Filters are used by Google Analytics Views to segment data and are a tool that can be used to clean up the dataset. They can be used to include only specific segments of traffic, exclude data such as internal traffic, or replace information before it is shown in the reporting interface to keep order in the account.
It is possible to create filters at either the account or view level. To prevent duplication and maintain consistency within the account, it is best practice to create filters at the account level.
By creating filters at the account level, you are able to assign them to the various views within. This is helpful as you can apply the exact same filter across multiple views without recreating it every time.
On the other hand, creating a filter at view level that would only be applied to that specific view, which can be useful in certain situations, but in most cases, you should not need to use this method.
Account Level Filters
To access filters applied to your Google Analytics account, navigate to the admin section followed by ‘All Filters’, which is found under the account settings. To create and manage your filters at this level, you will need edit permissions at the account level.
This post is about creating filters though, so once we have accessed the ‘All Filters’ menu, we will choose to create a filter by clicking ‘Add Filter’ at the top of the page. Once clicked, you will see a page that looks like the below:
We have already added our settings to the filter information in the picture. In this example, we are looking to lowercase the ‘medium’ dimension to improve consistency in the data set.
After giving the filter a name, we then chose the filter type ‘Custom’ followed by ‘Lowercase’. For the filter field, we have chosen ‘Campaign Medium’ as this is the dimension we wish to modify. Depending on the filter you are creating, you may see different settings.
Once the filter information has been provided, the bottom of the page shows two boxes below ‘Apply Filter to Views’. To the left are all the views contained within the account (to which the filter is not applied) called ‘Available Views’, and to the right are all the views this filter is assigned to, called ‘Selected Views’.
As can be seen from the image above, we have assigned this filter to our testing view by first clicking the ‘View Name’ in our available views, and then clicking ‘Add’ in-between the two fields. The opposite can be done to remove a filter from a view by selecting the view name and clicking remove.
Finally, click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the page to add the filter to the account.
Now, this filter can be managed by returning to the ‘All Filters’ section. By clicking into a filter you can edit the rules provided but also you can add and remove the filter from various views in the account.
View Level Filters
To create filters at the view level, we need to instead access the ‘Filters’ menu below the ‘View’ settings as shown in the image below:
The process then followed is the same as creating a filter at view level. You need to click ‘Create’ and fill out the ‘Filter Information’ in the exact same way. The difference is that the ‘Apply Filter To’ section is nowhere to be found. With this method, the application of the filter is directly on to the view selected on the initial admin screen. Use the drop-down highlight below to choose the view you wish to apply the filter to, before creating the filter.
Another difference in this method is that you can ‘Verify’ the filter. This is useful if you want to see the amount of data that would be affected. By clicking verify, Google Analytics tries to calculate what change the filter would have on the previous 7 days of data. In some cases though, it will not show you any changes if they are within too small of a sample.
Again, click save to commit your filter to the view. If you wish to assign the filter to a new view, use the same methodology as going via the account level and assigning it elsewhere. The exception to the rule is if you’re filtering by a custom dimension, these filters have to be created at the view level and cannot be managed at the account level.
If you are following best practices and applying filters to a test view, first always re-assign the tested filter at the account level rather than creating a new one in your reporting view. By doing so, you reduce the likelihood of a human error occurring and you are using an already tested and known to be working filter in your reporting view.
Filters are a great way to segment your data, and help to give more clarity and consistency within the data set. By managing filters in the account and maintaining their functionality, we can shape the data to our reporting needs delivering more insights without needing to externally clean first. For more information and help with your analytics, get in touch with us today.