If you’re just getting started with your Google Analytics 4 property, you probably went to set up your raw view, testing view, and filtered views right away.
But, as soon as you jump into your “Admin” section to add a view, you’ll quickly notice that views are nowhere to be found in Google Analytics 4.
Google Analytics 4 comes with some pretty big changes and almost everything has been adjusted in GA4 to support an event-based, mobile-first model. This means that there are some major differences between Universal Analytics and GA4, right down to the basic structure.
Google Analytics 4 doesn’t use customized views like Universal Analytics. Instead, you have a single reporting view. You can apply data filters to your reporting view to filter out internal traffic instead of creating a custom view like you would in Universal Analytics.
Keep reading to learn about missing views in GA4 and how to use a data filter to exclude your internal traffic.
What Are Views in Universal Analytics?
First, let’s discuss how we use views in Universal Analytics. In UA, you have a hierarchy of accounts>properties>views. Your views are used to create a custom segment of data that you can then filter. Some popular uses of views in Universal Analytics are to exclude internal traffic and filter traffic from a specific subdomain. You can also set up goals and conversions for a particular view so that you’re only counting them for that data set.
In Universal Analytics, you should always keep a raw, unfiltered view and a test view. This is crucial, as you can’t recover data that’s already been filtered. Because of this, you must have an unfiltered view to make sure you can see all your traffic in case you make a mistake or want to create a new view. Also, a test view is critical for trying out filters you want to apply to a particular view.
In Universal Analytics, you can have up to 25 views for each property.
What Does GA4 Use Instead of Views?
As we mentioned, Google Analytics 4 doesn’t use views. In Universal Analytics, you set up views, such as one to exclude internal traffic from your employees, and then apply filters to customize your view. In GA4, you have a single reporting view and data streams that feed into it.
Data streams are sources of data and can include your website, iOS app, and Android app. You can have one or all three in a single GA4 property. In GA4, you apply filters at the property level to customize your single reporting view. So, instead of view filters like you had in Universal Analytics, you now have data filters. When you set up a data filter, you’ll apply it directly to a data stream.
Here are a few important notes about data filters in GA4:
- GA4 doesn’t apply data filters retroactively. Once you apply the filter to your event data, it’s permanent and you can’t reverse the effects on previous data you’ve collected.
- Because you can’t set up views like in Universal Analytics, you can’t have a test view. This means testing your filters in GA4 is more important than ever.
- You can have up to 10 data filters per GA4 property.
Using Data Filters in GA4
Google Analytics 4 is still new, so additional features are being added all the time. For now, you have two types of data filters: internal traffic and developer traffic. Here’s how Google defines these two data filters:
Internal Traffic: Internal traffic is any traffic from an IP address or range of IP addresses that you specify. You create rules that identify internal traffic. Each rule matches IP addresses to a custom parameter value. When you create a definition of internal traffic, the traffic_type parameter is automatically added to all events and has the parameter value you specify.
Developer Traffic: Developer traffic originates from your app on development devices, and is identified with the event parameter debug_mode=1 or debug_event=1. If you exclude developer traffic via a filter, you can still see it in DebugView, so your developers can always validate their Analytics instrumentation.
Using data filters in GA4 is quite simple. There are two steps. First, you create the filter, and then you apply it. Let’s walk through an example together. One of the most popular views in Universal Analytics is one to filter out internal employee traffic. You can do the same thing in GA4 using a data filter.
Here’s how to filter internal traffic in GA4:
Step One: Create a new filter in one of your data streams.
1. Click on “Admin.”
2. Select “Data streams” under “Property.”
3. Select your desired data stream.
4. Click “More tagging settings.”
5. Click “Define internal traffic.”
6. Click “Create.”
7. Fill in your configuration parameters:
- Rule name: Give your filter a name, such as “Office IP.”
- Match type: Make a selection from any of the listed options. Be careful with your selection here.
- Note: While there are several options here, there is currently no reg-ex option.
- Value: Enter the IP address you want to exclude (or a value that corresponds with “begins with,” “ends with,” depending on your match type selection).
- Note: You can add multiple (up to 10) conditions to filter multiple internal IP addresses.
8. Save your filter.
Step Two: Activate your filter.
1. Go back to “Property.”
2. Click on “Data settings” and then click “Data filters.”
3. Before you activate your filter, make sure to test it. Do this by clicking on your filter.
4. Once you have your filter up, you’ll see three options, testing, active, and inactive. Select “Testing.”
5. Once you’ve checked out that your filter is working how you want, go back and activate your filter.
6. To activate your filter, click on the three dots to the right and hit “Activate filter.”
Goodbye to Views
Google Analytics 4 comes with a lot of changes, and it will take some time to get used to them. One of the first things you’ll notice is that the structure of GA4 is different. You no longer have views. Instead, you can customize your single reporting view using data filters.
Data filters are simple to set up. Create your new filter and then apply it to your reporting view. A filter you’ll almost certainly want to set up is one to exclude your internal traffic. Be sure to set it to testing mode before activating, as filters are permanent on all data collected and not retroactive.
Keep in mind that GA4 is still very new and constantly evolving. There have been some whispers that views may be coming to GA4 in the future, so keep checking back for more updates.
How are you adjusting to life with GA4? Let us know!