Secret Segments: Accessing Extra Dimensions in Google Analytics, part 1

January 13, 2009

Did you know there are over 3 dozen additional “dimensions” to segment by in Google Analytics that are not listed on the standard “dimension” drop down? I’ll share these “secret segments” in a series of postings over the next few weeks. Today, post 1, I’ll cover extending cross-segmentation dimensions for e-commerce billing city, state, and countries, plus the affiliate dimension. Read on for the juicy details…

The Background

While writing a response on the new Google Analytics help forum to a question about e-commerce dimensions this evening I was inspired to write a series about “secret segments” and how to use them to take analysis to new levels of cross-dimension craziness. I first began discovering these dimensions well over 18 months ago and kept them to myself.

Indeed, I’m not alone in my discovery – others including Jeremy Aube over at ROI Revolution found the some of the same tidbits of analytics delight and went so far as creating a fabulous Firefox plug-in for easily accessing these segments.

Three E-Commerce Segments: Billing City, Billing State, & Billing Country

The first three of the 36+ additional segments I want to cover are withing the e-commerce group. They are the billing city, state, and country fields that can be populated via the addTrans() function. These dimensions are not listed in the standard segment drop-down, but they are available as dimensions in Advanced Segments.

Accessing unlisted segments is as simple as modifying the URL of your analytics report. Any report that has dimension options can have the following URL parameters appended to it: “&segkey=1” and “&segkey=DIMENSION” where “dimension” is the dimension name. From what I can tell, “segkey” activates the cross-segmentation capability of the report you’re viewing, and “segkey” defines what dimension to apply to the report.

So, the magic keys for these e-commerce dimensions:

  1. Billing city: segkey=bill_city
  2. Billing state (or region): segkey=bill_region
  3. Billing Country/Territory: segkey=bill_country

So, to segment by the dimension for billing city, simply navigate to a report that allows for segmentation and add “&seg=1&segkey=bill_city” into the URL.

NOTE: use with caution. Some reports won’t segment properly since certain dimensions aren’t compatible with other dimensions and metrics (metrics are numbers like visits or pageviews). And, since these aren’t listed in the standard dimension drop-down, I wouldn’t bet your business future on them working indefinitely, i.e. if they’re not officially supported they might go away.

That said, these could prove wildly useful.

And for the bonus dimension: Affiliate/Affiliation in ecommerce reports!

The fourh dimension for this post is the Affiliate or Affiliation field. It’s available as a field in the transaction record and useful for tracking sales to an affiliate or business unit. But, what good is it if you can’t report it? Not much.

The Affiliation or Affiliate segment key is simply “segkey=affiliation”. That’s it!

Creating quick shortcuts to unlisted dimensions that work in any browser

The script from ROI revolution is handy, but what if you don’t use Firefox or don’t don’t want to install Greasemonkey? Here’s the solution: drag this link to your shortcuts or bookmarks bar, then edit it and replace the “DIMENSION-GOES-HERE” part with the segmentation key you want to use. Then, whenever you’re inside Google Analytics viewing a report with dimension segmentation available, click the nifty little shortcut and you’ll have your secret segment front and center! Oh, and don’t forget to change the name of the shortcut or bookmark to the dimension it loads.

Tune in next week for another set of secret, unlisted segments and instructions on how to access them and extend your Google Analytics dimension analysis options!