Advanced Segments in Google Analytics solve a problem for me!
For all of my forward thinking in designing and tagging a client’s website to track and report on key performance indicators, inevitably there will come a need to dissect historical data prior to custom variable or profiles being implemented.
That’s where the beauty of advanced segments (released by Google Analytics in late 2008) comes in to save the day. This feature allows users to pull out subsets of their visitor data and view them as though they were the only data within all reports of Google Analytics.
For example, you already know from your default dashboard (shame on you for not customizing it yet for your needs, not those of the masses) what percentage of your visitors comes in directly (or through search or through referrals). But wouldn’t it be nice to have many of the reporting tools available to you for just that advanced segment?
Google Analytics has useful predefined segments:
- All Visits (the default – what you’ve been viewing since Day One)
- New Visitors
- Returning Visitors
- Paid Search Visitors
- Non-paid Search Visitors
- Search Traffic
- Direct Traffic
- Referral Traffic
- Visits with Conversions
- Mobile Traffic
- Non-bounce traffic
These are some great advanced segments to get you started. But the real value comes when you define your own segments tailored and personalized in a way no package could predict.
Examples from clients
Some were used one time to track down an issue or answer a single question; others are used regularly as part of my key performance indicator (KPI) strategy:
Here’s my shorthand: (Advanced Segment Friendly Name) = (syntax of the advanced segment definition)
- Blog Pages = Page starts with /blog
- Indian Visitors = Country/Territory Matches exactly India
- Non-Indian Visitors = Country/Territory Does not match exactly India
- ABCkeyword = Keyword contains ABC
- Keyword is DEF = Keyword Matches exactly DEF
- Keyword is not DEF = Keyword Does contain DEF
- Google Searchers = Source Matches exactly google
- GHI LP = Landing Page Matches exactly /GHI
- JKL conversions = Goal4 Completions Equal to 1
- Campaign MNO = Campaign Matches exactly MNO
- 404 Reports = Page Contains /404.html
- Visits With Site Search = Site Search Status Matches exactly Visits With Site Search
- Non-Customers = Page Does not match exactly /AAA/BBB
- Non-Customers Non-Paid = Page Does not match exactly /AAA/BBB AND Medium Does not match exactly cpc
- Firefox Browsers = Browser Matches exactly Firefox
- Goal Completions = Goal1 Completions Greater than 0 AND Goal2 Completions…
- Goal Starts = Goal1 Starts Greater than 0 …
BOLD ITALICS LETTERS are client-specific terms.
Each of these advanced segments can be turned on and combined with others to compare and contrast. The power of this level of reporting is huge and should be exploited.
Once you’ve mastered Advanced Segments you’ll move to Custom Reports, Intelligence and then really get into the tagging of your visitors, events and conditions during their visits. This will allow you to perform deep forensics and pull data and information that will drive fundamental business decisions.