Suggested "Exclude URL Query Parameters" for Google Analytics

We receive millions of hits on our websites (WhatIsMyBrowser.com and The Developers site you're on at the moment), and we use Google Analytics as one of our ways of measuring site interaction.

We get visitors from all types of sources and many of them include tracking parameters in the destination URL. For example, if someone clicks a link on Facebook to one of our guides (eg. Enabling Cookies on Chrome), it goes to a URL like:

/guides/how-to-enable-cookies/chrome?fbclid=IwRaNdoM-Oi_yrRaNdoMiANMau3rAnDoMplmHWqIE81dN6BlAHw6yBlAhpfXDI

This is obviously a link to the page /guides/how-to-enable-cookies/chrome from the Guides to enabling cookies on our main site, however because Facebook have added the ?fbclid=IwRaNd.... bit afterwards, Google Analytics actually sees that as a different URL and counts it as a view for a different page; not the intended guide page.

As a result, it appears in Google Analytics as if it were a completely seperate URL. This makes your results harder to interpret easily because instead of looking at the traffic patterns for one URL, you now have hundreds or thousands of them (which are all really the same page anyway...), and another side effect is that your Google Analytics reports get filled up with loads and loads of near-duplicate URLs, instead of being grouped nicely together.

Fixing the problem

Fortunately, Google Analytics gives you an easy way to fix this, with the "Exclude URL Query Parameters" option. This lets you insert a comma separated list of URL Parameters which Google Analytics will ignore and thus allow the URL view to be counted normally instead of it appearing as a separate page view.

Since we've started fixing this problem, we've gathered a collection of URL Parameters which seem to do nothing but mess up our analytics and we wanted to share them with you. (We got the idea for this when we went looking for a pre-exsiting list made by anyone else but couldn't find one!) You might want to add some or all of these to your Google Analytics "Exclude" setting as well.

Disclaimer: Make sure you know what you're doing here! If you work with a team on your company's Google Analytics account, make sure to check with them that excluding any of these URL parameters won't break/effect your analytics reporting. This list is a suggestion only; we block these URL parameters but it doesn't mean that you should block them too.

Our suggestions:

We suggest the following set of URL parameters. Note that the list is comma separated and there are no spaces in it. Google says that there is a limit of 2048 characters for this setting. The following list is just over 200 characters, so as you can see it's possible to block quite a few.

time2,sa,ved,sqi,mc_cid,mc_eid,elqTrackId,redirect_uri,response_type,_wcsid,ss,rt,fbclid,_hsenc,epik,cspchd,q,mc_phishing_protection_id,elqaid,_sm_byp,from,isappinstalled,hl,form,setlang,pc,omwq,inf_contact_key,dm_i,ez_cid,utm_oi,com.broadsign.suite.bsp.resource_id,com.broadsign.suite.bsp.zipcode,com.broadsign.suite.bsp.address,com.broadsign.suite.bsp.frame_id,back,as_qdr,as_occt,as_q,channel,source,safe,_hsmi,_hsenc,hsCtaTracking,elqTrack,bxns,dark_mode,smphomebuster,i,cid,origin,articleId,client,serial

To add/update your setting:

  1. Log in to Google Analytics (you'll need an account with correct permissions)
  2. Click the Admin menu item (It says "Admin" next to a grey gear icon) in the bottom left corner of the main menu
  3. You'll see three columns (Account, Property and View). The top item in the View column is called View Settings. Click it.
  4. You'll see the field labled Exclude URL Query Parameters. Paste some or all of the suggested parameters to block into this list. If there is an existing list in the field, make sure you include a comma between the existing list and the new set of parameters.
  5. Scroll down and click the blue Save button
  6. Done!

From this point on, Google Analytics will disregard those URL parameters (and their values) from your reports.

Note that it won't remove existing ones; you just shouldn't get any new ones.

If you want to get rid of existing ones, you can use search filters to remove them.

We hope these suggestions helped.

If you have any other URL parameters to share, then let us know; we'd love to add them to the list.