Google Analytics allows you to set up many different views in a Google Analytics account which can be really helpful if you want to derive more insights from your data.
Over the last ten years I have helped dozens of companies with setting up their Google Analytics account and most often I come across two types of configurations:
- Account with one property that includes one view on all traffic.
- Account with one property that includes several views that are incorrectly set up.
In general, both type of configurations are not the way to go. In this post I share six Google Analytics views I would recommend you setup; with the goal to develop a better understanding about what’s going on on your website and optimize upon.
Three Basic Google Analytics Views
There are three Google Analytics views that are a great place to start with.
1. All Data View
Without doubt an unfiltered view of your website should be within your views list of each property / account.
Let’s call it your master view.
The effect of applied filters cannot be undone. Of course you can remove a filter, but it doesn’t change historically collected data which is why I recommend to always keep a view with no filters applied.
2. Your Data View
The second data view that’s very handy is a view that only captures the traffic that comes from your IP address. The most common reason for setting up this view is to test a Google Analytics implementation and/or configuration.
Especially when you are involved with a large, high traffic website, it really helps you to analyze the collected data. You can directly see your behaviour in real-time reports:In order to get this to work you need to add an include filter on your IP addresses:Note:
You should only add one “include filter” on the same dimension. When you apply an include filter, the hit is thrown away if the pattern does not match the data. If you apply multiple include filters, the hit must match every applied include filter in order to save the hit. To include multiple patterns for a specific field, create a single include filter that contains all of the individual expressions separated by ‘|’.
I will explain it with an example. Let’s assume you want to include both organic as well as cpc traffic (all search traffic).
You can’t do this by setting up two individual filters for medium=organic and medium=cpc.
In this case you have to combine both statements in one filter. And it looks like this:
3. Data View That Excludes Known IP Addresses
In your data analysis you want to focus on the traffic that matters.
Your website behaviour might pollute your data since you are not a “normal” website visitor. The same is true for other parties that are directly involved with your website (e.g. clients, partners, other aligned agencies).
In order to collect the most relevant and accurate data, you want to filter these parties out of your data. The easiest way to do this is by adding an exclude filter on known IP addresses.
You might need to filter a range of IP addresses. If this is the case, this IP address range regex tool comes in handy.
The tool is easy to use:
- Step 1: Enter the first IP address of the range.
- Step 2: Enter the last IP address of the range.
- Step 3: Click on “Generate RegEx”.
- Step 4: Copy the results into the IP address filter field.
Here is an example of an exclude filter on IP address:Note: contrary to “include filters” you can add multiple “exclude filters” of the same type to a data view.
Three Additional Google Analytics Views
These are three additional views that I recommend to set up as a minimum.
4. Test View
Let’s assume you come up with a great, new filter you want to apply to one of your existing views. I recommend to apply the new filter to a test view first.
This instead of directly applying this filter to one of your existing views. For this purpose I recommend to set up a testing view that only has filters temporarily applied for testing reasons. So once your test is found successful you can simply remove the involved filter.
Note: learn how to verify filters if you don’t know yet about this neat feature.
5. Device Category View
Mobile traffic is still on the rise and I’ve found some interesting facts about mobile traffic and predictions for the upcoming years.
I would definitely recommend to set up different views for each device category if you are serious about optimizing the user experience on different devices. It will give you much more flexibility since you can focus all standard reports on one device with less risk on sampling.
You need to add the following filter (example for mobile traffic) to your view:You need to change “Mobile” to “Desktop” or “Tablet” and add these filters to a separate view to have three views for your device categories.
Note: in an ideal world you would recognize all visitor’s behaviour on multiple devices. Unfortunately this is not yet the case on most websites / platforms.
6. Traffic Source View
The last Google Analytics view I recommend to set up focuses on a traffic source.
If you are working in a mid to large sized company, responsibilities regarding online marketing are often divided among multiple colleagues. There might be a few people that are involved with analyzing a wide range of data and traffic channels.
On the other hand there are employees that only need to optimize organic traffic or affiliate campaigns or you might have hired an agency you only want to give access to PPC data. Reasons enough to set up different views for your most important traffic sources.
Let’s assume you want to set up one view for organic traffic only. In order to get this to work you need to apply the following filter:You need to decide by yourself how many different traffic source views you set up. In most cases at least two or three different onces is recommended.
There are ten last things I like to share about Google Analytics views and filters.
- Keep at least one view with no filters.
- Be careful with include filters: to include multiple patterns for a specific field, create a single include filter that contains all of the individual expressions separated by ‘|’.
- Views and filters are useful for long-term segmentation purposes.
- Use segments for ad hoc analysis.
- Apply new filters to a secondary view first.
- Views and data segmentation are a great option if there are different stakeholders involved.
- Filters are not immediately active; it might take up to 24 hours to take effect.
- Filter order does matter.
- Setting up different views might have a positive impact on sampling.
- Learn about regular expressions as well if you want to get the most out of filters and views.
This is it from my side. Do you have any Google Analytics views best practices you like to share?