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include-only filter on application id not working

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# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi, I'm using Google Analytics for mobile, and am encountering an issue in trying to use filters. I noticed about a month ago that my GA dashboard had a lot of noise on it from other apps/devices that are not mine (I know this for certain because we have yet to release a version of the app with GA integration in it, so the only person who can have been submitting data to the dashboard from our app is me as I was testing). I read up on this issue online, and found that using filters seemed to be the standard way to deal with it. So I added a custom filter to all of my views with the following properties:

 

Filter Type: include

Filter Field: Application ID

Filter pattern: {my_application_id}

 

My understanding from reading through the "Application" section of this page https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1034380?hl=en is that this filter should filter out ALL traffic except that which is coming from apps with the given app id/package name. However, this filter has had no affect on my data, and the junk data is still coming in. I also enabled the filter several weeks ago, so the issue is not that it just hasn't taken effect yet. Any ideas? 

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Re: include-only filter on application id not working

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Standard junk traffic analysis: using the Secondary Dimension button in your reports, see if you can figure out something that the junk traffic has that valid traffic doesn't, or vice versa. Then create a filter to remove the junk and only let good stuff through.

Your filter is sound, and should have an impact unless the junk is using your application id.

You can try using a custom segment with a test filter expression to immediately see if a proposed filter would work properly.

Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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Re: include-only filter on application id not working

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
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Hi Mike, thanks for your reply. I started taking a look through secondary dimensions on my report as you suggested, and am confused by what I found in relation to what the App ID is set to on the junk data. The first image below is what my report looks like normally. The second image below is what happens when I add App ID as a secondary dimension (note that this view doesn't have any hits from me because I've been sending hits to a second test dashboard. When I add the app ID field to the view where my hits show up, it does show the correct app ID value for all of my hits).

 

However, I'm confused by what it means for there to be "no data for this view" after I add the App ID dimension here. I would have guessed that that just meant that the App ID field isn't set for those hits, but then I tried adding a different secondary dimension that was also not set, and got the 3rd image below, actually indicating "not set" for each row of the primary dimension, rather than just showing no data. What is the distinction between those 2 different behaviors for fields that aren't set? And do you know what these results might indicate for why my filter isn't working?

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 11.48.31 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-01-08 at 11.45.50 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-01-08 at 11.59.41 AM.png

 

Re: include-only filter on application id not working

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
For some dimensions, there is no such thing as (not set). If the dimension does not have a value, there is no data to report.

Event category/action/label is like this, so are custom dimensions. That may help explain your reporting problems...
Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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Re: include-only filter on application id not working

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# 5
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I'm not sure how that explains the filtering issue. If the App ID for these hits indeed has no value, why are they not being filtered out by the filter I explained above? Do filters default to keeping a hit if the value of the filter field is not set?

Re: include-only filter on application id not working

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor
There is no 'not set' value for the App ID dimension-- there is no value at all. There is nothing to show. Looking at a report that includes the dimension, forces the report to ONLY show rows that *have* a value for that dimension -- hence, there is no data.

The Language dimension, on the other hand, has a default value of '(not set)', so if there is no value to show, it shows a row with '(not set)'.
Mike Sullivan, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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include-only filter on application id not working

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
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Just adding to this thread as I had a similar problem which I struggled to find help on and have now solved. This thread was the closest I could find to a discussion of the issue I was having but didn't feel it concluded with a definitive answer.

 

The reason why the view filter on 'App ID' hasn't worked in OP's scenario is because the filter only gets applied to hits where an 'App ID' was set at all. So if the parameter hasn't been set at all (which in the GA reporting interface will come up as 'There is no data for this view' rather than '(not set)') on the hit, it will get processed in the view despite the include filter that specifies otherwise.

 

This is actually described in the 'Limitations of filters' section of the 'About view filters' documentation, where it warns: Fields specified in a filter must exist in the hit and not be null in order for the filter to be applied to that hit.

 

So in the context of this thread, the reason why the view filter hasn't worked is because hits are being sent from sources where 'App ID' is not set at all. Hope this helps.