A Basic Guide to Tracking Subdomains’ Verification Process

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    Did you know?

    When a user switches between multiple domains on your website, Google Analytics will count it as separate sessions – meaning you can’t keep track. 

    By ensuring you track subdomains, you can ensure you know and understand your customer’s journey when they are on your website. 

    If you have a website with various subdomains and you want to make sure that you are correctly tracking the path your users take when they’re on your website, then treat this blog as your guide, as we outline the steps you need to follow in order to ensure the proper process is in place using Google Analytics.

     

    Benefits of Verification 

    • Enables you to accurately track users and sessions across the subdomains of the website.
    • Allows you to ensure that you don’t lose vital user data.
    • Helps you to make sure that the decisions that you make for your business are the right ones, and that you have data to act as justification to your actions. 

     

    Setting Up

    You will need to start on Google Analytics Checker, before inputting your domain and subdomains. 

    1. You will need to make sure that “Universal Analytics” is ticked on the majority of pages. 
    2. Even if you do utilise the “Include Subdomains” toggle, Google Analytics may not find all of the website’s sub-domains, if possible, it is recommended to enter all the subdomains yourself. 
    3. If you see a green tick on pages, this means that they are not supposed to be tracked, or alternatively, that they are not HTML pages. 
    4. You will need to see if your setup is using Google Tag Manager.
      • If your Google Analytics setup is not using GTM, then this means that your cookieDomain configurations should be fine, and there is no need for you to make alterations.  
    1. Now, you need to find out whether your setup with GTM uses the Universal Analytics Tag, you will also need to find out if the Google Analytics settings variable is in use. 
      • Sign into your GTM account and then choose your website’s container.
      • You will now need to go to “Tags” and then find “Universal Analytics”

    If you find that there are no tags using the built-in Universal Analytics Tag, then this means that you shouldn’t need to make any changes, this is because your cookieDomain configurations should be suitable as they are. 

    • It is important to make sure that if one (or even multiple) tags are in place, one of them is set to track Pageviews – the settings on this tag will be set to trigger on “All Pages”
    • Select the Tag and confirm your use of this field: “Google Analytics Settings”.
      • If this message appears: “Select Settings Variable…” and you can see that the following option is ticked: “Enable overriding settings in this tag” it means you are not using the settings variable (although is advisable to do so).

     

    Google Analytics Settings Variable Alternative 

    If you do not want to use the Google Analytics Settings Variable, then you will need to follow the procedure outlined below.

      1. Select “More Settings” and then “Fields to Set” – if you find that there is nothing there, then you will need to select “+Add Field”, and fill it in with this information:
        • “cookie Domain” – this is what we suggest you name the field.
        • “auto” – this needs to be inputted into the value section. 
      1. Once you have done this, you need to “Save” the tag. After you’ve done this, you can “Submit” and “Publish” your tag.
      2. If you find that there is a GTM variable in this field (curly brackets will be at the beginning and end), then you need to ensure that the variable is set up correctly – this is something that you can do by following these steps:
        • Select “Variables”, you will now need to click on the variable (in this case it is the “Google Analytics settings” variable)
        • Ensure that the cookie domain is set to “auto”

    Referral Exclusion List – Root Domain Check 

    This next section of the blog is related to checking if your website’s root domain has been added to your Referral Exclusion List – it is important to note that it is likely that it has already been done, however, there is always the possibility that it has been changed in some way, or even removed. 

    1. Start on your Google Analytics account settings – you will need to choose the relevant account and property.
    2. You will now need to select “Tracking Info” and then “Referral Exclusion List”, once you’ve done this, you will need to ensure your root domain appears on the list.
      • If you find that the root domain is not on the list, then this means you will need to follow these steps to add it:
        • Select “+Add Referral Exclusion”
        • Input your root domain and then select “Create”  

     

    Adding a Hostname Filter 

    This is something that you can do in order to ensure your subdomain data is included and is an optional stage in this blog. Implementing this process may have an effect on custom reports as well as goals. 

    1. Open your Google Analytics account 
    2. You will then need to see if there is already a filter in place – this is something you can check by looking under filters or by looking at the “Behaviours” section, and then clicking on “Site Content” and then “All pages”.
    3. If you have a standard set up implemented, then this means that the page path will be visible in reports.

     

    And… you’re done!

    You have now successfully verified that you are tracking subdomains in Google Analytics.

    If you found this blog helpful, make sure to check us out on social media so you can keep updated on future blog posts. 

    Thanks for reading!

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