Top 22 Google Tag Managaer (GTM) tools used by experts
Top 22 Google Tag Manager (GTM) Tools Used by Experts

What Happened to Views in Google Analytics 4: GA4 FAQ

using view in google analytics 4

If you’re starting with Google Analytics 4 (GA4), one of the most common questions that will appear in your mind is, “What happened to the views in Google Analytics 4?”

You used to set up your views in Universal Analytics (UA) and customize them as you wanted. But when you get into the “Admin” section of GA4 to set up a view, you will see no option for views in there!

GA4 utilises an event-based, mobile-first model. So Google made some changes in its interface to adjust to this new model. Therefore, you can’t find a lot of stuff in GA4 that you are familiar with through Universal Analytics.

Instead of views, you have only one reporting view. Instead of making custom views as you used to do in Universal Analytics, you can now apply data filters to your reporting view.

Quick Jump To:

1. Where are views in Universal Analytics?

a. Best Practices for Views in Universal Analytics

2. What does GA4 use to replace views?

a. What are Data Streams in GA4?

3. How to use data filters in GA4

a. The two types of data filters

4. How to filter out internal traffic in GA4?

a. Step-1: Create a new filter for one of your data streams.
b. Step-2: Activate your filter

5. Farewell to views


Where are views in Universal Analytics?

In UA, you can create up to 25 views for each property. To see views in Universal Analytics, you need to go through this process accounts > properties > views. Your views are used to create custom data segments, to which you can add filters. 

Some regular uses of views in UA include excluding internal traffic and filtering traffic from specific subdomains. You can also aim for goals and conversions for a particular view to calculate them for that dataset.

Best Practices for Views in Universal Analytics

In Universal Analytics, It’s best practice to keep at least three views; Raw, Test, and Main. It is super important as you can’t recover data that’s already been filtered out.

  • Raw views: This is an unfiltered & untouched view of all of your datasets. If anything happens, you can return to your original data.
  • Test views: This is where you can experiment with your data to implement changes to the main view.
  • Main views: This is the view where you do most of your analysis and reporting. It’s the one you should use to interpret your website’s data.

You can create many additional views based on your business and goals. This was a very useful feature. But this does mean that many are still hesitant to switch to GA4.

What does GA4 use to replace views?

So, GA4 doesn’t have a view feature. But you might have been using views in UA to exclude your internal traffic and customise your data as per your requirement.

So, What does GA4 use if it doesn’t have views? Or How can you use it to do the stuff you were doing with Views in Universal Analytics? Well, It uses a single reporting system that is fed by data streams instead of views.

What are Data Streams in GA4?

Data streams are data sources that can include your website, iOS app, and Android app. You can have any or all three in one GA4 Property. In GA4, you can apply property-level filters to customize your single report view. 

Instead of using view filters in Universal Analytics, you can now use data filters. When setting up a data filter, you’ll apply it directly to the data stream.

Here are some critical notes about data filters in GA4:

  • GA4 doesn’t use data filters retrogradely. Once a filter is applied, it does not apply to the historical data. It only applies to the data collected after the point of creation.
  • As we discussed, you can’t set up views in GA4 as you could in Universal Analytics. So you can’t have test views. It means testing your filters in GA4 is important.
  • Each GA4 property can have up to 10 data filters.

How to use data filters in GA4

People are migrating from Universal Analytics because of the unique features GA4 has to offer, but It is still new. So new features will be added along the way.

The two types of data filters

Internal Traffic 

Internal traffic is a way to keep track of and monitor all the traffic coming from your network; it includes any traffic from an IP address or range of IP addresses you set out.

You make rules that point out internal traffic. Each one tests IP addresses against user-defined parameter values. When you create an internal traffic definition, the traffic_type parameter automatically adds to all events with the parameter value you defined.

Developer Traffic

Developer traffic rises from your app on the development device. And can be identified using the debug_mode=1 or debug_event=1 event parameters. If you exclude developer traffic by a filter, you can still see it in DebugView.

Using a Data filter is easy in GA4. First, create the filter, then apply it. Let’s look at an example together.

How to filter out internal traffic in GA4?

One of the most useful views in UA is filtering out internal employee traffic. Utilising the data filters, you can do the same thing with Google Analytics 4.

So, let’s dive into how to filter the internal traffic in GA4. Follow these step-by-step guide:

Step-1: Create a new filter for one of your data streams.

  1. First, click on the “Admin” section.
    google analytics 4 admin section

  2. Then select “Data stream” under “Property”.
    property section in admin panel of ga4

  3. Select your desired “Data streams”.
  4. Then Click “Configure tag settings”.
    data stream configuration in ga4

  5. Click “Define internal traffic.”
    option for defining internal traffic in ga4

  6. Click “Create.”

  7. Fill up your configuration parameter
    • Rule name: Give your filter a name as you want. Like here we used “Company IP”.
    • Match type: You can select any option here that fits your need. Choose wisely. 
      • Note: Though there are loads of options to choose from. But there is currently no reg-ex option yet.
    • Value: Enter the IP address you want to exclude. Or a value that resonates with your match type selection.
      • Note: You can add up to 10 conditions to filter various internal IP addresses.

configuration parameter fill up for internal traffic exclusion in ga4

  1. Save your filter.

Step-2: Activate your filter

  1. Go back to “Property.”
  2. First, click “Data settings” and then “Data filters.”
    data filters in google analytics 4 under property

  3. Make sure to test your filter by clicking on your filter before activating it.
  4. Once your filter is all set, you will see three options: testing, active, and inactive. Select “Testing.”
    testing filter in ga4

  5. After checking whether it’s working correctly, activate your filter.
  6. In order to Active your filter, click on the three dots on the right side and activate your filter.
    active filter in google analytics 4

Farewell to views

Google Analytics 4 has a lot of different features. But it will take time to adapt.

You’ll obviously notice is that there are no longer views in ga4. Instead, you will see data filters. Data filters allow users to customize their single report with ease and precision! Data filters are easy to set up. 

Create new filters and apply them to your reporting view. But be sure to test the filter before activation, as filters are permanent to all data collected. Not to mention it’s also limited to a GA4 property.

As GA4 is regularly evolving and is still new, stay tuned for updates. 

Are you already using GA4? If not, have a look at the benefits of Google Analytics 4, and you’ll see what you have been missing out on.

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Will Rice
Will Rice
Will is a digital marketing manager at MeasureMinds, a leading Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, PPC and CRO agency. He specialises in SEO and content and has helped enterprises achieve #1 rankings for heavily contested keywords through thoughtful strategy and implementation.
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