Google Analytics segments, formerly called advanced segments, are among the many useful yet underutilized features in Google Analytics.
There are two basic kinds of segments: pre-built and custom. The real power of segments lies in those you define yourself as custom segments, but many of the pre-built segments are also very handy.
For example, you can apply the pre-built Mobile segment to temporarily restrict your reporting to visitors who have accesses your site on a device that Google Analytics has recorded as the mobile Device Category dimension, that is, smartphones and devices such as Apple iPods with smartphone-sized viewports.
If you wanted to see specifically Android smartphone user interacted with your site, you could easily define a custom segment as Device Category exactly matches mobile and Operating System exactly matches Android.
Make sure to take full advantage of the segments feature in Google Analytics. Segments are flexible and retroactive, they affect only your display without permanently altering the underlying view data, and they’ll provide insights more quickly than the default All Sessions report display.
In Google Analytics, goals, custom reports, and dashboards are created at the view level. If you want to use that same asset in another view, property, or account – or if you want to share with other Google Analytics users – you can forward a link from the Share Assets screen, accessed from the view admin.
Segments are somewhat different in that they’re accessible in all views within the same Google Analytics account, so you’d share a segment with a different GA user, or potentially with yourself if you happen to maintain GA accounts under different logins.
When you share any asset in this way, you’re not sharing any data, but rather a link that another Google Analytics user can click and then apply to their own views. For example, the link below shares a simple custom report for sessions and bounce rate by referrer, but not any of your actual referral data.
This same sharing mechanism allows you to import predefined bundles of segments, dashboards, and custom reports, which you can access by clicking Import from Gallery in the Share Assets screen.
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The Converters segment includes users who have completed an Ecommerce transaction or a goal.
Google Analytics now provides the Converters advanced segment, which you can apply to your reports to view the pageviews, events, sources, and other characteristics that constitute successful visits.
More accurately, the Converters segment is defined with Users as scope, so it segments based on users who have converted or transacted during any session. If you instead want to segment only for the same sessions during which the conversion or transaction actually took place, you can copy the Converters segment and change the scope from Users to Sessions.
Similarly, if you want to focus only on Ecommerce transactions or the completion of a specific goal, you can define an advanced segment for users or sessions with goal 2 completions greater than 0, as an example.
In any case, segmentation in general is essential for gaining actionable insights from your reports. The Converters segment, or a similar segment that you create yourself, can specifically help you identify your success factors so you can adjust your Website navigation and marketing initiatives to generate more Ecommerce transactions and goal completions.
If you’ve applied any special report settings that you want to easily access again, you can save a shortcut. In this way, shortcuts are somewhat akin to custom reports, in that they preserve specific report settings.
Shortcuts save the report as configured with any of the following features:
• advanced segments
• secondary dimension
• table filters, default and advanced
• table sorting by column
• Comparison, Percentage, and other display types
One point to note is that shortcuts are not available under Share Assets in the view admin. Although it certainly would be useful to share shortcuts, advanced segments are created on a user-by-user basis, so the other GA users with whom you’d want to share the shortcut would not necessarily have all the necessary dependencies to recreate the shortcut configuration on their end.
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With an advanced segment applied, goal and Ecommerce conversion rates are more meaningful (and higher).
If you only expect one type of visitor to your site – such as a visitor who has or has not logged in, a visitor from a specific geographical area, or a visitor who has accessed a certain page – to complete a certain goal or an Ecommerce transaction, you should apply an advanced segment to your goal reports for more meaningful (and higher) conversion rates.
For example, let’s say that your website consists of two main sections: news and content on the one hand, and an online store on the other. If you don’t necessarily expect visitors on the news side to complete transactions in the store, you should create an advanced segment based on visitors who have viewed at least one page in the store and apply that segment to your goal and Ecommerce reports.
As is illustrated in the screen shot, the conversion rate for the segment will be higher (and more meaningful) than for all traffic, and variations in conversion rate over time will have greater amplitude and therefore be easier to detect.
This illustrates a general principle in Web analytics: the more specificity you apply to your analytics in terms visitor segmentation, the more you’ll be able to make meaningful observations and take concrete action to improve your website.
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An advanced segment for nonbranded Yahoo and Bing traffic can help address the (not provided) issue.
Since the time we discussed the Non-Paid Search Traffic advanced segment that is built into Google Analytics – and why you should avoid it – the totality of (non provided) has eliminated our ability to directly track performance of organic nonbranded Google traffic in Google Analytics.
However, we can still take advantage of Bing and Yahoo keywords to gauge performance of our organic nonbranded traffic. Additionally, the branded vs. nonbranded breakdown that we can easily calculate for Bing and Yahoo could help us estimate the branded vs. nonbranded percentages for Google organic traffic as well.
To apply a Bing/Yahoo organic nonbranded advanced segment to your Google Analytics reports, click the link below (and just make sure to edit the advanced segment with your own domain and company name for the keyword-exclude conditions):
Another very important update to advanced segments is the Sequences option, which allows you to define an advanced segment based not only on behaviors that have occurred, but also based on the specific order in which they occurred.
In this example, we’re identifying visitors who completed a goal after viewing the company video.
When combined with the other new user-scope enhancement to advanced segments, you define your advanced segments as specific sequences of behavior that occurred over multiple visits by a single user.
Fairly recently, some obvious changes occurred to the advanced segment creation screens, such as the “starter” conditions that are now broken out separately in the interface.
A less obvious but more profound change is the “scope” selection. We now have the option of selecting Users as the scope of our advanced segment and thereby identifying a certain behavior as characterizing not only a single visit, but all visits completed by a user.
For instance, you can define an advanced segment at User scope based on completion of a specific event, such as viewing a video, and apply that advanced segment to your Conversion reports to see if viewing the video at any visit during the visitor lifecycle affects goal conversion rates.
Similarly, you can now define a Page segment at User scope. In this way, you see how viewing a certain page during one visit may affect other behaviors and metrics in other visits by the same visitor.
Keep in mind that cookie deletion breaks the continuity of the User segments, since a visitor who has deleted cookies will be considered a new visitor when returning to your site.
In an upcoming post, we’ll look at another new feature advanced segments feature that complements User scope: Sequences.
The “starter” dimension and metrics that Google Analytics now groups into five categories can be helpful when you’re defining your custom advanced segments. Many of the parameters commonly used in advanced segments, such as country value, are easily accessible through this new interface enhancement.
At the same time, keep in mind that these represent only a subset of the dimensions and metrics available, all of which are still accessible in the Conditions panel – as two examples, the important but often misunderstood Page dimension as well as the Event dimension, which you could use to create an advanced segment for visitors who clicked on Live Chat.
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In your conversion reports and most other Google Analytics reports, you can apply an advanced segment based on live chat.
Yesterday’s post discussed how to create a Google Analtyics event for clicks on live chat. With the event captured, we can see how many visitors are using live chat, but we can also see how live chat engagement corresponds with other behaviors, such as goal completion.
Assuming the you have used “livechat” as your event category, you can define two advanced segments as follows:
Advanced segment with live chat:
Include – Event Category – Containing – livechat
Advanced segment with live chat:
Exclude – Event Category – Containing – livechat
In the example screen shot, we can see that visitors who click live chat are three times more likely to convert. While it’s possible that the typical live chatter was already more committed to the conversion activity and would have converted at a higher rate even without live chat, the higher conversion rate observed for the live chat segment might indicate that you may at least need to make live chat more prominent on your pages to see if that increases overall conversions.