Chapter 6. Filtering Your 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 are just about the same — it’s only meaningless data 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 that are used to create reports and those that have no value to you. Google Analytics provides filtering capabilities that help you see through the myriad facts, numbers, and values it collects.

What’s a Filter?

Suppose Google Analytics simply collected information about your web site statistics and then dumped it 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 what the facts that Google Analytics collects mean, data go 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 Expressions, also known ...

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