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Use Advanced Segments Instead of Dashboard Widget Filters Based on Page

Page filter in dashboard widgetview at full size

A Page filter in a dashboard widget and an advanced filter based on Page do not do have the same effect.

Google Analytics recently announced nine interface changes. Many of these are primarily cosmetic, impacting navigation and layout, but at least one change is a very significant enhancement for reporting: the availability of advanced segments in dashboards.

Up till now, if you wanted to emulate advanced segments capabilities in a dashboard, you had to apply filters to individual widgets. Apart from the inconvenience and the maintenance overhead, at least one type of widget filter – the Page filter – worked quite differently from its very useful advanced segment counterpart.

For some strange reason, a Page filter in a dashboard widget worked basically like a Landing Page filter, and not, as you would expect, like an advanced segment based on Page.

With the welcome addition of advanced segments in dashboards, you can now avoid the Page filter within individual widgets. If you still opt instead to apply filters to individual widgets, you should probably steer clear of the widget-level Page filter nonetheless.

One small caveat: PDFs generated from the dashboard do seem to correctly reflect any advanced segments that you have applied while viewing the dashboard, but the name of the active advanced segments(s) do not appear in the PDF. As a workaround, you may want to include the segment name in the subject line (for email) or filename (for direct PDF export).

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