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Guide to using custom filters for Google Analytics metrics
Guide to using custom filters for Google Analytics metrics

Learn how to use custom filters for GA widgets, except for the current visitor gauge and current visitor map.

Updated over a week ago

This article explains how to use custom filters for all Google Analytics widgets, except for the current visitor gauge and current visitor map. If you’re setting up one of these two widgets, please check this other article instead.

Custom filters are short statements that you can apply to our Google Analytics widgets to refine the data that’s displayed and drill down to the particular metric you're interested in.

From a technical perspective, custom filters restrict the rows of data that are – or aren't – included in the result. Each row in the result is tested against the filter: if the filter matches, the row is retained and if it doesn't match, the row is dropped.

Syntax of custom filters

The syntax of custom filters is always the same:

name operator expression

Filter names

For Core Reporting API, the name always begin with ga: followed by the dimension or metric you want to filter by. Google has a great resource called the Dimensions & Metrics Explorer that lists and describes all of the dimensions and metrics available through the Core Reporting API.

Popular dimensions and metrics include:

  • campaign

  • year

  • keyword

  • city

  • pageTitle

  • language

  • transactions

  • userAgeBracket

  • date

  • medium

  • day

  • goalPreviousStep1

  • browser

  • timeOnPage

  • country

  • source

  • month

  • productBrand

  • pagePath

  • screenResolution

  • bounceRate

Filter operators

There are six filter operators for dimensions and six filter operators for metrics. The operators must be URL-encoded in order to be included in URL query strings.


Use the Data Feed Query Explorer to design filters that need URL encoding, since the Query Explorer automatically encodes URLS containing strings and spaces.

Metric Filters






Does not equal


Greater than


Less than


Greater than or equal to


Less than or equal to

Dimension Filters




Exact match


Does not match


Contains substring


Does not contain substring


Contains a match for the regular expression


Does not match regular expression

Filter expressions

The expression states the values to be included in or excluded from the results.

There are a few important rules for filter expressions:

  • URL-reserved characters — Characters such as & must be url-encoded in the usual way.

  • Reserved characters — The semicolon and comma must be backslash escaped when they appear in an expression:

    • semicolon \;

    • comma \,

  • Regular Expressions — You can also use regular expressions in filter expressions using the =~ and !~ operators. Their syntax is similar to Perl regular expressions and have these additional rules:

    • Maximum length of 128 characters — Regular expressions longer than 128 characters result in a 400 Bad Request status code returned from the server.

    • Case sensitivity — Regular expression matching is case-insensitive.

Example of a custom filter statement


Where ga:source is the name of the filter expressed as ga: and the specific dimension you want to filter by (in this case source), the operator is how you want the dimension to be compared (==means Equals), and finallytwitteris the expression that contains the value for the comparison.

When applied to a Google Analytics widget (such as Sessions), this custom filter will include only results where the source is Twitter (and results from any other source will be filtered out). In other words, only sessions that had Twitter as source.


More examples




Referring keyword is ‘geckoboard’


Title of page is ‘Contact’ (exact match)


URL of page contains ‘contact’ anywhere

ga:country==United Kingdom

Visitor country is United Kingdom

Combining custom filters

Filters can be combined using OR and AND boolean logic to create a very specific set of data within a metric.


The OR operator is defined using a comma (,). It takes precedence over the AND operator and may NOT be used to combine dimensions and metrics in the same expression.

Examples: (each must be URL encoded)

Country is either (United States OR Canada):
ga:country==United States,ga:country==Canada

Firefox users on (Windows OR Macintosh) operating systems:


The AND operator is defined using a semi-colon (;). It is preceded by the OR operator and CAN be used to combine dimensions and metrics in the same expression.

Examples: (each must be URL encoded)

Country is United States AND the browser is Firefox:
ga:country==United States;ga:browser==Firefox

Operating system is (Windows OR Macintosh) AND browser is (Firefox OR Chrome):

Country is United States AND sessions are greater than 5:

Example of custom filters combined



ga:country==United Kingdom;ga:city!=London

Country is United Kingdom and City is not London


Show all events with the category DownloadReport or DownloadCaseStudy


Show all events with the category Download but not Label ShareCaseStudy

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