For quite a while I did not worry about creating and configuring views and filters in Google Analytics. The amount of traffic I was created as a developer was not a significant percentage of the overall traffic. In my estimation setting up views and filters was not worth the effort.
This changed when I started working with Events in Google Analytics. The number of events sent during testing had a negative effect on the reporting and site data. When I saw event testing would skew the reporting, it was time implement Google Analytics Views and Filters Best Practices.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Views & Filters
Why you should consider views and filters:
- Cleaner data going into Google Analytics
- Ability to exclude internal traffic
- Exclude Events from reports
- Makes Google Data Studio easier to work with
- Just more professional
Views allow you to look segments of GoogleAnalytics data
Stop Data before it gets to the views and reports
Working with Filters
There are two ways to get to the filters in Google Analytics. In your Google Analytics account go to the admin tab and you will see two links to filters. Even though one link appears at the “Account” level and the other link appears at the “View” level they both go to the same place
Views Best Practices
Core Views to Create
One of the best practices for “Views” is to create three core “Views” per “Website Property”. The views should consist of:
- Raw or Unfiltered View — This view is all website traffic with no filtering or modification. This way you can see everything and it can also serve as a backup or reference should you need it.
- Testing View — Testing Area just to make sure the filters work correctly. The last thing you want to do is create a misconfigured filter that negatively your client reports.
- Primary View — This view is used for creating cleaner more insightful reports or to be used as a datasource for Google Data Studio further analysis
Views Naming Conventions
Now that we have minimum or core views established, it is good practice to have standard naming conventions. By standardizing on the names it becomes easier to work with and requires less thinking on which view is which.
Here are some view naming conventions I found others using
Jeff Sauer uses
- Jeffalytics – Master
- Jeffalytics – Unfiltered
- Jeffaytics Test Filters
Love Data Uses
- Primary reporting view
- Raw reporting view
- Test reporting view
Our Naming Recomentations
- SITENAME – Reporting View
- SITENAME – Unfiltered View
- SITENAME – Testing View
SITENAME is not actually used. Before each view description I am including a short abbreviation for the Site or Domain Name. By including the sitename it will be easier to identify in Google Data Studio or other applications.
So for this site WPHosting Reviews I use the Abreviation WPHR. Here the names are in action:
Views Created for WordPress Hosting Reviews
- WPHR – Reporting View
- WPHR – Unfiltered View
- WPHR – Testing View
Items to remember when working with Views
Views Question & Answer
Learn from the questions I had when first working with Views. Have a views question? ask it in the comments and we will get in answered.
Could it be that you make the original unfiltered view the “Primary Report View” and then create a new raw view? This new raw view will not have the history but it will be more important to move the history to the filtered view so you reports can be more complete?
Is it good to check “Bot Filtering” on all views? Even your Raw or Unfiltered view?
If you copy the view, will the data and traffic in the view be copied to the new view?
What is the difference between setting filter at the Account Level and the View Level?
Say you have a view with several years of data and now you want to set up filtered views, what is the best way to do this?
Views Tips & Tricks
When you set up new views remember to confirm the View Settings.
Creating New View or Copy View
When creating a copy of a view, it is better to use the copy button rather than creating a new view from scratch.
When you copy a view, all your view settings and entered data are copied. When you create a new view you have to re-enter all the data your self.
Values pre-entered when the view is copied
- Default Page
- Exclude URL Parameters
- Currency Displayed as
- Bot Filtering
- Site search Tracking > Enable setting
- Site Search Tracking > Query Parameter
- Site Search Tracking > Site Search Categories
Filters Best Practices
Core Filters to Create
Filter IP address
When working with Filters you can get to the through two links.
Filters Naming Conventions
Best Practices and Naming Conventions for Filters.
Filters Question & Answer
Here we will have question and answer for Filters.
How do I test an IP address filter?
If I am on a Dynamic IP address, how do I know when it changes so I can update my filter?
From the Google Realtime Support Article, it appears that filters are applied to the realtime reports. Google notes that it can take up to two hours for changes made to views and filters to reflect in the realtime reports.
Filters Tips & Tricks
Over the years we have found some Tips and Tricks when working with Filters.
Have any questions? Does a topic need more explanation? Like what you just read? If any of these are true please leave a comment below.
Thanks! — Steven
Steven Johnson, a WP Hosting Reviews senior editor, works from Atlanta and covers all things related to WordPress and Hosting.
He graduated from Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, has managed hosting companies and now builds WordPress and Joomla Websites for small to medium companies full time.