Creating Test Profiles in Google Analytics

One major drawback to Google Analytics is that you can not re-process your historical data. This means that once Google Analytics has processed your data it is final. What’s in your reports stays in your reports. If you make a mistake with a filter then the result will be permanent!

Before you make any changes to your profile configuration consider testing your changes on a test profile. Simply create a profile based on your main site profile. Then they apply any changes to the test profile prior to applying them to the main profile. Using this technique you can better understand the impact of your changes.

Some profile modifications that you may want to test include:

  • New filters
  • New Goals
  • New Funnels

Here’s a real life example why this is so important. I recently worked with a client that created an incorrect exclude filter. When they applied the filter to their profile it excluded ALL of the data from the profile. What made this mistake so bad was the client had no way to fully gauge the success of a new advertising campaign they launched that week.

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    1. says

      This week I created a filter to eliminate all hits from the staff in our office for our webpage. Then I saw your advice, which I think will be very helpful. Can you advise on how to set up a proper test profile? I’m not sure if I set mine up correctly – I created a new profile w/ the same domain and from there I’ll put in the filter I want. In my original profile, should I remove the filter (by IP address) and use that to view all hits and then have several “test profiles”?

    2. Justin says

      Hi Laura,

      It sounds like you set up the test profile correctly. When I’m setting up profiles for a site I start by identifying what data I’ll need for my analysis. If I’ll need data without internal traffic then I’ll add an exclude filter to the maim profile. Sometimes I’ll have multiple main profiles.

      I usually use the test profiles for testing filters before applying them to a profile that I use for data analysis.

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading.


    3. says

      What about setting up a profile to track a sub-directory blog? When I create a new profile, using the /blog/ directory as the domain, I am given a tracking code that is different from the code on the main site (UA-123456-2 as opposed to UA-123456-1). If I want to track my blog pages in both profiles, do I need to use both codes?

    4. says

      Hi Enrico,

      If you want to create a profile for your blog directory then you should create the profile based on an existing domain. This is a choice you have when creating a new profile. Do not create a profile for a new domain, that’s why you’re getting a new set of tracking code.



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