Using Advanced Segments in Google Analytics

Advanced Segments in Google Analytics

Website data is cool.  As that sentence pretty clearly highlights, I may be a bit of a geek when it comes to website analytics.  But it’s pretty amazing to me that I can easily access objective data on how visitors are using our website.

Now looking at the overall data showing information from every visitor to a website can be enlightening.  But you know what’s even more helpful?  Breaking website visitors into smaller groups, and then looking at the way these groups use the website.

That’s where advanced segments in Google Analytics come into play.

What are Advanced Segments in Google Analytics?

Advanced segments allow you to break your website visitors into subgroups based on a variety of selectable criteria.

Want to see the behavior of only visitors that come from organic search?  There’s a segment for that.  Or maybe you’re interested in seeing metrics on only visitors that ultimately make a donation using your website?  You can create a segment just for that as well.

By breaking your aggregated website data into advanced segments, you can compare how specific populations find your website, consume your content and engage with your organization online.

Pretty neat, right?

Advanced Segments Allow for Robust Comparisons

In addition to purely displaying data for a subset of your website traffic, advanced segments are incredible because they open up a world of comparison that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.  You can compare the experience various groups of visitors are having on your website by selecting multiple advanced segments at the same time.

For example, maybe you want to know if Facebook or Twitter is referring more engaged traffic to your website.  By creating custom segments for both, you’ll be able to select just that traffic coming from Facebook or Twitter and view how these users engage with your website.  You can compare them to one another and against your overall website traffic.

Default Advanced Segments and Creating Your Own

Google Analytics has a variety of advanced segments right out of the box.  Most of them are fairly broad (which is understandable since they come pre-installed) but can still be useful.  There are segments such as Paid Search Traffic, Non-paid Search Traffic, Visits with Conversions, Mobile Traffic, and Tablet Traffic.

But the key to unlocking the power of advanced segments comes from creating tailored segments based on your nonprofit and your website.

While the details on creating a custom segment warrants a post all its own (and we’ll be publishing some such posts in the future), here are some details from Google that can help get you started.

Advanced Segments for Nonprofits to Consider

Don’t know where to start when creating custom advanced segments in your Google Analytics?  Here are some we’d recommend considering for your nonprofit:

  • Traffic from Facebook
  • Traffic from Twitter
  • Traffic from Google+
  • Traffic from Social Media
  • Traffic from Newsletter
  • Visitors that Sign Up to Volunteer
  • Visitors that Make a Donation
  • Visitors that Sign Up for Your Newsletter
  • Traffic that Lands in Your Blog

While not an entirely comprehensive list, the above segments are a good place to start.

For some help on setting up advanced segments for social media, this article is pretty helpful.

Have any advanced segments to add to the list?  Or any that you use on a regular basis?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Related Reads

Using the Landing Pages Report in Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics to See If You Need a Mobile Website

Website Data Most Nonprofits Should Be Tracking

How Fast is Your Website? Some Tools to Get Answers

Image courtesy of bradhoc, Flickr