out Event Tracking Spam
Until there are systems in place to manage spam in Google Analytics, the best way to handle event tracking spam for now is to filter it out.
For now, unwanted event tracking has no Browser set, so we'll filter on that for now. As you can see:
To create a filter to get rid of event tracking spam for now, using a "not set" browser, set up the following filter in your Analytics accounts:
This filter should eliminate spam for now, until the spammers get start and start spoofing a Browser. Hopefully by then we'll have an Akismet-style spam filter for Google Analytics, or Google themselves will protect their system by putting spam filtering in place.
* Leader image with work by epSos.de
5 thoughts on “How To Filter Out Google Analytics Event Tracking Spam”
Thanks for looking into this, Analytics is becoming a real annoyance for us. I have looked at my Event spam and then compared this to the traffic with browser value of (Not Set) and I get a much larger number of (Not Set) traffic so the filter would exclude other traffic to. I am wondering if traffic from apps is excluded using this too.
Hi Stuart – mobile browsers using the *website* will track a browser, so that’s probably not it.
If you’re tracking your app in Google Analytics, ideally you should be using a separate app tracking profile specifically for your app. Using a mobile app property gives you MUCH better info specifically for apps – see this info: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2587087?hl=en
In your case, if it’s not an app, it may be spam. Or, it could be something else, like a 3rd system integrating with your site. Maybe a social or CRM integration? If you have an IT person you’ll need to get them to investigate further from within your data.
Another way to approach this is to add a filter to “Include” only the traffic where the hostname matches your actual domain name. So, “www.searchenginepeople.com” for this website.
We have started to see spam event data, and it seems to me that those visitors are the ghost spammers who don’t actually visit your website, but instead simply cycle through as many Google Analytics ID numbers as possible. That’s why the browser isn’t set (although I’m guessing they could spoof that), but it’s also why the hostname isn’t set—they don’t know (and don’t care) what website you are on, because they aren’t actually visiting it.
Using an include filter by hostname has worked pretty well for us so far.
Yep, Jacob, that will work also!
Finally, thanks to your post, I found the answer to my very long problem. Spams are literally my enemy and I have been looking around to find out how to eradicate or even just to lessen the number of spams that Google Analytics are incorporating. Thank you so much for this very useful info.
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