Most site owners have one view for their site in Google Analytics. This is fine as long as you don’t mess anything up. But if you accidentally filter some data out it’s lost forever. There is no undo button. That’s why whenever I work on anyone’s analytics I always start by creating a backup view.
Creating this backup view only takes a few minutes and should you ever have to use that data it’s right there at your fingertips. If you wait until after you make a mistake you will have already missed the chance to collect that data.
Create a Backup View
From the home page click on your main view (mine is Master in the image above). And then click Admin.
You’ll see a page to administer your account property, and views.
Click on your view and you’ll see a drop down. Click Create new view.
Type in the name. I recommend Unfiltered, set your timezone, and click Create View at the bottom of the page.
And we’re done. It took less than 10 clicks and we have a brand new view without any filters so it will collect everything.
Creating a Test View
If you plan on doing a lot of filtering with Google Analytics you might also want a test view. That way you can test things out for a few weeks to make sure those changes are working and then apply them to your master view.
We’re going to do the same thing as above except we’ll actually copy over a few settings from our master view.
If we go back to our Master view and then click Admin we’ll be taken to the Administration page.
Click on View Settings.
And then click Copy view in the top right.
Rename the view and click Copy view.
Pros & Cons of Copying Views
So why do we copy for the test view and not the unfiltered view? Because when we copy a view if there are any existing filters they will be copied over. And we don’t want that. We want it to be completely unfiltered.
Think of filters as a convenience. They prevent certain types of data from being added to Google Analytics which is very useful. But you can achieve the same thing with other tools like segments. It just takes a lot longer to apply the same rules to each of your segments rather than filtering the data as it comes in.