Are You Still Using the Default View in Google Analytics?

Custom Views give you a powerful way to look at your analytics reports. If you have not bothered to set any up then read on and see why it matters… When you first set up your analytics account Google creates a default view for your website that includes every piece of data that’s collected.  This default view is what you are used to navigating around when you look at your different reports.  However more data does not necessarily lead to better insights. Views are an effective means to look at the most interesting segments of your traffic.

Key Difference between Views and Segments

Segments can also be used to look at specific portions of your traffic so why go to the trouble of setting up custom views? Here is a look at some of the difference between segments and views;

  • Views save you time since you don’t have to apply a segment to each report you want to look at with a view it already applied across all your reports as soon as you open it. If you find yourself repeatedly using a particular segment it’s time to create a view for it!
  • Views are your only option if you want a means to segment Funnels and Multi-Channel Reports. In addition they can be applied to other reports such as alerts and they can themselves be further segmented if you want to get really granular.
  • One downside might be that Views unlike Segments don’t apply to historical data. The data is only collected once you set up the view.

How to Set up a New Custom View

Setting up a new view is easy. The most important thing to remember is not to modify or touch the default view that collects all the data for your account. To set up a new view follow the steps as follows;

Report View Settings

Copy the Default View

    1. Go to the admin section in analytics and click “View Settings”
    2. Create a copy of the default view.
Creating a New View

Creating a New View

    1. Give your new view a name for example “Mobile Traffic.”
    2. Once you click “Copy View” the view will be created
    3. Keep in mind your new view has all the settings of the default view.

Adding Filters to Your Custom View

Now that your new view is created you will need to create a filter for it. In this example we will create a filter to just sort out mobile traffic.

Creating a Filter

Creating a Filter

    1. Go to the admin of your new view and click “Filters.”
    2. Click “+ New Filter” and enter the settings.
Updating Settings on A New Filter

Updating Settings on A New Filter

    1. In this example we choose the include option and select the premade field for mobile devices.
    2. Save the filter and adjust the filter order if needed.

8 Views You Should Consider Setting Up

You can create up to 25 custom views for each property. The number of different possible views you could set up is almost endless. Here are 8 ideas to get you thinking about the possibilities;

The Default View – The default view basically stores all the data related to your website or property and should never be changed or altered. Any filters applied to the default view will result in a loss of historical data! The default view should not have any filters applied to it and should be linked to your adwords and webmaster account and have features like enhanced e-commerce and demographic data collection enabled.  This will save you time when you create new views since you won’t have to link these account again.
Target Market View – Create a view that only includes traffic from geographies where you actually do business. This one a must! Is visitors from Brazil never convert does it make sense to include their behavior in your optimization analysis.  This is a filter that you might want to consider adding to all of your new views. You can include multiple countries in a view by selecting filter pattern and then using a regular expression such as;  United States|Brazil. Always make sure to verify your filter when using any type of regular expression.
Mobile View – Create a view just to look at the traffic coming from mobile devices.
PPC – Exclude everything except your PPC campaigns. If it’s useful you can create views just for specific campaigns, adgroups and even referral paths
Specific Directories – You can create a view that relates to a specific directory on your website such as /blog or alternatively a sub-domain.
Exclude Specific IP addresses – The most common use of this filter is to exclude visits from yourself or your company. This is could be set up as a view or it might be a filter you want to apply to all your custom views.
Filter Spam Referrals – Filters are a good way to block to block referral spam. One of the most effective ways to do this might be setting a cookie – read a detailed post on this from Lunametrics.

Tips for Creating Filters

  • New filters may take up to 24 hours to start recording data.
  • Filters are not retroactive and only start collecting data from the time they are created.
  • Data is filtered according to the order of your filters.
  • Filters are destructive. Once a filter is applied that data is no longer part of the view.

Common questions about views and filters in Analytics

  1. Can filters be turned off and on for a particular view?
    Once a filter is activated it and until the time it is removed it actively removes the information available for a view. Simply removing the filter from the view will not restore the data. That’s why we keep a default view.
  2. Should “bot” filtering be enabled when creating a new view?
    In general, this is a great option and it should be enabled for all of your views with the exception of the default view.
  3. How do I create a filter that includes multiple locations?
    Be careful since if you create a filter for China and then apply another filter for India below it you won’t be seeing any traffic from India since it will already be filtered out. You can include multiple countries by selecting filter pattern and then using a regular expression such as; India|China

About David Urmann

David Urmann is an entrepreneur and avid traveler. He keeps an authoritative expertise on many subjects including SEO, SEM, UI/UX Optimization. An avid traveler and a guide book writer Dr. Urmann is the founder of one of the world's most active social travel networks.