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Should I use Filters or Advanced Segments in Google Analytics?

By on 27 February 2010 @ 1:33 PM.

Tags: web analytics, advanced segments, analytics, filters, google analytics.

Filters and Advanced Segments in Google Analytics can be very similar in what they can offer/provide but there are a few key differences and they can serve different purposes...

In simplistic terms:-

Filters: Modify data on the pageview level
Advanced Segments: Change a reports view of the data at the visit level


Filters are applied to the information that comes into your analytics account and allows you to manipulate the final data in order to provide specialised reports. By creating one master profile with your original data, you can additionally create seperate profiles to track different filtered data, as each filter will alter your original data.

For example:-

  • Create a master profile that does not filter any of your website's tracking data (or at least to the basic specification that you require).
  • For the same web domain, create additional profiles with filters to generate specialised reports (pay per click, social media marketing etc).
  • Use the filtered profiles to produce targeted specific reports so you can make the most out of analysing the recorded data in your analytics account.

Advanced Segments

Advanced Segmentation is a tool you can use to filter the analytics data you are viewing within a report. These do not require you to set up separate profiles like is needed with filters, your original data is left untouched and this tool offers a wide range of dimensions and metrics to filter this original data so you can analyse any area specifically.

For example:-

  • Advanced segments can be created in any profile to analyse any metric on the original data.
  • Quickly create and test advanced segments as potential goals.
  • Use advanced segments to track and measure any metric in the same report view.

About the Author

Geoff is more commonly recognised online by his internet pseudonym 'zigojacko'. He is the Director of Search at Clubnet Search Marketing, founder of The Clubnet Group and has a huge involvement in the music, clubbing and entertainment sector where he also manages operations at Clubnet UK


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