Google Analytics provides a number of preset Advanced Segments that allow account owners to filter or compare traffic reports. Advanced Segments helps answer questions like how do mobile visitors perform on the site compared to desktop visitors. Additional custom segments can be added, which are handy for tracking marketing campaigns or understanding visitor behaviour. For example, what do Twitter referrals do vs. Facebook referrals. Or what actions do repeat visitors who have visited 10+ pages on the site do after signing up for the newsletter. The combinations of rules that can be defined for a segment help answer site performance questions related directly to business goals. Advanced Segments are handy. Get to know them.
Common uses of the default segments include:
- Viewing a single segment, for example, only Mobile Traffic on the site. When this segment is checked, all reports are filtered to show only what visitors using mobile devices did on the website.
- Comparing two or more segments, for example, Paid Search Traffic vs. Non-Paid Search Traffic. When two or more segments are selected, the reports display only traffic from those segments, making it easier to see how one performed in comparison to the other.
As mentioned additional custom segments can be added, which are handy for tracking marketing campaigns and other business goals.
Common custom segments include:
- Site-specific traffic, such as, traffic only from Twitter. When running promotions in a specific social media channel, or on a particular referring site, a custom segment can be used to filter and track the performance of visitors coming from that site.
- Location-specific traffic, such as, traffic only from a particular city, province/state, country, or even IP address.
- Activity-specific traffic, such as, traffic that visits more than once or traffic that completes a specific goal like Buy or Subscribe.
Custom segments can also include any combinations of and/or statements. i.e., “Twitter and Facebook traffic who complete a petition” or “visitors who return to the site more than 3 times and visit more than 5 pages.”
Using Advanced Segments
In any Standard Reporting screen, just below the “Home” tab, there’s an Advanced Segments tab. Clicking the tab will reveal the Default and Custom Segments panel.
Google Analytics shows “All Visits” unless otherwise specified in Advanced Segments. To filter reports by segment, check the desired parameters.
Creating a Custom Segment
Clicking on “Create a new advanced segment” prompts you to define the rules to build a custom segment.
In the Name field, provide a descriptive label for this segment. i.e., Facebook Traffic.
To create the segment for Facebook traffic, choose “Include” traffic from any “Source” that “contains” “Facebook.com.”
You can repeat these steps to add additional filters to the segment. For example, using “AND” include traffic from any source that contains Twitter.com would create a Social Media segment that would show aggregated traffic for both sites.
Click Test Segment or Preview Segment to see if you’ve set this up correctly and then click Save Segment.
This will take you back to the report overview. To apply your custom segment to your report, click the Advanced Segments tab and check the parameters you wish to view or compare. Graphs and data in Google Analytics will then only display the parameters selected.
Have a super advanced segment you’d like to share or favourite report? Let us know in the comments.