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You Ask, I Answer: Filtered Views and Google Analytics 4?

Josh asks, “In GA4, how do we properly understand the paradigm shift when it comes to filters? In the past, we could provide access to data across numerous groups just by setting up a filtered and customized view for users – but that looks like it has all gone away in favor of data streams.”

The short answer is that Google Analytics isn’t the tool for that any more – Google Data Studio is. Google Analytics 4 is now a BI tool. Watch the full video for an explanation of how to solve this challenge.

You Ask, I Answer: Filtered Views and Google Analytics 4?

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In today’s episode Josh asks in Google Analytics for how do we properly understand the paradigm shift.

And when it comes to filters.

In the past, we could provide access to data sources across numerous groups just by setting up a filtered and customized view for our users.

But that looks like it has all gone away in favor of data streams.

is correct.

The way Google Analytics for functions now is, honestly, it’s a BI tool, it’s a business intelligence tool.

It is a data processor.

It is not a reporting tool.

It is not.

It’s not it isn’t an analysis tool.

But it is definitely not a reporting and visualization tool anymore.

And it is very clear from how it is designed that the intended purpose of it is for analysts to be able to look at the data, slice it dice it, come up with models and algorithms and conclusions about the data, and then be able to publish those insights.

When you look inside the interface for Google Analytics for there isn’t as much granularity when it comes to access control, because obviously, the view itself is gone.

So what do we what do we make of this? Where are we supposed to be doing this kind of work? Well, it comes out, essentially in two different places.

One, for the average use case, for the average business, the intended tool for reporting is Google Data Studio.


Even though the connector between Google Analytics and Google Data Studio isn’t, isn’t quite ready for primetime, yet, that’s a pretty apparent design decision.

When you’re handing off stuff to business lines, you’re filtering it, you’re selecting it, you’re cleaning it up.

In Data Studio, Data Studio is the visualization engine.

And in a lot of ways, this makes a lot of sense, it is more work for the marketing technology team, or the data science team up front to build all these dashboards for people in the company rather than just giving them access to Google Analytics.

But in the end, it probably serves them better.

Because a lot of users, when they’re looking at raw data, if they’re not well trained, and have a good understanding of data analysis, will poke around Google Analytics and draw the wrong conclusions.

They will draw conclusions that are incorrect.

And they will make decisions that aren’t correct.

And so by having Google Analytics for be a little less user friendly, in some ways, for the average end user, it really pushes us to think about visualization to think about reporting, and think about what people need, honestly, what are the things that people need to know, in order to be able to make great decisions.

I can’t tell you the number of dashboards and reports and things I’ve looked at, you know, over the years, which don’t really communicate anything, I mean, they they dump a bunch of data on somebody’s desk, but really communicating that and, you know, having an end user clicking around 12, or 14 different places inside of Google Analytics isn’t efficient, right? Better to assemble them a single dashboard, one page two page, however many pages it needs to be, that presents them all the information they need in order to make decisions, and then saves the analysis tool for the actual analysts.

So that when that person looks at their date and goes, Hey, this doesn’t make sense.

I have a question here.

They can go to an analyst who can log into Google Analytics for slice and dice the data within the application and then either update the dashboard in Data Studio, or provide guidance to them say like, yeah, this is the reason this is the way it is, you know, X or Y.

That is the paradigm shift that has the Google Analytics for presents.


Is that to say it’s the way it’s going to be for all time? No, we don’t know that.


We do know, many folks have commented, including on the official support forums that Google Analytics for is still in development.

It is in beta.

Even though it was announced and being ready for launch.

It is still evolving as a product as a service.

So the same for all the Google products in the Google Marketing Platform.

They’re all evolving.

And things that are not there now may show up at some point.

That said I don’t see the ease of use and the customization that’s available in Data Studio, being brought back to Google items.

For I, the design decisions that you’re looking at, to me indicate where Google wants us focusing our efforts as marketing technologists when it comes to end user reporting.

And that is providing them dashboards that are easy to use, that have been thoughtfully built.

And that helps people make decisions.

Now, here’s the challenge.

If you’re got somebody who’s not good at building dashboards, it’s not an improvement, right? Or you have an end user who doesn’t know what they want.

And you don’t have an analyst who is capable or in a position to be asking questions of a stakeholder saying, Well, no, tell me what decisions you actually make from this data.

And you know, the person’s like, No, no, I really need to see your bounce rate and time on page.

And I need to see how many people came from Pinterest.

And I need to see, you know, number of tweets on Tuesdays, right? All kinds of silly stuff that they feel like they need.

But that doesn’t actually help them make any better decisions, that it will be an organizational challenge.

That’s a people challenge, as opposed to a technology challenge.

And that will be more difficult in this new environment.

Whereas you could hand them a Google Analytics view, and say, Good luck, and then just let them stumble around blindly until they get disgusted.

And then they don’t ever look again.

Neither approach solves the problem.

But the dashboard approach with Data Studio makes it more of your problem.

So we have to be aware, as analysts, as marketing technologists, that the new paradigm in Google Analytics for places more of the analysis burden on us and the construction of the reporting burden on us.

And then once we offload that, then it’s up to our organizations and how we approach things as to whether there’s an ongoing burden on us for reporting a visualization or if we hand it off and say, yeah, here’s the dashboard you requested.

Enjoy, and the user gets what they get.

So it’s a really good question.

There are a lot of paradigm shifts in Google Analytics for there is a better analysis tool than Google Analytics three, I have found you know, in my use of it, it is more granular, you can dig deeper, you can find interesting new things, but it is not easy to use.

And for the end user who does not have comfort with deep data analysis, it is not a better tool.

But again, that’s where data studios roll is.

So really good question.

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