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Time Saving Google Analytics Tip: Save Filtered Reports

September 15, 2010

When you spend a lot of time in Google Analytics, you start to pick up on features that are not very well documented. One such feature is the ability to save a filtered view of a report to your dashboard.

Common Task – Filtering Reports

One of the more common tasks I find myself doing in Google Analytics is filtering reports to look at specific data. For example, let’s take a really simple example of a blog that shares the same profile as your main site and is located in a sub folder of your domain (for example, www.blastanalytics.com/blog).

Normally, when you go to the ‘Top Content’ (under Content) report in GA (Google Analytics), you see a list of the top content pages across your entire site. The reason why you went into GA was to find out which are your top blog posts; it was not to press the next page button until you find a blog post. The simple way to do this is to filter this report with the following regular expression: ^/blog/.

^/blog Regular Expression Filter

Voila! Now you are only looking at posts from your blog!

The problem with this is that you have to remember the filter expressions and apply the same filters every time you want to look at this subset of data. This can often require the use of a spreadsheet to copy/paste from a list of filter expressions; this is inefficient.

If you first apply this filter to the ‘Top Content’ report (^/blog/), you can then click the ‘Add to Dashboard‘ button at the top of the report.

Add to Dashboard

Now, go check out your dashboard. You’ll notice a new item on your Google Analytics dashboard. When you click the ‘view report’ link, you’ll be taken to the report, with your filter expression already applied. If you decide to schedule an emailed report of your dashboard, it will include the full details of this saved dashboard item.

Another quick Google Analytics tip: if you first edit the filtered report to show 50 rows instead of the default 10, it will come over as 50 rows in the emailed dashboard report or in the ‘view report’ link.

Rename Custom Reports on Dashboard

One question that may come to mind is “Can I change the name on the dashboard?” If it is important enough to do so, there is a way to do this via custom reports. Since you can rename a custom report and save a filtered custom report to the dashboard, this works out nicely.

Here are the steps:

  1. Create a custom report and name it how you would like it to show up on the dashboard.
  2. View the report and apply a filter expression to the custom report.
  3. Click the ‘Add to Dashboard’ button to save this filtered, custom report to your dashboard.

Google Analytics Renamed Dashboard Report
Google Analytics Dashboard: Renamed Custom Report

Want this Custom Report?

Here’s the custom report share-link if you’d like to easily create this custom report and apply it to your own Google Analytics dashboard.

A common question we get asked, is if it is possible to apply an advanced segment to a report and then save that to the dashboard (with the segment applied)? Unfortunately, this is not supported. This is probably due to the way that advanced segments work in GA. Since advanced segments are applied across the interface and not local to just one report, this won’t work. This technique also won’t work on the recently released weighted sort feature.

Have any Google Analytics tips to share or a dashboard challenge for us? Leave a comment below.

Have other questions or need more help? Contact our Google Analytics Consultants.

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  • Jordan Harrison

    Thank you, Joe. I think it is very important to show people how Google Analytics logistically works. I didn’t realize you could change the default showing of 10 to even more. Helpful hint! It is also important for people reading this to know just why Google Analytics is so helpful. I read a blog the other day on JHouseMedia.com that fits well with your blog: http://www.jhousemedia.com/blog-articles/60/Building-on-the-Surge–Optimize-Website-Content-through-Google-Analytics.html. This is one of three. Thanks for your help!

  • Travis

    Any way we can do this in the new interface? 

    • Hi Travis,

      In the new interface, the dashboard capabilities are greatly improved. You can apply a filter to a widget and also name the widget as you wish.

      Thanks,
      Joe

  • Vina

    Thanks a lot! You saved my life, I was googling like crazy because of the new layout from Google Analytics. I still can’t find a direct way to view report from the profile filter I created though :S Any ideas?

Joe Christopher
About the Author

As Vice President, Analytics at Blast Analytics & Marketing, Joe leads a team of talented, analytics consultants responsible for helping clients understand and take action on their vast amounts of data, to continuously improve and EVOLVE their organizations. With 20 years of experience in analytics and digital marketing, Joe offers a high-level of knowledge and guidance to clients across all industries. He is an expert in all major analytics platforms including Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, as well as various tag management systems such as Tealium and Adobe Launch. He also consults on data visualization, data governance, and data quality strategies. Having extensive expertise in many areas, has enabled Joe to become a well known thought leader and speak at industry events such as Tealium’s Digital Velocity series. Joe remains on the pulse of various information technology, programming languages, tools and services, keeping Blast and its clients on the leading edge.

Connect with Joe on LinkedIn. Joe Christopher has written on the Web Analytics Blog.

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