Tracking Subsets of Pages / URLs with Google Analytics

Suppose you want to regularly see the number of pageviews a certain set of pages is receiving according to Google Analytics. Your first inclination might be to use a custom advanced segment. (This was my first thought, anyway.) However, advanced segments probably aren’t going to give you the data you really want.

Advanced segments are session (visit) based. So, if you want to track data across an entire visit, advanced segments can be useful. For example, an advanced segment can tell you your most popular pages (the ones with the most pageviews) among visitors in Iowa.

However, if you want to track, for example, the total number of pageviews that a specific set of pages receives, an advanced segment will show you data for the pages that match your criteria plus all the other pages that each of those visitors viewed. So, if you’ve set up an advanced segment like:

Advanced Segment

You’ll get the following results:

Pageviews from Advanced Segment


Notice how most of the pages do not include our criteria. We’re seeing all that pages viewed by anyone who visited a URL that contained “tetron.”

Filtering to Show Page Data

When we’re looking at pages, what we really want to see most of the time is page data, not session data. So, in this case, the solution is to use filters.

The trouble with filters is that you can’t save them for recurring use, except…

Filters can be used to define custom reports in Google Analytics. In other words, a custom report can become a “saved filter.”

So, I create a custom report that includes all the page metrics I want to see. And I filter the report to include only pages that contain the word “tetron.”


Now we get the results we want!

Custom Report Filter Results


So, if you want to regularly track data for sets of pages that share characteristics such as where the XYZ is contained in the title, URL or whatever, a filtered custom report is the way to go.


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