Filters in Google Analytics
Filters are a way to expose more data then the standard interface shows you. The first part to applying filters is deciding which ones you want to you use and why? Before we get into how filters work in Google Analytics let’s look at some preset filters to give you some ideas.
3 Favorite Custom Filters
Pay Per Click Exposed Keywords
Allows you to see what keyword trigger what ads. This is something you cannot see in AdWords or Analytics without a special filter. Link to Naked Keywords Filter for AdWords or, even better ROIRev’s Exact Keyword Tracking with ga.js
Social Media Traffic Only
If you are working the social side for traffic you can create a separate profile along with a filter to only track traffic from social networks. You can see how social traffic moves through your sales funnel. Link to Social networks tracking filter (you can modify the code to suit your social networks).
With the introduction of personal search in Jan 2007 it is difficult to see where your website is truly ranked under your money keywords. Apply a filter in Google Analytics and you can see positions your website ranks in Google result pages. Link to track organic rankings.
3 Common Preset Filters
Track Sub Domain Traffic
With a slight modification to your tracking code and a simple filter you can track all sub domains from one account.
Suppose you have URI’s that are created in upper and lowercase. When this happens you will see 2 versions of your web pages showing up in your reports. In reality there is only one page that receives the visit. To avoid duplicate case sensitive entries your can apply a filter to force lowercase.
Full Referrer URL
In Google Analytics the URI is created by default in your reports. If you ever want to see the full URL your can use a filter to display the full URL.
How Do Filters Work?
Before we dive in and start making filters it is good to know how they work. Firstly, filters are very powerful when you want to customize your data reporting. Unfortunately Filters are not utilized as they could be because they are often misunderstood.
Filters use regular expressions as a coding language and have three main elements:
1) Filter Field
2) Filter Pattern
3) Type of Filter
Default Filter Screen
This is the screen you see when you first enter filter settings.
1) Specifies adding a new filter to existing profile.
2) Name Your Filter.
3) Enter Regular Expression for the Domains.
4) Choose from 1 of 4 presets.
In the screen capture above there are 4 main presets in the interface:
1) Exclude all Traffic from a Domain- Finds the domain of each website visitor via reverse lookup. When the domain is found it is matched up with the correct IP address and excluded form traffic statistics.
2) Exclude all traffic from an IP address- This filter is widely used to exclude non-legitimate site visitors. Any analytic data appearing from blocked IP addresses will not appear in your reports.
3) Include only Traffic to a Sub Directory- Often websites are organized in a topical fashion. Sometimes certain topic categories have much higher value then others. For those categories you can create separate profiles and filter only the traffic to that directory.
4) Custom Filter- As soon as you choose this option a number of other options are now available to you.
You can use as many filters as you want in each profile, reminding you to again test filters in your Sandbox profile when they are advanced or unproven. When you have several filters per profile Google Analytics links them all together and executes them in the order they appear. The end of each filters is actually the beginning of the next one when using multiple part filters.
Note: There is something wrong with the filters above, can you guess? Hint: it’s naked!
Apply Existing Filter to Profile
1) Checking this button allows you to choose from filters you have previously made in your account.
2) All previous filters available to you appear in this text filed.
3) After you select one or more (hold ctrl key down) filters click the add button.
4) When you have successfully added filters they will appear in this box.
5) To start using these filters click “Save Changes”
Direct Link to Filter Settings
You can create many filters in each profile. When you apply a filter to a profile I will give you a word of caution, test it first! In a previous tutorial we set up several profiles. The “Sandbox” is for testing filters if you are not sure. When filters are applied to data they change it irreversibly.