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We run a website which has a "free tools" section. Lots of people use our free tools without becoming customers, or browsing to other sections of the site.

We don't really mind this, but it would be useful if we could exclude from our analytics reporting all visitors who only visit pages from the /free-tools/ section of the site and no others.

Is there any way to exclude these visitors, only including them in reporting if they visited at least one page outside of this set of pages?

eg. visitor visits these pages they're not included in sitewide reports: mysite.com/free-tools/free1 mysite.com/free-tools/free2

However, if in the visit a visitor visits those pages and then also goes to the homepage, then their visit would be included.

Is this even possible with Google Analytics? If not, which other analytics packages might be able to offer this level of segmentation?

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You can use filters for most of this, but I wanted to check - if they visit one of those pages and then the home page, do you want Google to tell you they visited two pages or one? –  paulmorriss Jul 19 '12 at 11:22
    
Preferably I'd like to know about their entire visit if and only if they visit a page outside of the free section. That would include their visits to the free section, but only if they also visited the homepage, or a product page, or a contact page etc. –  Shaun Jul 19 '12 at 11:28

3 Answers 3

This is an easy implementation if you have the option to create a Custom Variable (i.e. you are not already using all available custom variable slots) - example:

  var _gaq = _gaq || [];

  _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXXXXX-X']);

  /**
   * track sessions for visitors who leave the /free-tools/ path
   */
  if ( window.location.pathname.indexOf('free-tools') >= 0 )
  {
    _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',
      1,         // (required) Stored to slot #1
      'MSV',     // (required) "Main Site Visit" or other variable name
      'Yes',     // (required) This is the value of the custom variable
      2          // (optional - but recommended) Sets the scope to "session-level"
    ]);
  }
  /**
   * eof track sessions for visitors who leave the /free-tools/ path
   */

  _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

  (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
  })();

Visitors who never leave /free-tools/ will not have this custom variable set, so you can simply set up an Advanced Segment which only displays analytics for visitors with Custom Variable #1 (or whichever slot you used) set to "Yes" so, when a visitor visits any page outside of the /free-tools/ path, his or her entire visit session (as stored with Google - no need to add session overhead to your site's performance concerns) can be tracked.

This method also leaves you with the ability to see which visitors "converted" from free tools visitors into main site visitors, and which free tools pages were the most common gateway to the main site (using Visitors Flow).

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This looks like it might be better than we hoped for. Let me test it out. Thanks Dan! –  Shaun Jul 20 '12 at 9:32

The only way I can think of is to use sessions and stick your tracking code in a big if statement. This way, you can write your condition based upon http referrer (or similar) and either display the tracking or hide it.

I guess it depends on how complicated your conditions would be as to if this is feasible or not.

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This would disable tracking entirely on the /free-tools section. That's an option but not quite what we were hoping to achieve. –  Shaun Jul 19 '12 at 9:33
    
You could have it set up to only disable the tracking after a person had visited your free section (requiring complex conditional formatting). It could be done but as I said, it depends on how complicated your conditions are. –  Dave Jul 19 '12 at 9:43

When you login Google Analytics and go to: Content->Site Content->All Pages
you can see a few parameters that will supply what you want:

  1. The page name (you can "zoom-in" the relevant page: "free tools").
  2. "Pageviews" and "Unique Pageviews"
  3. "Bounce Rate" and "%Exit": bounce - means the the percentage of users that came to this page from outside (not from other pages on your website) and left, and the "Exit" includes all the users that left, including users that visited other pages on your website before they reached this page (and left).

You can use these numbers (subtract from the total) in order to find out the real numbers you're looking for.

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