GA4 filters – Understanding data filters in Google Analytics 4

Last Updated: September 9, 2022

Data filters overview

In Google Analytics 4 (GA4), you can include or exclude certain event data via a feature called ‘Data Filters’:

Data Filters

The GA4 filters are configured at the property level. These filters are applied to the event data from the creation date and do not work retroactively. Since the data filters do not work retroactively, once you apply the filter, the effect on your event data is permanent and cannot be reversed.

Unlike Universal Analytics, there is no concept of views in GA4. So unlike Universal Analytics, you can not create a raw data view (unfiltered view) in GA4. This makes testing your filters in GA4 much more important than in GA3.

Note: You can create up to 10 filters per GA4 property.

The types of filters in GA4

Currently, GA4 supports two types of filters:

  1. Developer traffic
  2. Internal traffic
Filter Type

Internal traffic

Internal traffic is the traffic coming to your website from your own employees, suppliers, and other service providers.

These people are not your target market, and therefore the traffic they generate should be excluded from being recorded in your GA4 reports. Otherwise, such traffic can easily skew your analytics data and reports.

By default, GA4 defines internal traffic as the event data with the parameter name ‘traffic_type‘ and parameter value ‘internal’

Internal traffic

You cannot change the parameter name, but you can change the parameter value if you want to create a different version of the internal traffic filter:

Internal traffic 1

You would need to create a different version of the internal traffic filter in case you need to apply multiple internal traffic filters to your GA4 property:

Filter list

The filter that includes or excludes internal traffic in GA4 property is called the ‘Internal Traffic filter‘.

Developer traffic

Developer traffic is generated from your own device while debugging the analytics implementation.

GA4 defines developer traffic as the event data with the parameter name ‘debug_mode‘ or ‘debug_event’ and parameter value ‘1’

The filter that includes or excludes developer traffic in GA4 property is called the ‘Developer Traffic filter‘.

If you exclude developer traffic using filters, you won’t be able to see that data in real-time reporting since it is excluded.

But you can still see the excluded developers’ traffic data in the DebugView report, and you can still validate your implementation using the Google Analytics Debugger Chrome extension.

Data Filter operations in GA4

Data filters in GA4 can be further classified into include and exclude filters depending upon the filter operation being used:

Filter operation

In GA4, you can carry out two types of operations with data filters:

#1 Exclude: When you use the ‘Exclude’ option, GA4 will not process any event data that matches the filter attribute (in our case ‘traffic_type = internal‘):

exclude traffic

#2 Include only: When you use the ‘Include only’ option, GA4 will process only that event data that matches the filter attribute (in our case ‘, traffic_type = internal‘):

include traffic

Note(1): If you apply both include and exclude filters to your GA4 property, the include filters will be evaluated first before the exclude filter.

Note(2): If you apply multiple include filters to your GA4 property, all the include filters will be evaluated as a single group.

Note(3): If you apply multiple exclude filters to your GA4 property, each exclude filter will be evaluated one at a time.

Filter modes (states) in GA4

Filter state

Every GA4 Data filter has one of the three states (modes):

  1. Testing
  2. Active
  3. Inactive

Testing state

Use this option if you want to first test your filter before making it active (i.e. live). When a data filter is in the testing state, it is evaluated by GA4, but it does not make any permanent changes to your analytics data.

However, you can see the filtered data by adding a comparison to your GA4 report that uses the dimension named ‘Test data filter name‘:

realtme overview

Active State

Use this option if you want to make your data filter live. Once your data filter is active, it permanently changes your analytics data.

Inactive State

Use this option if you want to disable your data filter. Once your data filter is inactive, it is no longer evaluated by GA4 and no longer makes permanent changes to your analytics data.

