Group Referring Sites in Google Analytics

The executive team at E-Nor is quite greedy! Provide them with a neat trick and instead of thanking you, they ask for more! :)

A few days after my colleague and I wrote about content grouping in Google Analytics, E-Nor president Feras Alhlou asked if it is possible to apply the same concept to referring sites.

Our objective is to group all domains and subdomains of related referring sites as one referring entity. For example,,, and should appear as a single Nextag entity.

1) Create an advanced filter that renames all domains and subdomains of a particular referring site to one entity.

2) Repeat step 1 for every group of referring sites that send you significant traffic.

Another example of related sites:,,, and Affiliates and dealers could also be grouped this way.

3) Apply the filters you just created to a new profile.

New profile – my colleague Rehan Asif cannot stress this enough!

Congratulation, we have grouped related referring sites as entities!
Now we can look at the traffic from those referring sites at an aggregate level.
Happy, Feras? :)

Stay tuned for the next post on how to group pages based on their functionality. It is actually Avinash’s idea from the previous content grouping post and I promised him that I will write about it.

Finally, do not forget to adjust your clocks this coming Sunday and analyze your performance before and after the change :)

From now until the next blog post, I wish you a happy March and an enjoyable month of analysis :)

5 thoughts on “Group Referring Sites in Google Analytics”

  1. Hi Allaedin Ezzedin,

    Some time ago I did some campaign variables transformations using filters.

    At least for ecommerce transactions conversion failed to get attributed to the new filter-defined campaign sources/medium. I don’t remember if this happen with goals too.

    I’m just saying that this method works to analyze traffic metrics of campaigns modified by filters but not conversions :)

    Keep the great work!

  2. Hi Andrés,

    Thanks for the comment.
    I don’t think we have run into this problem…or maybe we have never tried exactly what you tried.

    Still, you are right that there are always some funny things you find when you look at ecommerce transactions data.
    For example, in ecommerce transactions you seem to lose the hostname information.
    I think the information is not recorded in the hit that is sent to Google.
    Go check on a site that tracks ecommerce transactions and watch most of them attributed to (not set) instead of the proper hostname.

  3. Hi Rehan,

    I would appreciate if you could give me feedback on this attribution issue. Maybe I did something wrong :)

    Could you look at the goal conversions and ecommerce tab on the profile where you have applied filter transformations to your campaign sources and check if there is something strange?

    Regarding hostname in ecommerce transactions… I’m one of the guys that have been asking Google to add hostname to this kind of hit so we can reliably filter ecommerce data based on hostname.


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