GA4 filters – Understanding data filters in Google Analytics 4

Table of Contents for GA4 filters – Understanding data filters in Google Analytics 4

  1. Data filters overview
  2. Internal traffic
  3. Developer traffic
  4. Data filter operations in GA4
  5. Filter modes (states) in GA4
  6. FAQ

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 date of creation 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 which is used to include or exclude 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 which is used to include or exclude 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 then the include filters will be evaluated first before the exclude filter.

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

Note(3): If you apply multiple exclude filters to your GA4 property then 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 starts making permanent changes to 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 it no longer makes permanent changes to your analytics data.

Other articles on GA4 filters

  1. How to create and test a new data filter in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
  2. How to block internal traffic in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

Frequently Asked Questions About GA4 filters – Understanding data filters in Google Analytics 4

What are data filters in Google Analytics 4?

Data filters are used to 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 own developers or internal employees. You can also use data filters to include only traffic coming from specific event parameter values. These filters are configured at the property level and are applied to every data stream.

What are filters type 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 I can apply in Google Analytics 4?

Currently, You can create up to 10 filters per Google Analytics 4 property.

Other articles related to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

#1 GA4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to upgrade to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the difference?
  5. Google Signals GA4 – See demographics (gender, age) in Google Analytics 4
  6. Understanding Google Analytics Measurement ID (GA4)
  7. Google Analytics 4 training and tutorial
  8. Using the GA4 test property

#2 GA4 Integration

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery

#3 GA4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. How to set up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  4. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  6. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#4 GA4 Conversions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Tracking Guide
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#5 GA4 Dimensions and Metrics

  1. GA4 Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. GA4 Dimensions Tutorial
  4. GA4 Custom Dimensions Tutorial

#6 GA4 Ecommerce

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

#7 GA4 Specialized Tracking

  1. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  2. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 Data Import Tutorial

#8 GA4 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

#9 GA4 Analysis Hub

  1. Analysis Hub Google Analytics – Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to use the user lifetime report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to use path analysis report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to use the Funnel Analysis Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#10 GA4 Advanced

  1. How to use Debug View report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. Understanding GA4 measurement protocol
  3. How to create a remarketing audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. GA4 Audiences – Creating custom audience in Google Analytics 4
  5. How to build comparison (Advanced segment) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#11 GA4 Reporting

  1. How to create custom insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

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