One of the most important Google Analytics
tools you can use for in-depth analysis is segmentation. When you apply a segment, you
are essentially filtering your data in real time. Segmentation lets you isolate and compare
subsets of Analytics data, so you can see which segments may be under-performing. You can segment users or sessions in Google
Analytics. User segments can span multiple sessions within the date range you’ve selected
such as all the goals that users completed, or all the revenue generated by a user. For
example, you can segment users who made a purchase and compare that to a segment of
users who didn’t make a purchase. This analysis can help you better understand what influences
people to buy. When segmenting sessions, however, the data
is confined to user behavior within a single session, such as the goals that users completed
during the session or the amount of revenue generated by a user during the session. For
example, you could segment sessions based on their traffic source, like sessions that
originated from paid search, and compare that to sessions originating from email campaigns. Both user and session segments can be built
using dimensions, metrics, session dates, and even sequences of user actions. When you
look at a report like the Audience Overview, notice that the “All Sessions” segment is
already applied and will include every session within the selected date range. To add additional
segments, click the grey arrow to open up the segment builder. You’ll see a list of
commonly used segments with descriptive names. You can compare up to four segments at one
time by clicking the segment label or dragging it into the empty fields at the top of the
report. You can remove segments by simply clicking the grey “x” in the top right corner
of the segment. When you’ve selected the segments you want to compare, click “Apply” at the
bottom. You’ll see each of your segments represented in the time graph and data table below. Once
activated segments will be applied to your other reports as well. While Google Analytics offers a number of
helpful default segments, you can also create your own customized segments. This is the
real power of segmentation! Simply click “Create New Segment” beneath the applied segment fields. To create your own segment, first give the
segment a name. Then choose different criteria from the categories on the left to filter
your data. For example, you can choose Language from the Demographics category and filter
the data to only include those who speak French. For more specific filtering, you can even
create segments based on sequences of user interactions. You could create a segment to
show users that started in the Footwear section of the online store, and then moved to the
Men’s Hiking Boots section. You can define any sequence of user actions such as viewing
a page and then starting a video, or viewing a size chart and then adding boots to an online
shopping cart. As you encounter more complex questions about
your customers’ behavior, you can use segments to isolate the correct subsets of data and
find opportunities to improve your online performance.