<We use filters on a whole lot of things. We use them in our water so that we don’t get sick. We use them in our cars so that the air going into the engine and the cab are clean, thus helping lengthen the life of the car and the enjoyment of your fresh AC. So why would you not want to use filters when you run Google Analytics?
A filter can be used to powerful effect within Google’s program by taking out searches or site visits from guests who you don’t want to count in the numbers that you are dissecting or interpreting.
Think of those books that you read as a kid (I use the word “read” lightly). It would be more accurate to ask, “Remember those books that you use to stare at until a picture popped out of the garbled image?” Turns out they are called stereograms. You would try to see what was there on the page and you just can’t see it. Then suddenly BOOM! There is a unicorn astride a rainbow. Filters act kind of like those images.
Looking at the numbers from Google Analytics reports can be very overwhelming and provide you with little to no image. Sometimes you will even swear that you can see something there in the numbers but it might not exist the way you see it.
Much of what we do here at Netmark has to do with seeing the picture through the numbers. With filters on data that we pull from Google Analytics, we are able to see a more accurate representation of what is going on with numbers being reports to us like total site visits, traffic by source, visitor flow, and conversion tracking. The filters need be used with caution however. Always remember to set up a separate profile when you want to create a new filter. If you forget to do this you can sometimes erase data from your past analytics that you can NEVER get back. Setting filters can sometimes cause problems in the way of removing past information or metaphorically blurring the image even further from the truth. So use filters modestly when analyzing your numbers. Congratulations, here is a stereogram to help brighten your day! Spoiler alert: I think it’s a heart but I really don’t know.