11.5. Filters vs GA Segments
Sometimes people try to use filters in Looker Studio instead of creating a segment in Google Analytics. It's essential to understand the difference between the two, as they serve different purposes.
Filters in Looker Studio
Filters in Looker Studio are row-level filters that are applied after the data has been extracted. To put it simply, the data is extracted from Google Analytics, placed into a table, and then filtered based on specified criteria. Filters are applied at the row level on the table or chart in Looker Studio.
A common mistake is to try and use filters to recreate a funnel visualization. For example, someone might want to see the number of users who visited both the homepage and basket page. They might attempt to create a filter for the page to equal both the homepage and basket page. This approach doesn't work because a single row cannot satisfy both criteria.
Example: using a filter to try and recreate a funnel visualization will not work.
Google Analytics Segments
In contrast, a Google Analytics segment processes within Google Analytics, and then the data for that segment is extracted to Looker Studio. In this case, you would use a sequence segment in Google Analytics.
Example: creating a sequence segment in Google Analytics for users who visited the homepage and then the basket page.
When sharing a Looker Studio report that uses a segment from your Google Analytics account, the data connector uses your credentials. If it's on the viewer's credentials, the situation would be different. The data source owner's credentials are used to connect to the segment.
Example: sharing a Looker Studio report with a segment applied will show the segment for users with access to your Google Analytics account.