Google Analytics is a comprehensive tool with a plethora of options and filters. Sometimes, the default options set by Google may not be convenient for some users. This is the case with full URLs in Analytics reports. Sometimes, it’s much easier to understand your reports if you are presented with a full URL instead of just a Request URL. The best example for this would be, if you have several domains, or you have multiple different sites that are tracked with one Google Analytics property. Under the default settings, the data in Google Analytics reports does not include the domain name but rather includes only the Request URI. There are basically three types of URLs in Google Analytics: URL of a page, Request URL, and Domain name. An example can be seen below.
URL of page: http://www.example.com/foldername/page.html
Request URI: /foldername/page.html
Domain name: www.example.com
How to create an Advanced filter to show full URL?
If you prefer to see a full URL instead of a Request URL, the best way to do so is to create an Advanced filter. In fact, this is a quite simple process. First, you will need to navigate to Admin → All Filters → Add Filter. Now it’s time to enter all the settings. In the Filter Name text box, just add Full URL filter or something similar as a description of this particular filter. For the Filter Type, click on Custom and then Advanced. Now you will need to fill in three separate text boxes. For Field A, choose Hostname and put (.*) in the text box. For Field B, choose Request URl and put (.*) in the text box. And lastly, for Output To, choose Request URl and enter $A1$B1. This will, in fact, combine the host name and request URl, giving you the full URL that you want. All of the settings are presented in the image bellow.
There are some things that you need to consider when doing this. Creating URL rewrite filters like the one shown in the image above can affect the ability of Google Analytics to match your goals properly. You need to make sure that the goal settings you have set reflect these changes. Just like with all filters, URL rewrite filters are applied to raw data that comes into your account before the actual goals are processed. As a result of this, funnel URLs and your goals need to reflect the final, rewritten format of the URL. The best example of this can be seen below.
If your website’s URL looks like this:
But is rewritten by a filter to look like:
Then your goal should match
Keep that in mind and you will have no issues.
In conclusion, Google Analytics has proven to be one of the best traffic analyzing tools on the web. Being able to see data the way you find it easy to understand is very important and can save you a lot of time. Easy fixes like this one allow you to customize how you see your data and give you an opportunity to customize the way URLs are presented.