Google Analytics IP filter not working? Here is how to fix it

One of the issues I often see is that the IP based view filters in Google Analytics not working for many people.

If you are currently facing this problem then follow the steps below:

Step-1: Check your current IP address by using this tool

Step-2: Compare your current IP address with the IP address that you excluded via your IP based view filter in Google Analytics. Is it still the same? If not, then remove your old IP address and exclude your current IP address.

Note: Whether you use IPv4 or IPv6 based address, they both can change any day, any time without any prior notice. Because of this reason, IP based view filters are not effective in excluding internal traffic in Google Analytics.

The best way to block internal traffic in Google Analytics is by using the ‘Google Analytics Opt out Add-on

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If you current IP address matches the one you excluded via GA view filter then make sure:

#1 You are not testing your IP based filter on historical data (like Google Analytics data from yesterday). This is because filters in Google Analytics do not work retroactively. They start working only from the day and the minute, they are first created. So do not use historical data to test your new IP based filter.

#2 Filters in GA can take some time to start working. So do not test your filter as soon as you create/modify it. Wait for at least 15 to 20 minutes before you start the test. Sometimes it may take up to 24 hours for your new filters to start working.

Note: Google Analytics built-in filter verification tool can not test/verify IP based filters:

#3 Do not use browser-based tools (like ‘Google developer console’, ‘Google Tag Assistant’) to test GA filters.

This is because filters in Google Analytics work after a hit has been sent to your GA server and before it is processed and reported in your reports.

But browser-based tools, like the Google Developer Console, report on a hit as soon as it is sent to the Google Analytics server.

So if you use the Google Developer Console to test your IP filter, you would see the hit being sent to the GA server, even when you have excluded your IP address via the view filter. You may conclude that your IP filter is not working when in reality it is working.

Similarly, Google Tag Assistant will report that your Google Analytics tag is firing even when you have excluded your IP address via the view filter. 

So both Developer Console and Tag Assistant tools are not useful for testing any GA filter (and not just IP based filters).

If your IP based filter is working correctly, you should not see any internal traffic in your GA reports, not even in your real-time reports.

But sometimes, real-time reports in GA produce false negatives results (i.e. show that the IP based view filter is not working when in reality it is). Also if you are getting a lot of traffic, then finding your specific GA session in real-time reports won’t be possible. 

So do not rely on just real-time reports for testing your view filters.

How to correctly test your IP based view filter in Google Analytics

Follow the steps below:

Step-1: Install Google Tag Assistant Chrome extension and then enable it.

Step-2: Install Google Analytics Debugger Chrome extension and then enable it.

Step-3: Switch on the Google Analytics debugger by clicking on its icon on the top right-hand side of your browser address bar:

Step-4: Right-click on the tag assistant icon and then select ‘Options:

Step-5: Change the ‘Level of Details’ for all Google tags to ‘Detailed Information’:

Step-6: Within the tag assistant options, make sure that the ‘Recording: Follow Links Across Tabs’ checkbox is checked:

Step-7: Click on the Google Tag Assistant icon again and then click on the ‘Menu’ button. Make sure that ‘Auto Validation’ and ‘GA Debug’ settings are turned ON:

Step-8: Login to your Google Analytics account and make sure that you have at least ‘read and analyze’ permission at the view level for the view whose data you are going to analyze via Google tag assistant recording.

Step-9: Navigate to one of the web pages of your website on which Google Analytics is installed.

Step-10: Click on the Google Tag Assistant icon again and then click on ‘Menu’ button > ‘Show in separate tab’. The ‘Show in separate tab’ menu item will open the Google Tag Assistant in a separate browser tab:

Step-11: Click on the ‘Record’ button at the bottom of the ‘Result of Tag Analysis’ window:

Step-12: Now reload the web page from where you want to start the recording. This reload will send a request/hit to Google Tag Assistant and your recording will actually start.

Step-13: Click on the ‘Stop recording’ button:

Step-14: Click on the ‘Show Full Report‘ button:

Once you clicked on this button, you will be redirected to ‘Google Tag Assistant Recordings’.

Step-15: Click on the ‘Google Analytics Reports’ tab:

Step-16: Select your GA property and view. You will then see the ‘Google Analytics report’ of the tag assistant recording.

Step-17: Click on the ‘change location’ link on the left-hand side of the ‘Google Analytics report’:

Step-18: Select the option button ‘Use a specific IP address’ and then enter the IPv6 based IP address you want to test:

Step-19: Click on the ‘update’ button to start the test. Once the test is complete, scroll down to the bottom of the Google Analytics report and click on ‘Page Load’ under the ‘Flow’ section:

Step-20: Click on ‘Hit 1’:

Step-21: Now look for following similar message under ‘Mutations’: ‘Hit dropped by filter exclude internal traffic

Note: Here ‘exclude internal traffic’ is the name of my IP based filter.

This message confirms that your IPv6 based filter is working. On the other hand, if your filter is not working then you will see following similar message under ‘Mutations’:

Related Article: How to turn on IP Anonymization in Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

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