Analytics

Google Analytics: Filter Order Matters!

When you set up new views and add your regular filters, chances are, things usually work exactly as expected. But occasionally, you’ve triple and quadruple checked each individual filter, yet the data is not coming in as expected (or isn’t coming in at all).

Maybe it’s a typo? (Always get a second pair of eyes!) another frequent culprit is filter order.

What is filter order? Why should I care?

Filter order is simply the order in which your filters are applied. Your data is processed sequentially with the first filter, then the second filter, then the third filter, etc.

Most of the time this doesn’t matter because you’re altering different aspects of your data. Where it does matter is if you’re changing the same type of data more than once.

For example:

Filter 1: Include a single page or section

filter a single page or section

 

This alters your data so only pages within the section show up in your data:

/section1
/section1/page1
/section1/page2

Filter 2: Include full URL

include full url filter

This filter rewrites the URI to include the hostname, so instead of:

/section1
/section1/page1
/section1/page2

You now have something like this in your data:
www.domain1.com/section1
www.domain1.com/section1/page1
www.domain1.com/section1/page2
www.domain2.com/section1
www.domain2.com/section1/page1
www.domain2.com/section1/page2

Awesome! So what’s wrong?

Nothing is wrong with the above setup, but if you by chance have those two filters in reverse order, your view would have no data! Why?

The first filter would work, adding the domain as you intended: www.domain1.com/section1

The second filter would not work; the regular expression won’t match anything.

The regex, /section1, will match a URI that begins with /section, but remember the other filter changed the URI to www.doman1.com/section1.

Ok, so how do I change filter order?

Within the Filters list, click Assign Filter Order:

assign filter order

Use the move up & move down buttons to rearrange your filters:

arrange filters

Hit Save, and you’re done!

Go check your data in real-time to make sure everything is coming in.

How will I know if filter order is going to be an issue?

Many times, filter order won’t be an issue, which is why it’s frequently overlooked. But, as a general rule of thumb, anytime you have 2 or more filters the reference the same dimension, pay extra attention to your filter order.

Stay tuned to the Seer blog for more tips and tricks for Analytics practitioners — from beginners to advanced users.