What Does (Other) Mean in Google Analytics — And How to Fix It!

I’m about to reveal how big of a nerd I really am: one of my biggest pet peeves is when I pop over to Google Analytics, look through a site’s acquisition channels, and see (Other).

GA Default Channel Grouping

Ugh! Tell me one of you understands my frustration? Has this ever happened in your Google Analytics?

Google Analytics automatically uses the “Default Channel Grouping” settings. When Google doesn’t know where to put a specific source / medium of traffic, it falls into this (Other) channel.

If you click on (Other), Google will take you to the specific source / mediums for that traffic. When we dive into all of the source / mediums that end up getting placed into the (Other) channel for Whole Whale’s Google Analytics, we found that most of them are coming from campaign tagged URLs.

GA source / medium

If you are running advertising campaigns with campaign tagged URLs or have other campaign tagged URLs out there in the Internet ethers, many of them may be falling into (Other). The “Default Channel Grouping” does have a “Paid Search” channel (AdWords) and an “Other Advertising” channel, but for some reason Google Analytics isn’t recognizing many of these campaign tagged URLs.  The good news is that there is a way to move specific sources of traffic to another channel, it just takes a bit of manual work which we will outline below.

First, click on (Other) and look at the source / mediums that fall into this channel. Determine if you want to leave the source / medium in (Other), move the source / medium to another channel, or create a completely new channel for a set of source / mediums.

Move (Other) Traffic to a Different Channel

If you want to move a source / medium to different channel in the Default Channel Grouping settings, click on the Admin tab at the top of Google Analytics, then click on Channel Settings → Channel Grouping. 

GA Channel Settings

Click on Default Channel Grouping and you will see each channel. If you haven’t changed your channels before, each will say “system defined.”

Click on the pencil for the channel where you want your source / medium from (Other) to go. For example, some of our Facebook advertising traffic is coming through (Other) as “Facebook / CPC.” I want to move this traffic into the “Other Advertising” channel.

GA Other Advertising ChannelWhen I click on the pencil, I see that Google already has “Source / Medium exactly matches Other Advertising.” To add an additional source / medium, you will want to click the “OR” button, choose “source / medium exactly matches” and enter the source / medium that was falling into (Other). You can see below that I went ahead and added two source / mediums to Whole Whale’s “Other Advertising” channel. Click “Done” to save and that’s it!

Adding a source / medium to a channel in GA

Creating a New Channel

Let’s say you don’t want to leave the traffic in (Other), but it also doesn’t fit in any of the other default channels. In this case, you could create a brand new channel of your own! Click “Define a new channel” above the default ones below:

Create a new channel in GA

Name your new channel whatever you want, choose the dimension to define your channel, the display color, and click Done. Easy as pie — and now your GA acquisition pie charts will have a new channel to display!

New GA Channel

Have any (Other) questions? Feel free to reach out to us on Twitter and we’d be happy to help!