I've been struggling with Google Analytics for quite a while now and it seems to me it requires the repeated application of a complex series of filters to accomplish what I deem as a simple task. What I'd like to do is simply take one of the default GA reports, say, Top Content, and then apply some filters to it so that it shows only a specific subset of pages and then save that as a new report so that it's always available. Is this possible? I find it tedious to have to repeatedly apply these filters to get that same subset of pages every time I log in or even go to a different report and then come back.
It seems to me the only way I can create a report like this is to start from scratch with a Custom Report and the custom reports I create don't come anywhere near to the default GA reports. I find all this dimension/metrics stuff very confusing.
Any help would be appreciated. I've gone through a lot of the Conversion University videos and it's clear to me that I want to use Google Analytics in a manner they did not envision (either that or I'm missing something).
I tried that and it doesn't filter the list of pages below the report to only match the conditions you set in the segment for some reason. I can see how that would be useful for a comparative analysis but it's not what I want.
What I want to do is to simply create custom reports that only apply to a certain group of pages (usually all the pages in a single directory at my site). This requires me to set filters according to the directory name which works well enough. But setting filters on the GA default Top Content report doesn't stick. If you drill down to one of the pages to look at data, say, keywords applying to that particular page and then you hit the back button to come back to your filtered Top Content report, all the filters are gone and you're stuck with the default Top Content report again. Then you have to reconstruct all the filters you did before to get the same subset of pages relevant to the same targetted directory. This is a total pain. What am I missing? I can't understand why Google didn't make it so that you could save a filtered Top Content report.
The only way around this I can see is to create a custom report from scratch, and even then you have to apply filters to get the subset of pages you want but at least you can save the report. But my custom reports suck. Like I said, I can't get anywhere near to creating the kind of data and drilldown capabilities provided in the default Top Content report.
I guess if you definite what information is meaningful to you for analysis you can put together the report and rerun it whenever needed.
You're right in that specifying particular pages/URI sections in an advanced segment would narrow down the content display to visits that have visited those pages rather than displaying those pages alone. This comes back down to defying your questions and working out the details from those... e.g. Which channels did the people landing on (page x/category) and complete a goal (purchase/navigation depth) come from? If they came from organic search results, what were the top 50 search strings? etc.
If you are trying to rely on navigation summary for sequential navigation, that's a bit trickier. I have just been using previousPagePath & nextPagePath combos with landing page segmentation via data export api to put together conversion/navigation trending (retrospective). It's not 100% but better than nothing.