10 uses of Regular Expressions (REGEX) you cannot avoid in Google Analytics

by Vineet Singh, August 17, 2015

REGEX adds muscle to our segmentation exercise – offers limitless opportunities for fine-tuning and filtering if done right. In this post, we will glance through some of the more practical examples of REGEX.

 

Why do we use REGEX?

  • It assists us in creating precise filters
  • REGEX helps us to create Goals that involve multiple goal pages
  • The use of REGEX certainly fine tunes our funnel steps so that we can get exactly what we are aiming for

 

10 practical uses of REGEX

 [1] Product list profile: If you are an ecommerce product manager and you need a special profile of visits for only a select group of products – leatherbags671 through leatherbags679. The filter would look like: Include à Request URL à Filter Pattern = leatherbags67[1-9] ß REGEX

 

 

[2] We have sales page based on region: If you are interested in having a filter only for 2 regions –

Product1/Sales

Product2/Sales

The REGEX that will be used in the Filter would be: Product (1 | 2) /Sales

 

 

[3] Creating a very specific list of data for inclusion or exclusion: Braces repeat the last “piece” of information a specific number of times. When there are two numbers in the braces, such as {a,b} , it means, repeat the last “item” at least a times and no more than b times . When there is only one number in the braces, such as {b}, it means, repeat the last item exactly b times.

Example: Many organizations have a block of numbers that needs to be excluded for testing purposes. Let’s say their IP addresses range from 129.156.188.0 through 129.156.188.99 – In this case our regular expressions would be:

129\.156\.188\.[0-9]{1,2}

 

 

[4] Capture all in between: There are two Regular Expressions that, when put together, mean “capture all.” They are a dot followed by a star, like this: /datafolder/.*index\.php In this example, the Regular Expression will match to everything that starts with datafolder/ and ends with index.php

.

 

[5] Misspellings: Misspellings are major reporting pain for most of us. A very common example of misspelled keyword search is: colour, color – To account for all the variance, we need to use the following REGEX: colo[u]*r

Other misspelling examples:

 

  • Voda(ph|f)one
  • Ste(ph|v|f)en

 

[6] Grouping file patterns: If we want to allow only a limited list of file extensions, the following REGEX will help: \.(pdf|doc|ppt)

 

[7] Matching URLs listed in your content: The following are examples to consider when matching

 

  • URLs listed in your Content / Top Content reports: \?(id|pid)=[^&]* à This matches the filename followed by the first query parameter and its value if its name is equal to id or pid. If you have a report with URIs of the following form, this regex will match the two URIs highlighted:

/blog/post?pid=101

/blog/post?id=101&lang=en&cat=hacks

 

[8] Matching all suffixes in your list:

  • if you need to match all of the following: index.html, index.htm, index.php, index.aspx, index.py, index.cgi, the following REGEX can be utilized: index\.(h|p|a|c)+.+

 

[9] Carat as a negative grouping indicator: Example of carat as a negative grouping indicator:

[^0-9]

  • Matches the following examples: 11, 42, 1,000,000
  • Matches all except 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9

 

 

[10] Selective URL matching: If you want to match only the Products Page, Order page and Checkout page, the following REGEX will take care of this:

^(/|/Product/|/Order/Check-out)$ à What this regex says is, match any page that starts (^) and ends with ($) “/” OR “/products/” OR “/order/” OR “/checkout/”:

Reach out to us if you have any queries:
Email: info@copperbridgemedia.com
SKYPE: copperbridgemedia