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Google Analytics use the filters to segment the data in Views to form smaller groups. Filters can be used to include, exclude or replace certain pieces of information in the data contained by View or Account.
Let’s start with the basics.
How can we create new filters?
One can create and implement filters either at the Account Level or View. The best practice is to create filters at the account level. You can then assign them to different Views. You can also create filters at the View Level. That particular filter will then apply only to a specific View. I’d suggest you to never create filters for Views. It is some customized dimension or metric that needs to be applied to a certain group.
How to manage the filters?
To manage your filters, navigate on to the All Filters menu. You can manage or edit all the filters in your account through All Filters menu. You can always refer to Google Analytics documentation to learn how to create, manage and use filters. There is information on filters at different levels.
Source: Google Analytics
Before starting with a basic filter guide, there are a couple of things that you need to know about filters.
- Unfiltered View:
Always- I repeat always have a View named “Unfiltered View”. This will help you to keep your real data intact at all times. This View helps you to make sure that nothing unexpected has happened to the data. If something happens, you back up saved somewhere. Never add any filters to Unfiltered View. This will help you get to the unprocessed data whenever necessary.
- Main View:
The main View- is the one View used for reporting regularly. You can name it whatever you like, but make sure to let your team know which View would be used for reporting.
- Test View:
Since the results of applied filters cannot be undone. So, it’s always a good practice to test your new filter onto the test filter. And let it run for a few days to know how it affects the data. Does it give the desired result or no? The test run of filters gives you ample time to verify the credibility of the filter.
If you haven’t been doing this then start implementing it from today.
- Naming Conventions:
If you have several clients and websites, you should better use naming conventions for the different Views to identify each View at the very first glance. The practice becomes very handy when you have to configure the accounts and figure out that which filter applies to which View.
How does filters Process?
Filters are only effective from the implementation time and onwards. It will not impact the historical data of the View. And the other major thing is that the filters process in the order they are being implemented. So better implement the filters in the correct order to gain the desired result.
Basic Filters in Google Analytics:
Google Analytics offers a few basic and most commonly used filters by default. And also give the option to create your filters. Under this heading, I’m going to cover a few basic filters which can help you to segment your data. These filters are used to refine the data and also to find the sources of data.
Google Analytics Filters for Data Collection:
Google Analytics offers these filters for a basic level of filtration. By understanding them, one can certainly tweak them a little to do high-level and more systematic reporting.
- Include Internal IP addresses
- Exclude Internal IP Addresses
- Include Specific Hostname
- Exclude specific hostname
- Exclude Dev site traffic
Google Analytics Filters for Data Consistency:
These filters by Google Analytics bring more correctness and consistency in the data. The following filters are frequently used to make data all the more consistent. And also if you are struggling with your reports, then these filters are ideal to use and make your data more
- Prepend Hostname to request Uniform Resource Identifier (URI)
- Lowercase hostname
- Remove Query String
- Lowercase search term
- Append Slash to Request URI
- Lowercase Request URI
- Search and Replace filter
- Lowercase Campaign Dimension
Segmenting data can yield a better analysis. Even a few filters of Google Analytics can help you avoid sampling. All the default reports can only be grouped at the View level. This makes defining and using more Views a very wise practice. You might find yourself in a situation where you have to apply advanced segmentation. You can do this by using the following filters on Views is a better option.
- Include a Traffic Medium
- Providing a specific device category
- Include a Country
I hope the above-mentioned point is helpful enough for understanding the basic level filters of Google Analytics. They provide a root understanding of Google Analytics. Configuring the filters right is the most important implication. As once the data processed through the filter, there is no way that you can revert it to its original form.