Chapter 10. Filtering Analytics Data

Most people look at a bolt of fabric and see nothing more than cloth. A seamstress looks at it and sees a shirt. The data collected by Google Analytics is just about the same—it's meaningless until you view it from the right perspective. That's when it begins to look like something useful.

In Google Analytics a filter provides the right perspective. Filters help to separate data into two categories: the data used to create reports and the data that has no value to you. Google Analytics provides filtering capabilities that help you see through the myriad facts, numbers, and values it collects.

Using Filters to Further Segment Visitors

Suppose Google Analytics simply collected information about your web-site statistics and then dumped that data in your lap without any kind of organization. It would take you longer to make sense of the statistics than it takes for a toddler to clean his room.

To help you understand the meaning of the facts that Google Analytics collects, data goes through filters. These filters can exclude information collected about certain domains or IP addresses (an Internet site's numerical address), or they can simplify complex sets of numbers or facts, making them easier to understand.

Because understanding data can be a real chore, Google has created a standard set of filters that give you the ability to separate your collected metrics by plugging in key pieces of information or patterns expressed in a language called Regular ...

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