Data — especially intelligence garnered from Google Analytics — is a beautiful thing. One of my favorite features is Advanced Segmentation. It allows you to isolate subsets of your website traffic. In this post I’ll share the predefined segments I routinely use when pulling Google Anlaytics reports each month.
Predefined Advanced Segmentation in GA
Advanced Segmentation allows you to slice up your data in many ways. You can apply these segments on current and historical data. As an Analyst, I think it’s critical to really understand and dissect your visitor traffic. And, I always recommend using two data points as it allows for comparison. Let me use an example to explain.
According to GA, you find that your website has 1,000 visitors in the month of August. While that may be interesting information, it doesn’t shed any light on your online marketing efforts. OK, now you re-pull the report to compare August 2013 data with 2012. A year ago, your overall website traffic was 100. Now that’s insightful. I’d dig a little deeper into what brought in those visitors and how they are interacting with the site’s content.
Out of the box, you can find these predefined advanced segments in GA:
- All Visits
- New Visitors
- Returning Visitors
- Paid Search Traffic
- Non-Paid Search Traffic
- Search Traffic
- Direct Traffic
- Referral Traffic
- Visits with Conversions
- Visits with Transaction
Using our example above, wouldn’t it be helpful to know how many visitors came from search versus referrals, compared to all traffic? After segmenting the data a bit more, the results showed that 90% of traffic came from Organic Search. Excellent. Now we know that search is bringing in most of the traffic. If I stop here I may recommend increasing White Hat SEO-related efforts to get more traffic from organic search. But is that the right type of traffic? Are they converting?
Let’s slice the data further and look at converting traffic from search compared to converting traffic from social media sites. By applying those advanced segments, we find that social traffic is 75% more likely to convert then search. Hmm… that’s another important piece of the puzzle.
Armed with this new information I would now recommend: 1) allocating more resources to social media engagement while 2) continuing our efforts with search and 3) revisit keyword research. As you can see, Advanced Segmentation can help fine-tune your reports. Web Analytics is more than running Google Analytics and pulling reports. It’s about providing strategic insights that affect business goal achievement.
Custom Visitor Behavior Segments Too
You can also create custom segments in GA, which is especially helpful for regional tracking, revenue and other important data. Watch this short tutorial (less than 3 minutes) if you need help customizing Advanced Segments for your website.
Don’t Forget Keyword Ranking Reports
If you’re like me, you probably want to know what keywords brought visitors to your website. There is some keyword data available in Google Analytics. But you’ll need to add code to your website and configure GA a bit. Or, you could use a separate White Hat SEO tool. We use Moz as we really like the way the API works with Google. It gives you unbiased data and more flexibility to monitoring keywords and competitors.
Have you played around with Advanced Segments? What visitor insights have you uncovered?
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