#1 Google Analytics 4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Setup GA4 – Upgrade to GA4 – Implementation Guide
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the Difference?
  5. GA4 vs GA4 360 – Pricing, Limits, Billing and More
  6. Google Analytics 4 Training & Tutorial with FREE GA4 ebook

#2 Google Analytics 4 Property

  1. Google Analytics Account Hierarchy (Structure Explained)
  2. Understanding Google Analytics Measurement ID (GA4)
  3. Google Signals GA4 – See Demographics (Gender, Age) in Google Analytics 4
  4. Using the GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Test Property
  5. Google Analytics 4 Sub Properties Tutorial
  6. Roll up Property in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Tutorial

#3 Google Analytics 4 Integrations

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. How to link Google Search Console to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. GA4 Firebase Integration – Correctly Add App Data Streams to GA4 Property

#4 Google Analytics 4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. Understanding Event Parameters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Recommended Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Enhanced Measurement Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Automatically Collected Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. How to Set Up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  7. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  8. How to Rename Events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. How to Use Google Analytics 4 Event Builder

#5 Google Analytics 4 Conversions

  1. Google Analytics 4 Conversion Tracking Guide – GA4 Goals
  2. How to Import Conversions from GA4 Property to Your Google Ads account
  3. GA4 Conversion Rate – How to find it and use it

#6 Google Analytics 4 Dimensions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Dimensions Tutorial
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Dimensions Tutorial
  3. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  4. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#7 Google Analytics 4 Metrics

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. What are Predictive Metrics in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#8 Google Analytics 4 Ecommerce

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Ecommerce Tracking via GTM – Tutorial

#9 Google Analytics 4 Specialized Tracking

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  2. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  3. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Data Import Tutorial
  7. Google Analytics 4 Content Grouping – Create Content Groups in GA4
  8. How to Track Single Page Apps in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  9. utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign Parameters – GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

#10 Google Analytics 4 filters

  1. GA4 filters – Understanding Data Filters in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to Create and Test Filters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
  3. Exclude Internal Traffic in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) via IP Filter

#11 Google Analytics 4 Explorations

  1. Free Form Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Exploration Report
  2. How to Use the User Lifetime Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to Use Path Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Path Analysis
  4. How to Use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to Use the Funnel Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – Funnel Analysis
  6. Cohort Exploration Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  7. How to Create Landing Pages Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  8. How to Create Google Ads report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  9. How to Segment GA4 Data by Data Stream
  10. Organic Search Traffic Analysis in GA4 – Complete Guide

#12 Google Analytics 4 Advanced

  1. Understanding Google Analytics 4 Sessions
  2. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Measurement Protocol Tutorial
  3. How to Build Comparisons (Advanced Segments) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Understanding Automated Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. Understanding Channel Groupings in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  6. Understanding Data Sampling in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#13 Google Analytics 4 Reports

  1. How to Create Custom Insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. How to Use Debug View Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#14 Google Analytics 4 Attribution

  1. Guide to Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to Change Attribution Models in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)?
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Paths Report in Attribution
  4. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Model Comparison Report in Attribution
  5. Advertising Snapshot in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Attribution
  6. GA4 Attribution Modelling Tutorial

#15 Google Analytics 4 Audiences

  1. GA4 Audiences – Creating Custom Audience in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to Create a Remarketing Audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. Understanding Audience Triggers in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Predictive Audiences – Tutorial

#16 Google Analytics 4 BigQuery

  1. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery
  2. BigQuery GA4 Schema – Send Custom GA4 Data to BigQuery
  3. How to Backfill GA4 Data in BigQuery
  4. How to Connect and Export Data from GA

Frequently Asked Questions About GA4 filters

What are data filters in Google Analytics 4?

Data filters include or exclude event data (traffic) from your reports based on the event parameters value. Using filters, you can exclude traffic coming to your website from your developers or internal employees. You can also use data filters to include only traffic from specific event parameter values. These filters are configured at the property level and are applied to every data stream.

What filters are supported in Google Analytics 4?

Currently, GA4 supports two types of filters:

1. Developer Traffic: Developer traffic is generated from your own device while debugging the analytics implementation. GA4 defines developer traffic as the event data with the parameter name ‘debug_mode’ or ‘debug_event’ and parameter value ‘1’.

2. Internal Traffic: Internal traffic is the traffic coming to your website from your own employees, suppliers, and other service providers.

How many filters can I apply in Google Analytics 4?

Currently, You can create up to ten filters per Google Analytics 4 property.

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