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Learn to identify referral spam traffic, as well as best practices to reduce referral spam in your Google Analytics account
 
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Same property, two GA accounts, different results

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I have a setup where I'm trying to transition from one GA account held by the old agency to a new GA account that is dedicated to the client. The GA code looks like this:

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 7.44.33 AM.png

 

The interesting part is that the two accounts, while they have almost identical settings, show completely different results. The old account shows no referral spam:

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 7.43.49 AM.png

 

And the new account is loaded with spam:

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 7.43.53 AM.png

 

What is interesting is that, when i checked to see if the settings were identical, the old account with no spam, did NOT have the remove known spiders and bots option checked.

 

Obviously there is something that I'm not understanding. Any help is welcome!

Re: Same property, two GA accounts, different results

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Bryan,

 

I am more or less new to GA, but what I understand is that you have a client website and 2 GA accounts (with almoste identical settings) tracking the this website. A possible cause could be : A custom filter as mentioned in : https://moz.com/blog/stop-ghost-spam-in-google-analytics-with-one-filter ?

Regards,

 

Jan

 

Re: Same property, two GA accounts, different results

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks for the reply Jan. Interestingly there are no filters applied to either property.

I'm at a complete loss in understanding how the exact same property would fire such a massive difference in results from one GA account to another.

Cheers,
Bryan

Re: Same property, two GA accounts, different results

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

If there are no filters applied, it could be that one of the tracking codes is being targeted by spammers using the Measurement Protocol?

 

Re: Same property, two GA accounts, different results

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
That's a very interesting option. I've noticed that this type of traffic is happening on all of the new GA accounts that we've created for clients over the last 6 months or so. The older GA accounts don't seem to be prone to this – if this is what it is.

I wonder if there is a definitive way to know if using the Measurement Protocol is indeed the source of the spam traffic. Any ideas?

Re: Same property, two GA accounts, different results

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 6
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
Yes the measurement protocol is a major source of ghost/referral spam that is an absolute fact.
spammers 'insert' data into it without even visiting your site.

Re: Same property, two GA accounts, different results

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi.

Ghosts/referral spam influences often GA-Codes ends with "-1".

Is the "old account" in your screenshot the account with a GA-Code not ending by "-1"? That would explain why that one is not affected by spam.

Bye.

Nils

Re: Same property, two GA accounts, different results

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Very interesting, Nils!

Yes, The old account ends in a double digit number and the new one is -1.

So, to clarify, GA codes that end in -1 (which I assume is the first code created under a property) tend to have more spam?

In theory then, to resolve this, I could create several unused codes (-1, -2, -3, -4) and then use -5 to track? Does that make sense?

Thanks,
Bryan

Re: Same property, two GA accounts, different results

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
Dear Bryan,

great to see that my answer was useful.

In my experiece: Yes, the -1-accounts tend to have more spam. But unfortunately, that does not mean that other number have no spam - only less. I have an account with a code number -1 which is not installed/used on a website, but county spam sessions.

Yes, the first created codes under a propery is a -1. I assume spam sender create random numbers followed by a "-1" to spam as much accounts as possible.

Yes, you can create several unused codes. But I assume and fear it is only a matter of time until the other codes will be affected more and more by spam, too.

Maybe, some other may share there experience with us: Do you have the same tendency that codes end in -1 have more spam?

Nils