Many of you may have run across posts and sites that give an example of how to create a lowercase filter in Google Analytics. I have seen a handful of these myself, and Google actually makes it quite easy to accomplish.
Let’s take a quick minute and walk through that process.
Creating a Lowercase Filter in Google Analytics
First, in the Google Analytics admin section, in the view column, select Filters. From there you will choose +Add Filter. Name your filter (i.e. Lowercase DIMENSION, with DIMENSION being whichever dimension you select), select custom as the filter type and then select lowercase. This will bring up a dimension selector.
Here you need to select which dimension you would like to become all lowercase. The one area that I like to always start with is events. For that you will need three different filters (event category, event action, event label). The reason I start here is that events are not system driven. We, as marketers and programmer create them, be it through code or Google Tag Manager. We tend to make mistakes, uppercase here, but lowercase there, and that can cause confusion within Google Analytics.
As an example, if I was hand coding an event and in one call to the event labeled it as an event category of File Download, then created another that read File download, those would show as two different event categories in Google Analytics. However, with the application of the lowercase filter that is eliminated and they all show as file download.
When creating segments or adding metrics from each category or other together, this makes things more easily handled.
Why Lowercase? Why Not Uppercase?
I get asked this question from time to time. The answer is quite easy. On the surface one may suppose that an uppercase filter would would capitalize the first letter in each word. On the contrary, it capitalizes each and every letter. I think for most reading “google” is much easier than reading “GOOGLE”. It comes even more into play when you have several different dimension names next to each other.
You may find it easier to read with everything being uppercase, and that is perfectly fine. Make sure either way you go, you stick to that convention and don’t cross between lowercase and uppercase.
Why Creating Lowercase Filters Creates Less Stress
If you want to be stressed out in your job as an analyst, marketer, or small business owner, don’t create lowercase filters. If you are like most people and could use a little less stress in life, please do it now!
As I mentioned in the first section of this post, the main reason for this is due to Google Analytics being case sensitive. If you create an event for a file download in one place and it is File Download, then it is file Download in another you are only punishing yourself. This will display within Google Analytics as two separate event categories.
The same will then go for all of your custom campaigns you have coming in to your site. You could have multiples of campaign names, sources, mediums, and more. The last thing we want is to be pulling data from an automated source like the Google Analytics API and then still have to do a large amount of manual work after the fact.
Programs are in place to make our lives easier and less stressful. By implementing lowercase filters across the following areas of your site, you will help that relief from stress along even further.
- Event Category, Action, Label
- Campaign Name, Medium, Source, Content, Term
- Page Title
- Page Path
I will caution to not get too filter happy however. One area that many analysts and business owners think they may want to place a lowercase filter on is site search keywords. I would advise against this however, since it could make an interesting analysis to understand how your customers interact with your site based on if they capitalize a keyword or not.
As with most implementations within Google Analytics, placing these lowercase filters throughout your account will seemingly send things a little haywire early on. Since filters only work from the time they are implemented forward, if you are looking at historical data you will start to see a mixture of lowercase and uppercase within your events and campaigns. If this is an issue for you, you can do without and try to find a good time to introduce this new setup.
Anyway you go about implementing across your account, just make sure to be consistent. This will save you many headaches in the future and you will thank yourself a thousand times over.