That being said, Google Analytics can be a pretty daunting place if you’re not familiar with it. While the standard reports are a good place to start, we’re looking at all website data, which isn’t as useful as drilling down into specific user groups, or types of users. So here we go: Time for some Advanced Segment action.
Getting started with Advanced Segments
When you login to Google Analytics, you’ll see the ‘All Sessions’ segment selected by default.
Click that segment to open up a world of ready-made segments:
Now, let’s say you want to break down your user data and just look at users on mobile. Deselect “All Sessions”, scroll down and tick “Mobile Traffic”, then hit “Apply”:
You’re now looking at the user data for just mobile users.
You can improve the accuracy of this report by ‘asking’ Google not to minimise the processing time, and instead increase the precision of the report. Do so by using the sudoku-esque icon in the corner:
Custom Segments in Google Analytics
Import a Custom Segment
If you’re looking for further segments outside of those already available in the segment list, click “Import from gallery” and take a look at segments created by other Google Analytics users, and members of the Google Analytics team.
Create a new Custom Segment
To create your very own Custom Segment, hit that big red button in the top left corner of your segment options drop down, and then start building:
You can use Demographics to segment your users by age, gender, language, etc if you’ve enabled Advertising Features. Technology will allow you to segment users by OS, browser and device, Behaviour allows users to be segmented by number of visits, days since last visit, and visit duration, and Date of First Visits lets you, well, segment users according to when they first visited your site. Traffic Sources is great if you’re using campaigns to drive traffic to your site, as you can segment according to the UTM parameter tags you used in your urls.
The Advanced options include Conditions, which mean you can add 20 and/or filters (If you’ve got more than 20 filters, you’re going to need to start your RegEx education):
and Sequences, which will segment users based on a series of conditions:
Once you’re happy, and you’ve named your segment, you can save it, and edit it any time:
You’ll see there’s also an option to share your segment with another user. Note that this will only share the conditions of the segment, not your website’s data.
This is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reporting in Google Analytics, but the ability drill down into the data means you can learn even more about your users than if you were just sifting through top level data. It can be insightful and also very useful to create your own custom segments, which are different for everyone based on the purpose of their website, but the ability to import and share segments means that those less comfortable with doing so can take advantage of the knowledge of others who’ve been using it for yonks.