advanced segmentsGoogle Analytics recently updated the way in which users could build segments. The screens got a tweak to make them easier to use and a fair dollop of extra parameters were added. This all sounds super geeky and  of little use to most business owners, however because I’m writing about  it here I can assure you that the opposite is really the case.

First up let’s get into what Segments are and why they need some attention. I’ll begin with a three stage levels of how people view the traffic their website receives.


This is a throwback to the old ways of tracking websites. Basically it’s a technical term that relates to the type of content that is downloaded from your website as people browse your pages. So a website designed a different way could have more hits than another but its traffic could be lower. Because of this inherent issue knowing your “hit count” is most probably less valuable than knowing nothing about your sites performance.


Now we are making progress. This is a count of actual humans who are clicking on your pages. Visitors have page visits, returning visits and new visits. They are the closest thing we have to measure when it comes to tracking actual people. We can see where they came from -Google organic or paid advertising, directly to your site, or from you last email campaign. And we can see what pages they looked at.

However the illusion in all of this is that everyone is the same wanting the same problem solved the same way. A big bucket of sameness. Which thankfully isn’t correct as the world is made up of very different people wanting solutions to their own different type of problems. This is where Segments come in.


Segments allow you to carve up your visitors into logical groups. Once built, you can see how the groups perform on your website compared to other groups or the overall site average. The latest update gives you a bit more flexibility in how these groups are defined and more importantly lets you look at people, not just the visits they take.

For instance here are three groups that were not available before but are now. 

1) Segments based on users not visits

So you run an e-commerce store and want to see how customers who have spent more than $100 over the last two months interacted with your website. Previously this was all done at a visit level.

Previously any customer who completed an order worth $100 or more during a single visit was added to the segment. Now you can define this segment at a user level which allows Google analytics to sum all the sales a user made during this period and if they were $100 or more, include them in the segment. As you can imagine, there’s quite a bit of difference between the two.

2) Segments based on users taking a series of actions

Let’s say your ideal user needs to visit your website and look at a landing page for a specific service and then to complete a contact us request form. They may do this over a series of sessions.

For instance, their first session has them arrive and look at the landing page, the next has them completing the form.  Now with this update you can define a segment as those who complete both actions whether these were completed across one or multiple sessions.

Previously if they didn’t do both actions within the one visit they were not included. 

3) You can create segments based on the date of the first visit of a user

This could be ideal for those addicted to offering daily deals to boost their e-commerce revenue without knowing the true long-term value these customers have. Now it’s possible to define a segment by those visitors who had their first visit to the site as a result of the deal. Then it would be a simple task to compare how they performed long-term against those who arrived through other means.

To follow are a few screenshots of the new segment building interface. Google has made it easier to create your first segment by offering a few templates to get you started. Spend some time this month checking your Google Analytics account to see if it has been upgraded to this new feature. And if so -then dive in and build some segments of your own. Or failing that – phone the office and one of our team can help you out.

The New Google Analytics Segmentation Interface

Advanced Segments Interface


Example of a Pre-configured Segment

Advanced Segments By Date