The 12 Days of Data: 4 Advanced Segments

December 11, 2013

On the Fourth day of Data my true love gave to me…4 Advanced Segments

3 French Fans (Viewed in GA Real Time)
2 Profile Settings
And an Unsampled GA Data Set


My true love knows that if I want to keep my job as an Analyst, I need to be able to confidently find insights and come up with recommendations based on them. If all I do is click between standard reports to try to find these insights, I will quickly be out of a job. This is why my true love has given us Advanced Segments. Avinash Kaushik, a Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, stated it best,Analyzing data in aggregate is a crime.

Advanced Segments are a surefire way to avoid being arrested for being a bad Analyst! As we contemplate even basic questions such as, “Why did our visits increase?” or “Why did our conversion rate drop?” we need to segment our data in order to arrive at the answer. Lucky for us Google Analytics has amazing segmentation capabilities.

Here is your crash course into Advanced Segments. The definition of an Advanced Segment is as follows: A condition which is applied that filters the entirety of the data, to either include or exclude all visits OR users that contain that condition.

Analysis time! Your manager asks you if there is significant need for a mobile specific version of the website. What do you do? You could navigate to the mobile reports and start to look at the standard metrics, but to come up with a confident answer you need to look at the full picture. Lucky for you that is four clicks away. Simply follow the image below and hit save.

Unified Segments

Now you can navigate to almost any report in Google Analytics and it will show you how ‘Tablet’ and ‘Mobile’ perform in respect to each other. Example analysis you can do is to see how the traffic distribution differs between these two segments, the amount of revenue that each contributes, and any other goal or metrics they are triggering.

Another feature we have available is to build our own segments based on almost every point of data Google Analytics collects about our visitors.  In order to answer to our boss about mobile performance, we will need to build a segment to compare with our desktop traffic.  Our love’s third advanced segment is here:

This third segment will allow us to compare mobile, tablet, and desktop. After applying and navigating to the E-Commerce report we can easily spot some alarming differences between the three segments in the example below. We would use this to dive deeper into understanding why mobiles average order value and conversion rate is much lower than desktop. We might find, for example, that recommended items aren’t displaying for mobile users or that a captcha we are serving is not readable. We are now arming ourselves with quantitative data to take back to our manager to support our recommendation for a mobile specific site.

Segmentation - E-Commerce

That ends our analysis example into Mobile Traffic. Now, we need to end this blog post on a strong note and the fourth advanced segment our love provided will do just that. This won’t be just one ‘Advanced Segment,’ instead it will be the main reason that they are now referred to as ‘Unified Segments.‘ Back in July, Google released a multitude of huge new capabilities. Instead of just looking at visits that contain a certain condition, we can now look at users.

This means that I can create a segment to analyze all of my email traffic and not only see conversions that happened in those visits, but see all conversions that happened in later visits by that same user up to 90 days later. We’ve had Multi-Channel Funnels for some time now to see cross-visit conversions, but now we can use Advanced Segments to see all the details about what specifically happened in those visits. As an example, we can now see if your fancy widget is helping capture lead information, which then leads to conversions with followup e-mail. You can access this by changing the setting when your create a custom segment as follows:

User Segmentation!


This feature is the biggest change to Google Analytics since Advanced Segments were released. I am so excited for how these segments will work in Universal Analytics where we will soon have the ability to see how our users are interacting with us across different devices and browsers. I hope each one of you is using an Advanced Segment every time you go into Google Analytics. They are essential for making our data actionable and the reason I am so thankful for this fourth day of data.