Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for analyzing the behavior of your site's visitors.
However, out of the box, it shows aggregated data which is not really helpful since it tells the story of no one in particular.
When you open Google Analytics, you want to get meaningful insights. In order to do that, you need to break down your data in chunks that make sense and analyze each chunk separately.
That's called segmentation.
In this article, I give you 9 ideas for segmenting your audience...
Looking at segmented data will help you understand many things, like:
- which channels are bringing more traffic;
- which demografics are converting better;
- which pages/products are generating the bulk of your revenue;
- which pages need improvement;
...and many more...
What is segmentation?
Basically, you can think of segments as filters.
In fact, the segment editor in GA is nothing more than a filter for the traffic you are currently displaying.
Of all the users that are visiting your site, one ‘segment’ will display data pertaining to the users that match the conditions you defined in the filter.
Segments are pretty easy to set up, so I won't go in the detail of how to do that... BUT, a more interesting question is:
which segments can give you meaningful insights?
The answer to this really depends on your specific case. However, some segments come handy for pretty much all the websites.
Here they are...
Segment Idea #1 - Page Depth
Page depth, also known as average pages per session, is the number of pages a user browses during his visit.
In my "3 clicks" segment I filter all the users that saw at least 3 pages... well, that's actually 2 clicks, not 3. Anyway, you get the point.
Now, if you compare the behavior of these users to the "average" you can spot interesting things...
In this example, one thing appears evident: the number of monthly users you can rely on to fuel your growth is not 31251 (that's all users, in this example) but it is just a bit shy of 18000.
That cuts your reach by about 42% (again, in this example... look at your own numbers in GA).
What does it mean in practical terms?
It means the number of potential customers who are likely to buy from you is way less than the number you see on the default page of GA (Audience > Overview).
This information can help you adjust your plans and your strategy in order to appeal to that 58% of users who are really interested in what you have to say.
Segment Idea #2 - Returning vs. New Customers
The difference between a new and a returning customer is self-explanatory.
Based on the nature of your business, you might use this information for evaluating certain aspects of your website and revenue.
This is a pretty standard segment in GA.
Segment Idea #3 - Segmentation by Traffic Sources
Your site’s traffic may be coming from multiple channels/sources, such as:
When looking at the sources of your traffic, you can focus your marketing efforts on the channels that are bringing the bulk of your visitors or on the channels that convert better.
Segment Idea #4 - Desktop Vs. Mobile Segmentation
This segment is super important.
In fact, the behavior of users on desktop and mobile tends to be quite different.
For this reason, you need to track what's going on on your pages, by device type.
I strongly advise on designing a mobile-friendly website because we’re headed largely in that direction.
Today, more people access websites from mobile/handheld devices than they do from a desktop.
Of course, you should check if that's the case for your website.
Anyway, even if you still have more desktop users, Google values the mobile experience more than the desktop one... and if Google is mobile-first, you need to be mobile-first as well.
Finally, if a site works perfectly on mobile, it’s easy to adapt it to desktop. So, design for mobile.
Segment Idea #5 - Segmentation by Browser
This is important because bowsers not always behave like you'd expect them to.
Sometimes a specific browser may not be loading some elements of a page... or it might be loading slowly.
By segmenting your website data based on different browsers (along with the number of transactions and conversion rates for each browser) you can get important insights.
For instance, if for a page you’re getting zero conversions on a particular browser, you know that there’s something wrong with that page when it loads on that browser.
There you go... fix it :)
Segment Idea #6 - Country
This segment lets you see how different users from different countries behave after landing on your site.
If you have a large international website, you should definitely keep an eye on which Countries drive more traffic to your pages and which ones convert better.
Segment Idea #7 - Goals and Events
This segment is a crucial one.
It helps you analyze users' behavior by looking at groups of people who performed a similar action.
You get insight into things like:
- Which pages are they looking for?
- What type of transaction (or other action) did they carry out?
- What are they interested in?
...of course, in order to segment by events and goals, you must have set them up correctly in GA.
Segment Idea #8 - Segmentation by Transaction
By segmenting your data based on transactions, you can find out the pages viewed by customers who actually bought something from you.
You can do this only if you are using GA ecommerce.
You further get to know about things like:
- How long my paying customers stay on the site?
- What's their preferred flow in the site?
- What did they see and what did they miss before the purchase?
Segment Idea #9 - Experiments
Finally, if you are A/B testing, you want to segment your users by "experiment".
This will allow seeing the behavior of people who saw the control version of the page versus the behavior of those who saw the variation.
Once you have the segments set up correctly, you can also see the number of transactions, the revenue generated and many more important metrics.
Looking at averages will not help you get better at converting your visitors.
To get good insights you need to look at your data through a series of filters (segments).
Segmentation is all about taking aggregated raw data and transforming it into meaningful information that will allow you to:
- get insights;
- formulate hypotheses based on those insights;
- use those hypoteses to make changes to the site and to get better results.
Keep in mind that the segments I described above can be used in any combination, to paint a clearer picture and pinpoint what's the type of customer who really enjoys being on our site.
All you have to do is just adding multiple criteria to your GA filters when you create a new segment.
One last thing... don't forget to have fun while you are looking for the gold nuggets in your GA data ;)
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