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View Only Mobile Traffic (And 3 other uses for Google Analytics profile filters)

by Russ Henneberry

Google Analytics profile filters rock.

The most common use is to include or exclude data in your reports based on some kind of parameter.

You might want to:

  • View only (or exclude) data from mobile traffic
  • View only (or exclude) data from a particular domain
  • View only (or exclude) data from a particular location

Here’s Google’s definition of a profile filter:  A profile filter is used to limit or modify the data that is included in a Google Analytics profile.

TRANSLATION:  It’s possible to create a set of Google Analytics reports (a profile) that, for example, shows you only the data from your mobile traffic and gets all the rest of the data out of your way.

Once you know how to build new Google Analytics profiles and profile filters you can apply them in numerous situations.  We’ll get to a few other applications at the end of this article.

First, let’s build a profile that only shows us data from our mobile traffic.

Step 1 – Make sure you have a master profile

Before you get started, you want to make sure that you have one profile set up for your website that contains all of your traffic.  For most of us this “catch all” profile will be where we spend most of our time.  If you are already using Google Analytics to monitor your website, this profile will likely already be set up.

google-profiles

Step 2- Set up a new profile

In this example, I will set up a new Google Analytics profile for my new blog, Content Measures.

Here’s how to create your new profile,

1.  Click on ADMIN at the top right of any Analytics page

2.  Select the PROFILES tab and click on + NEW PROFILE

new-profile

3.  Name the profile MOBILE USERS and click on CREATE PROFILE

Congrats!  It’s that easy.  You now have a new profile.

But, this profile is loggin all traffic just like your master profile.  We need to create a filter on our new profile so that it only records data for your mobile traffic.

Let’s get busy creating the profile filter.  Don’t worry, it’s easy.

Step 3 – Create a profile filter

1.  Click on the MOBILE USERS profile

mobile-profile

2.  Click on FILTERS, then + NEW FILTER and enter the following settings,

filter-settings

Bingo.  You’re all set.

What you’ve done here is set a filter so that your new profile will only include traffic data from mobile devices.

Now, let’s take a look at how you might use this data.

A Google Analytics mobile filtered profile in action

In 2012, roughly 12% of traffic that visited the Crazy Egg blog was via mobile.  What was disturbing was that only 6% of our email subscriptions came from those visiting by mobile.

In addition, mobile was lagging woefully behind in areas like Time on Site and Bounce Rate.  It was time to take some action.

We commissioned the design of a new responsive WordPress theme.  In short, we redesigned the blog to be more friendly on mobile devices.

While the new responsive WordPress theme was being developed I created a Google Analytics profile filter to view only visits from mobile devices.  I wanted to get a good baseline of the performance of our mobile traffic on the non-responsive WordPress theme.  This way, I could measure the benefits of the new responsive WordPress theme.

Here’s a month of data from this filtered profile.  If you are wondering how one non-mobile visit got logged, all I can say is, “Google Analytics isn’t perfect.”

mobile-traffic

Once we had a good baseline we set the new responsive theme live.

The result was a huge increase in subscribers via mobile devices.

mobile-conversion-rate

Makes sense.  We made it easier to navigate the blog on a mobile device and conversions from mobile devices increased.

An endless number of uses for profile filters

I told you — profile filters rock.  There is really no limit to the use cases for Google Analytics profile filters.

Here are three good ones,

1 – View Google Analytics data for your blog only

Your blog is a totally different animal from your main website.  Visitors are usually in research or learning mode when they visit your blog.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could have an entirely different set of reports for your blog?  You can.

Let’s say your blog resides in a subdirectory like —  http://www.your-website.com/blog/

Here’s how to set up the Google Analytics profile filter to view only data from a blog that resides in a subdirectory,

View Your Blog Data Only In Google Analytics

The above profile filter simply creates a set of Google Analytics reports that display data for only the subdirectory /blog/

This profile would also work well for a large company that has stakeholders that only want to view website data for the products for which they are responsible.

Simply create Google Analytics profiles for each product subdirectory on the website:

/blue-buckets/

/red-buckets/

/green-buckets/

2 – View Google Analytics traffic that arrives from a microsite only

If you want to view a set of reports from a particular domain — use a profile filter to include only data from that domain.

It looks like this,

View Google Analytics traffic from microsite only

3 – View Google Analytics traffic from the United States (or any location) only

If you only sell products and services in the U.S. (or any location for that matter) you might want to view only traffic data from that location.

With profile filters it’s a snap.  Take a look,

us-only-traffic

There’s no limit to the use cases for Google Analytics profile filters.

How do you profile filters in your Google Analytics?  What application do you see for using profile filters on your website?

10 Comments

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Russ Henneberry

Russ Henneberry is the Editorial Director at Digital Marketer. He’s worked on digital marketing projects for companies like CrazyEgg, Salesforce.com and Network Solutions. You can connect with Russ on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or on his blog.

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  1. Amit says:
    July 18, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Great article. I have been using different filters and views for a while now. I stumbled upon your article because I needed to view the stats for my mobile visitors.
    I do have a follow up question: You wrote that you switched to a mobile-first responsive WordPress themes. Is there any way you can share what theme you are using? I am currently using a Genesis child theme.

    Can you please share any good recommendations for responsive WP themes suited for ecommerce?

  2. Florene says:
    April 10, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    If some oone desires expert view regarding blogging and site-building after
    that i suggest him/her to visit this weblog, Keep up the pleasant job.

  3. Lee says:
    November 5, 2014 at 2:00 am

    i used “Filter: Include only Mobile Traffic” but my profile did not have any data, why this happen? how can i fix it?

    • November 5, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Hi, Lee. Are you sure you have the snippet placed correctly on your website?

  4. Hemant says:
    January 22, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Hi Russ,

    Your article is really helpful, thanks for writing. I am looking forward to read more articles in future. Keep writing!!! cheers.

  5. November 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks for this insightful post. Wanted to understand how you would decide between creating a new ‘view’ versus creating segments on your unfiltered data. Have been monitoring this site for about 6 years… just tried creating some views, but the base data is lost. Is there any way of creating a new view populated with your base data? Would really appreciate your comments.

  6. Suman says:
    April 8, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Hi Russ, am a newbie to Google Analytics. I found this article pretty helpful, it very well written. Am trying to track hits for a subdirectory “#shoppingCart:”
    where “www.domain.com/index.html” is the domain. Complete URL with Subdomain is -> “www.domain.com/index.html#shoppingCart:”
    I have created a Shopping Cart Profile under Master Profile and have applied filter for that.
    Steps i have followed for creating a Filter :
    New Filter -> Create New Filter -> Predefined Filter-> Include Only -> Traffic to the SubDirectories -> that Contain.
    “Subdirectory” field value -> “#shoppingCart:”

    But when i check under that profile, am unable to find any result as i found under Master Profile. Do i need to modify anything more ??

  7. Free Mobile Web Design says:
    April 1, 2013 at 7:44 am

    thanks for showing such a easy method for google analytics profile filters.

  8. Joseph Putnam says:
    February 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Russ, this post is awesome. I’ve been wanting to track things like this for a while but haven’t been able to figure out how. Thanks for sharing.

    • Russ Henneberry says:
      February 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks Joseph! What kind of filters are you going to be building?

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