Google Analytics ‘Views’ – providing the data you really want

I was recently working with a company which was the UK end of a worldwide organisation, with a single worldwide website. While there’s no problem with using one domain worldwide, rather than localised ones, it does make analysing the traffic in one country quite difficult. If you’re using Google Analytics, this is where ‘views’ come in. It’s easy to set up a ‘view’ just showing the website traffic data for visits from specific countries, and if this is something you need, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. But views can do so much more, and it’s surprising how many companies only have one ‘view’ of their data in Google Analytics. I’d thoroughly recommend having several.

You’ll find control of views in the ‘Admin’ section of Google Analytics:

GAviews

Here you’ll see that I have 5 views, some just for playing around with. Always keep one view of raw data which you never touch (and that includes not adding any filters to it). Any others will be the same data, but with filters added to achieve whatever it is you want. You can read more about creating filters here.

If I create a new filter, I test it out for a few days in a ‘test view’, and if it works, then I import it to the view where I want it. As long as you don’t touch the main views, you can’t do any harm, so mess around with new views to your heart’s content.

Isolating traffic from one country is just one idea for a view. You might like to strip out visits from inside your company, if you think they’re having a measurable impact on your traffic. Some people want an easy way of looking at what visitors on mobile devices are doing. There are many possibilities, and although you can retrospectively investigate most of these, it makes sense to have views silently collecting the data for whenever you need it. Here’s a good article for further reading.

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