The (almost) Definitive Guide to Real Etsy Traffic Sources in Google Analytics

LAST UPDATED: 29 July 2020, with important fixes to two Filters: Source: etsy.com and Medium: Etsy referrals

POP QUIZ: Can Google Analytics answer this question?

“How do people find my Etsy store?”

At first, Google Analytics looks like it has all the answers! There in your reports, you see: direct traffic, referrals, a few from Facebook and other social media… Isn’t that how they got there?

ANSWER: Nope! Not unless you follow the instructions in this guide.

Google “etsy traffic sources” and you’ll find this little Help article from Etsy. In that article it says this:

“Google Analytics shows how people found Etsy.”

So, what’s the difference? Well, that means that any of those traffic sources in Google Analytics could show how that person found the Etsy home page or an entirely different shop before they navigated to yours within Etsy. Half your so-called social media traffic could be from other people’s marketing!

Even worse, Google Analytics doesn’t show you how people found your shop within Etsy, which makes up the bulk of your traffic. Etsy search, clicks from favorites or recently viewed, promoted listings: all hidden.

That kinda sucks.

Where’s all the Etsy traffic? Probably stuck in “direct”…

You could just analyse your traffic sources in Shop Stats, but let’s fix it instead.

This guide explains how to use channel definitions and filters to make traffic sources a whole lot more accurate!

This looks much better! Yep, these are the exact same visitors.
(If you’re a beginner, don’t be scared! You only need to copy-and-paste.)
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The Etsy Seller’s Guide to Hiding Your Own Visits in Google Analytics

A long time ago, when I worked in retail, I envied the prim, organised merchandisers whose sole responsibility was (as far as I could tell from behind the counter) to fluff around with enticing displays of gifts and stationery.

I know I’m not the only one!

Now as Etsy sellers, we get to “merchandise” our own online shops every day.

Check how our listing thumbnails look all together in the catalogue.

Pour over a new product page to make sure every detail is perfect.

Go through our shop policies with a fine tooth comb to make sure we aren’t accidentally committing to replacing unwanted items with a lifetime supply of Starbucks…

And I know—because I’ve spent my fair share of time there—that we do a lot of this “fluffing around” in our public shop front. You know – the exact same view that our buyers see.

The pages of our shop where our Google Analytics code runs. Those pages.

Oh… I think we have a little problem to fix.

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Stop! Protect that data! – Preparing Google Analytics with backup & test Views

Before you start creating or testing things with Filters in Google Analytics, it’s important to take some steps to keep your data safe.

What’s the danger?

Whenever you make changes to your GA settings for things like Goals, Filters, Content Groupings etc. — all the things I describe in my articles — the changes to your data are permanent. You need a backup without any of these changes, just in case you get something wrong…

Like accidentally creating a filter that removes ALL your traffic and you don’t notice for a week… right during a big ad campaign!

Oops…

A Testing area takes it one step further to let you test out these settings first, then apply them to your main set of data only when you’re sure they’re working correctly. It’s up to you to decide how risky you think a change is and whether you should test it out first.

How do we do this in Google Analytics?

In Analytics, you can have multiple ways of viewing the same data. These are called, appropriately, Views.

In this guide, we’ll create a backup “Raw Data” view to preserve everything with the default settings, and a “Test” view for trialing more complicated Filters before applying them to your main View (normally called “All Web Site Data”).

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How to Copy Google Analytics Settings in Minutes

If you ever find yourself on a dark, empty road and see a lone car far ahead indicate to change lanes, you might think, “Why are they bothering? I bet they even checked their blind spot…”

Well that person might be me. And I did check my blind spot.

I’m just the kind of person who does things the same way, every time.

So if you’re anything like me, I can only assume that you’ve been super diligent in using your Test View to trial changes in Google Analytics.

But what about when you’re confident everything’s working? Everything took so long to set up the first time… surely you don’t need to go through it all again?!

Nope, you don’t!

(Ok, there are a couple of tiny things you’ll need to do again, but bear with me because there’s still an easy way to do it.)

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How to banish “referral spam” in Google Analytics (for Etsy)

If you’re here, you’ve probably noticed something weird going on in your Google Analytics reports. And if you haven’t noticed anything weird, follow along and you might get a surprise.

Analytics can usually tell you, very precisely, where your visitors came from, both geographically and on the web. As you’ll find out in future posts, that’s tricky to get right when you run an Etsy shop, but there’s one problem that almost every site has these days: referral spam.

“Referral spam” is when useless, fake or malicious websites show up as having sent traffic to your site. They haven’t. At least not real people visitors.

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