Thought I’d share a post on how to use advanced filters in Google Analytics and what are some scenarios where they can come in handy.
Advanced filters are very useful for extracting information from available fields (i.e. campaign source, campaign term) using regular expressions and then using the extracted information to manipulate other fields in Google Analytics so that you can customise how data is recorded in your reports.
First of all, before you use advanced filters, it is important that you have some kind of basic knowledge on regular expressions. If you don’t, then perhaps it’s a good idea to read up on what those cryptic symbols mean and how they’re very useful in pattern matching.
Working in a Google Analytics Authorised Consultants (GAAC) accredited company and also having a Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ), it is essential that I master the art of setting up goals and funnels in Google Analytics for our clients.
A goal can be a very important metric for a client to track such as sales, newsletter sign-ups, and registrations. Of course goals are not just limited to those but can be extended to whatever you would define as an important action on the website to track. Not only is tracking important, but it is also vital that you gain insight into what’s going on in the goal process from funnels.
A funnel is a visual representation of what’s happening during each step of your goal. It gives you great insights into the drop off rates of each step so that you can make informed decisions on improving your goal process and landing pages to increase conversion rates. You can accurately pinpoint which step of the goal process are you getting high drop off rates.
This can help you identify problems such as the checkout button not working, too many call to actions that lead to other goals, not best practice usability and so on.
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In Google Analytics keywords report, you can only segment the keywords by total, paid and non-paid, which pretty much means total, non-cpc and cpc. Also in the keywords report, whenever someone arrives to your website via a cpc medium such as Google Adwords, it will only report the keyword matched in your adgroup keyword list, but not the true search query the visitor typed in.
With a little help of Google Analytics‘ custom advanced filters, you’re able to show in your reports what the true search query was and segment it by mediums.
The screenshot above is an example of how the report will look like after the filters are applied. As you can see, within the brackets is the true search query used on search engines and other shopping portals (i.e. Lasoo, Shopping.com, Shopbot). Of course this example doesn’t show any cpc medium because I don’t run any cpc campaigns. Sponsor me and I will :)
This is pretty handy to see on your reports because now you’re able to segment your keywords by medium as well. Of course you could probably use advanced segments to do this but this incorporates true search query and segmentation at the same time.
So the first step I would recommend is to make sure you set up a test profile. You can skip this part and work on your main profile if you like.
To do so, go to your analytics overview dashboard and click on Add Website Profile. Make sure you select the Add a Profile to an existing domain and from the drop down menu, select your website domain.
You can name it test profile or whatever you like as long as you know it’s a test profile. Pretty much this is your hack and abuse profile where you do experiments and tests on it so that it doesn’t affect your main profile’s reports. Once you’re happy it’s working correctly, you can move your filters etc. to your main profile.
Now the next step is to determine your regular expression to extract search query terms from your referral URLs.