How to Apply Filters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Updated: May 11
If you're just starting to dip your toes in Google Analytics 4, there might be some features you are not familiar with yet. In order to make full use of GA4's powerful function and gain significant insights, you ought to know certain tricks. For instance, you can apply filters in Google Analytics 4 to narrow down to specific dimensions and metrics and get more in-depth data. As an example, if you're running a global digital marketing campaign, you might want to know the traffic coming from a certain country. Or, if you want to know specific channels that are underperforming, you can also filter out important metrics.
This step-by-step guide (with screenshots!) will teach you how to get various kinds of data by applying filters in GA4. It is divided into 2 parts:
1) Filtering Dimension via GA4 Interface
2) Filtering Metrics via Free Form Reports
In case you find yourself in need of some video guidance, here's an easy tutorial you can follow from XYZ Lab's Youtube Channel!
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Part 1: Filtering Dimension via GA4 Interface
Through the GA4 interface, we can easily filter out certain dimensions such as channels, countries, cities, and others on various GA4 reports. We will show you the steps on how to apply filters as well as 3 different examples of filters you can use.
Step 1: Click "Add filter"
On any GA4 report, scroll up and select "Add filter"
Step 2: Select Dimension
Select the Dimension you'd like to filter.
Step 3: Apply Filter
Click "OK" and "Apply".
Example 1: Traffic from Mumbai
In this example, we have filtered out the traffic data to include only those coming from Mumbai by applying a filter for Town/City = Mumbai.
Example 2: Traffic from Mobile
You can apply the same method for any other dimension. In this example, we have filtered out the traffic data to include only those coming from mobile users by applying a filter for Device category = Mobile.
Example 3: Traffic from Organic Search in Jakarta
We can use filtering in all kinds of reports in GA4. For instance, we can use the filter in the Demographic details report, which shows the data coming from various towns/cities.
In this example, we would like to know how much traffic in various cities is coming from organic searches. Thus, we applied a filter for Session default channel group = Organic search. As such, we filtered out the traffic data to include only those coming from organic searches in these cities.
If we want to narrow down further to a specific dimension, for example, a specific city, we can also use a quick filter. In this example, we want to know the organic traffic data in Jakarta. We can just search the city in the search bar and hit enter, and the report displayed the traffic data in Jakarta coming only from organic search.
Part 2: Filtering Metrics via Free-form Reports
Now, let's say you want to filter down even further and find dimensions that meet specific metrics. For example, you might want to find cities that have more than 2,000 users or find channels that have over 5,000 sessions over a specific time period. We can do that by building a freeform report, which is equivalent to custom reporting in GA4.
Step 1: Navigate to Explore
Step 2: Select "Free-form"
This is how the free-form report should look by default. Now, we need to customize the variables, dimensions, and metrics that we would like to include. For example, we want to create a report that shows the channels and metrics like sessions, users, new users, and others.
Step 3: Add Dimensions
1. Click on the "+" symbol next to Dimensions
2. Find the Dimensions you'd like to include
3. Click "Import"
Step 4: Add Metrics
1. Click on the "+" symbol next to Metrics
2. Find the Metrics you'd like to include
3. Click "Import"
Step 5: Drag and drop Dimensions to "Rows"
Step 6: Drag and drop Metrics to "Values"
Step 7: Add Filters
1. Navigate to Filters under Tab Settings
2. Click on Filters
3. Create the Filter rule
4. Click "Apply"
Example: Table with Applied Filter
In this example, we have created a report that displays the dimension Session default channel group (Channels) with the metrics Sessions, Total users, and New users, and have applied a filter for Sessions > 5,000. As such, the table only displays the channels which have over 5,000 sessions over the defined period of time.
There are plenty more dimensions and metrics that you can play with and use in combination to get various kinds of data. It only takes a little creativity and practice to help you dig deeper and finetune your digital marketing strategy!