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Impact of Bot Filtering? Duplicate a View to Test

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Bot Filtering could have more of an effect on reporting for certain types of websites.

If you’ve looked at the View Settings panel over the last month or two, you may have noticed a new Bot Filtering option for excluding hits from bots and spiders. It was a bit surprising at first to see this option, since at least some of the commentary on this issue up to that point opined that bots and spiders cannot run JavaScript or accept cookies as a browser does and cannot therefore execute the tracking code required to register a hit in Google Analytics or other tag-based Web analytics packages.

Apparently, however, traffic inflation by bots has been reported as serious problem on certain websites, particularly those selling ad space based on pageviews: the more impressions that the advertiser and publisher report, the more they can charge the advertiser.

For other types of sites, this issue may have only minimal impact. How can you find out for your own site?

1. Copy a view.

2. In the settings for the view copy, select the Bot Filtering checkbox.

3. After a period of time, compare sessions and pageviews between the original view and the bot-filtered view.

In the test that I ran, there was a difference of only five sessions and six pageviews over the course several weeks, but you can very easily set up your own test as described above and determine if the impacts are greater for your own website.

For additional perspective on the bot issue, see this article on TechCrunch.

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