What?

As of February 4, 2020, in the Google Analytics reporting user interface at “Audience > Technology > Network”, when you hover over the tool tip for the Service Provider and Network Domain dimensions (when the latter is added as a secondary dimension), their definitions are now prepended with “[No longer supported]”.

Service Provider & Network Domain dimensions will show a “(not set)” entry in Google Analytics UI reporting from 02/04/2020 forward.

So what?

These dimensions were great tools to (1) identify & filter out artificial user activity from Google Analytics reported data such as bot / spam traffic, and activity from security scans. They could also be used to (2) segregate internal traffic, to exclude or include such traffic in distinct Google Analytics views (e.g., exclude activity from a firm’s own network in main reporting views, and include it in an “Internal Only” view). And, these dimensions could be used in (3) account based marketing (ABM) as a source of advertising intelligence to identify when users from a particular target company were interacting with your digital property.

What next?

If you are using these dimensions in any include and exclude filters, you’ll need to find an alternative method to filter such traffic.

For (1) filtering out artificial user activity, in addition to engaging the Google Analytics bot filtering option in view settings to exclude sessions from known bots and spiders, you can also use tools like reCAPTCHA as deployed with Google Tag Manager (e.g., “Improve Google Analytics Bot Detection With reCAPTCHA“).

For (2) filtering internal traffic from a company network, you could use Google Tag Manager to set a cookie as users access the company intranet, and then use the presence of that cookie value to set a Google Analytics custom dimension, and add a filter based on that custom dimension being populated. If the intranet does not use the same root domain as the pubic website, you would need to get your employees to view a hidden URL on the public website only accessible from the company network to set this cookie.

For (3) account based marketing intelligence, you could leverage a third party solution to populate Google Analytics custom dimensions that represent similar data. An example would be KickFire for Google. With this service you can use Google Tag Manager to hit their API, which returns rich firmographic information associated with a user’s IP address, which can be saved to custom dimensions. We’ve co-presented in two webinars with KickFire that detail use of their service with Google Marketing Platform products:

  1. Add Account Based Intelligence to Google Analytics (12/07/2017).
  2. Eliminate Ad Waste with Account-Based Marketing in Google Analytics (08/20/2019).

As of February 8, 2020, the Dimensions and Metrics Explorer has not been updated to show these dimensions as deprecated. In the Google Analytics Core Reporting API:

  • Service Provider is referenced as “ga:networkLocation“, and is defined as “The names of the service providers used to reach the property. For example, if most users of the website come via the major cable internet service providers, its value will be these service providers’ names.”
  • Network Domain is referenced as “ga:networkDomain“, and is defined as “The domain name of users’ ISP, derived from the domain name registered to the ISP’s IP address.”
Google Analytics no longer supports Service Provider and Network Domain dimensions