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Multi-Dimensional Filtering in the Google Analytics UI

By Adam Rosenberg , Web Analyst
Feb 24, 2011

One of the primary limitations of the Google Analytics UI is the inability to filter reports by more than two dimensions at any given time.  You can list a primary dimension and a secondary dimension (from a limited selection), but if you need to segment by a third dimension without drilling down, you are out of luck…or are you?

A little known ability of the secondary dimensions feature is the ability to filter a table by up to 9 dimensions. By selecting a secondary dimension on a given report, you unlock the ability to filter by it. However, if you switch the secondary dimension after applying a filter (i.e. changing from source to region), the first filter will be retained and persist, and you can now add a filter for the new secondary dimension.

For example, try the following:

  1. Pick a report to test on – I used the “Top Landing Pages” report
  2. Add any secondary dimension to the table, such as “Source” or “Medium”
  3. Create and apply an advanced filter, and filter for the secondary dimension. (e.g. Source contains ‘Google’)
  4. Change to a different secondary dimension, such as “Visitor Type”
  5. Edit your advanced filter – notice that the original filter is still in place – and add a filter for the new secondary dimension. (e.g. Visitor Type contains ‘New Visitor’)
  6. Repeat 4 and 5 as needed.  This process can be repeated until you reach the UI limit of 9 filters.

Using this technique, I was able to create a Top Landing Pages report for a sample account with the following parameters:

  • Traffic is referred by Google
  • The Report will only display traffic from New Visitors
  • The final report displays the Country of Origin, but does not filter by it

The result is a report that tells you the top landing pages, segmented by country, which were made by New Visitors and referred by Google.

While this task is relatively easy to accomplish in the API, previously there was no way to create a single report for the UI Dashboard with this level of segmentation. I’m not sure if this is an intended feature by Google, but it is certainly one you should take advantage of.