Include Vs Exclude GA Filters: Part 3e

October 07, 2007
By Robbin Steif

I spoke about implementation Google Analytics on Friday, and someone asked me, “How do I create Exclude AND filters?” This is a cool question, but it has to wait until I write the info below on how Google applies your filters (and how that differs on Include vs Exclude filters.) Note: you can read the GA documentation on this one, which is not terrible.

You might consider include multiple filters to be AND filters, when you think about the way that GA applies all of them to a profile. So if you create a profile where an include filter specifies Visitor City = Pittsburgh, and the another include filter specifies Campaign Source = organic, you will filter in only visits that came from people in Pittsburgh who used the organic search to find you. It’s not good enough that they came from Pittsburgh and used paid search, or followed a link. Both criteria must be met.

Exclude filters, on the other hand, could be looked at as OR filters. If the visit matches any of the exclude filters in a single profile, it is thrown away. So using the same example as above, Visitor City = Pittsburgh, and the Campaign Source = organic, you will exclude anyone who comes from Pittsburgh, no matter what their campaign source. And you will exclude everyone who comes on an organic search, no matter what their city.

There are ways around the AND and OR issues. For example, let’s say that I wanted to include everyone from Pittsburgh OR Raleigh. I cannot do it with two separate city filters — right? Include filters are AND filters, so two separate filters would say: include everyone who comes from both Pittsburgh AND Raleigh, which is a pretty hard act. But you certainly could do include visitor city = (pittsburgh)|(raleigh). By putting both cities in the same filter with an OR pipe, you achieve that goal.

Now that I showed you how to defeat the “ANDness” of Include filters, you will be wanting to know, how to do defeat the “ORnesss” of Exclude filters. Plus, you might want to know how to make include filters be OR filters for different kinds of fields — include if they came from Pittsburgh OR they came organically.

But that is a different topic and a new post. Maybe even tomorrow.