Google Analytics Filter and why it matters?

Google Analytics is a popular web analytics tool. It is used to track and give a complete report on the website’s traffic. By simply adding a piece of code on your website, you can get all sorts of information about your website from google analytics.

When you start to use Google analytics, you’ll see a neat little feature in it called the Filter. What is Filter? What does it do? How Google analytics use the filter? and most importantly, why the order of filter configuration matters?

All about the filters.

Filters are used to modify the data in the report. With filter, you can exclude data, include data, and even change the way a data look in a report. The main aim of using a filter is to transform the data in the report according to your business needs. You can set your custom filter in google analytics. Then, the analytics will apply your filter to data coming from your website. This transformed data from the filter is what you see on the report in your view.

Let me give you an example. A business using Google analytics probably wants data from their customers only and not from their employees. They can exclude their customer data by applying a filter that excludes data from their business IP address. Using this filter, google analytics will ignore all the data from the business and gives the report only with their customer data.

Filters are just a condition applied to the data. When the condition becomes true, the analytics will take action to transform the data. Users can create their filter by first setting the type of data they want to be filtered in the filter field. Then, set a condition to the data. Finally, set an action to act upon the data if the condition is satisfied. Once you create a filter, it is added to your filter library. From the library, you can apply the filter to any data.

Google Analytics also provides a set of predefined filters that you can set for your data. Apart from this, you can customize the filter to include, exclude, transform, and convert lowercase/uppercase the data.

Now that you’ve known the basics about the filters in the google analytics. Let us see why the order of filter configuration matters.

Order of filter configuration matters

You can apply more than one filter to your data. When applying multiple filters, you should know that google applies the filter to your data in the order of your configuration (i.e) chronologically. Hence, the output data from one filter becomes the input to the next one.

Make sure you apply the filter order correctly, or you’ll get undesirable results.

Let us see an example. Consider you want to include the data coming from two cities(London & Tokyo) only. If you apply two filters, filter 1 to include data from London and filter 2 to include data from Tokyo, you’ll not get any result. The filter is applied chronologically. So, the filter 1 includes data coming from London and it doesn’t include the data from Tokyo. The output of filter 1 contains only London data. If the output is fed into filter 2, you’ll get no results from filter 2. As the filter 2 includes only Tokyo data and the input doesn’t have any. To solve this situation, use a single filter to include data from both London and Tokyo.

This is one of the main reasons why the order of the filter matter. So, make sure you know the order configuration when you apply the filter. To make sure you don’t get any undesirable results, first apply your filter on the test data. If it works, then apply it to the main data.

Conclusion

The filter is a great tool present in google analytics. It gives great value to your report if you know how to work with a filter. There are some limitations in the filter like you should set it up before 24 hours, it permanently changes your data, etc. So, make sure you always have a copy of the data without filters applied.

Also, know about the configurations in which the filter is applied cause the order matters a lot. If you are interested in analytics then learn to work with the filters. It gives excellent customization support when generating the report.

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