Want Google Analytics data that matters? Use these 5 filters.


The basic set-up for Google Analytics (GA) is simple. It goes like this:


  1. Use a Gmail address to create a Google Analytics account
  2. Add tracking code to your website.


Done and done.
Or, are you?


No – not if you want quality data. If you settle for the basic, default analytics configuration, the data you get will be basic at best, and probably worthless. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out.


Instead, here’s what I recommend you do. Once your primary account is up, get some custom configurations going, pronto.


It’s easy to do, and if you do it you’ll be accessing meaningful data in no time. Data that informs your marketing decisions and help you optimize channels. Data that improves your funnel and grows your business.


I’m serious! GA configurations are a huge part of most success stories these days. So let’s get you configuring!


Below are the FIRST 5 FILTERS to set-up for your account. These are the golden five that prove useful to our clients, time and again. If you add these filters, your data will be cleaner and better, right out of the gates.


Before you add these five filters, first set up an Unfiltered View of GA data. That way you’ll have raw data to go back to if you ever get confused or want to start from scratch with new filters.


Okay, here we go. Five filters to make your Google Analytics data cleaner and better:



Before you do ANYTHING ELSE, add IP Filters to filter out all your internal IP Addresses. That way you and your people won’t affect your GA data. If you go to your site a thousand times a day to test buttons, you don’t want that behavior to register on GA.


There are many ways to ensure it never does. You can exclude an ISP. You can use Custom Tagged Links or Custom Dimensions. You can opt out of GA via a browser add-on.


Whatever you do, make sure you do it first. That way your internal behaviors won’t muddy up your lovely, pristine data.


Apply a “search and replace” filter to combine your Facebook data into one report. This step will make it easier to watch how the channel is performing. Why? Because left to its own devices, GA segments Facebook data into many reports. It can get confusing. You’ll see m.facebook.com / referral, facebook.com / referral and l.facebook.com/referral. Nobody has time for that!


A “search and replace” filter can combine this data, making it appear clear and sensible in all reports.
Or, you can reference the Social Network data aggregated for each of the channels. This if found under Acquisition > Social Section. And then on the Network Referral Report.


But, this is the only report where the data shows up totaled. If you want to analyze Facebook data as a whole, on ALL reports, you’ll need to add a filter.


Sometimes the same URLs show up as two different ones because of upper and lowercase letters.  Example: zora.digital/blog-example.com and zora.digital/Blog-example.com. Because of that capital B in the second example, these would show up as two unique URLs. That’s silly. By setting up a filter, you can force URL’s like the above to report as one.


Use a “search and replace” filter to combine email referral traffic data into one report. If you don’t, you’ll see email referrals coming from each source. Mail.aol.com / referral, mail.google.com / referral / mg.mail.yahoo.com, on and on. Add a filter to combine referral for sources like these. Doing so will make it much easier to compare email referrals as a whole, with other traffic sources.


Google Analytics Filters now offers bot and spider filtering. Robots and spiders attack! Sounds a bit sci-fi, but it’s super-easy to thwart these foes. Select a new checkbox option labeled: “Exclude traffic from known bots and spiders.” You can find this option in the view level of the management user interface. Voila, no more bots and spiders mucking up your data.


It comes down to three simple words: Filter Your Data.


It’s not difficult. And you’ll be happy you did.

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Zora Digital is a Chicago digital marketing agency. We help healthy lifestyle brands with a spirit of innovation navigate the digital landscape and create significant ROI.