In part two of the KOBIT guide to Google Analytics, we’re going to show you how views and filters are beneficial to data analysis.
To make data analysis that much easier, Google Analytics gives users the option to create and apply filters to their data. This allows you to segment your website data so that it only includes specific types of traffic or information and excludes any unwanted data.
While filters can be applied at an account level, it’s highly recommended that you first create different data views before you apply any filters.
In case you missed out on Part 1 of this guide, click here.
What is a View in Google Analytics?
When you create a Google Analytics account, the website that you add becomes a Property.
Google Analytics will automatically create an unfiltered view of every property that you add under your account but you do have the ability to add several different views to each property. Every View gives you access to specific reports and analysis tools.
So, what this means is that if you were collecting data for two websites using the same Google Analytics tracking tag but didn’t create two different views, the data for both websites would appear in the same reports.
Why Views and Filters Need to Be Used Together
It’s recommended that you create three different views before you apply any filters so that you always have access to your original data and can test your filters first.
Here are the three views that you should create before creating and applying any filters.
- Raw View. This is the view that will remain untouched. This will give you continuous access to your raw website data.
- Main View. Use this view to pull all of your reports. This is also the view that you will apply your filters to after you’ve tested them.
- Test View. As the name suggests, your test view will be used to test all of your filters before you apply them to your main view.
How to Create Views in Google Analytics
To create your different views in Google Analytics, follow these steps:
- Sign in to your Google Analytics account
- Click on Admin in the bottom left-hand corner of the Google Analytics home screen
- Select the property that you want to create a view for under the Property column
- Under the View column, click on Create View
- Add a Reporting View Name and a Reporting Time Zone. Be sure to give your views logical names that you’d easily be able to recognize later on
- Click on Create View
How to Create a Filter in Google Analytics
Once you’re ready to create your filters, follow these steps.
- Click on Admin again and navigate to your Test View
- Under the View column, click on Filters
- Click on the red + Add Filter button
- You can now either create a custom filter or you can choose one from the predefined list
- Select the View that you want to apply the filter to and click Save
If you’ve tested your filter and would now like to apply it to your main view, follow these steps:
- Navigate to your Main View and click on Filters
- Click on the + Add Filter button again
- Select Apply Existing Filter
- Hit Save
You would now follow the above steps for each of the filters you want to set up.
3 Important Google Analytics Filters
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to create different views and filters, let’s look at some of the most important filters that you can and should apply to your website data.
- Exclude IP Addresses. When you view your website reports, you don’t want the data to be skewed by employees and colleagues who are spending time on your business website. This is a predefined filter that you can apply. Simply give it a relevant name and select Exclude > Traffic from the IP Addresses > That are Equal To from the drop-down menus. You will need to know what your IP address is for this filter.
- Include Hostname. To ensure that you’re only seeing traffic from your own host and that other domains aren’t being included in your traffic, use the Hostname filter. Give your filter a relevant name and select Include and Hostname from the Filter Field drop-down menu. You will now need to add an expression to the Filter Pattern field. Insert the following expression but replace Example with your website URL: ^(www\.)?example\.com$
- Exclude Screen Resolution. Spambots and crawlers usually have a screen resolution of ‘not set’. This predefined filter will exclude that traffic from your site. Select a name for your filter and click on Exclude and select Screen Resolution from the Filter Field drop-down menu. Insert ^\(not set\)$ in the Field Pattern field.
These basic filters will ensure that your traffic numbers are as accurate as possible but there are still a number of other filters that you can apply.
Once you have a better understanding of your specific data requirements, you can begin creating and applying filters that are more relevant to your business.
Don’t miss out on Part 3 of our All-In-One Guide to Google Analytics where we will take a deep dive into the most important Google Analytics metrics and how to create goals.