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In Universal Analytics, I would set up several standard views for every property I manage:

  • a RAW view with no filters
  • a TEST view
  • a LIVE ANALYTICS view, with the traffic filtered by target domain and filtering out hits from internal traffic, bots and spiders.
  • an UNKNOWN SOURCE view with traffic from the target domain filtered out.

I'm well aware that views no longer exist in GA4 and that there's no equivalent. But one of the features of UA was that you could send in traffic from literally any domain. I could add the script on a page on any domain and the traffic would get picked up in UA. A competitor could add our script tag to their website in an effort to make our analytics wrong and cause us trouble. This is why I always filter the live view by the target domain, and I like to have a separate view to see what traffic I get that's not from our domain.

How does GA4 work in this respect? If I add a GA4 script tag to any other domain, will it get picked up in the analytics? How can I view this and filter this? Could a rival add our GA4 script tag to their website to cause us problems? I know this is farfetched but I'd rather be knowledgeable about this.

In Admin > Property > Data Streams > [stream name ie "Web Data Stream"] I have found some settings to filter traffic. On this page that lists the stream settings, under "Additional Settings" there is "More tagging settings":

[Google Analytics 4 stream additional settings1

And within this there is a list of filters to exclude unwanted traffic, or remove internal data.

Google Analytics 4 Stream Tag Configuration

From this, I infer that GA4 captures all traffic data received from any source whatsoever. This is annoying if so because I would like to capture all data received, but also be able to view a filtered range of data that includes traffic only from the target domain.

Google Analytics 4 list unwanted traffic settings

However these settings are quite limited, and all geared towards excluding traffic rather then only including. If I want to include traffic only for the target domain, my only option is a regex expression which seems to indicate that this is not what it was intended for. Also I understand that the recommended setup is to have only one single stream for any website, so to utilise these filters would require several data streams for the same website, which seems to be not a preferred setup?

Questions:

  • Does GA4 capture traffic from any source / domain?
  • What is the recommended way to filter out traffic from other domains while still being able to access all of this data when needed?

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