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The Benefits of Advanced Segments (With Examples)

Anna Lewis

by Anna Lewis on 18th July 2012

242 Views | 26 Likes

Video Transcript

Hello. This video is about advanced segments and is a follow-up to my recent blog post about my top 15 useful advanced segments. Advanced segments are used to analyse your website data so that you can get more out of it, and the end result is always going to be you want to improve the performance and conversions of your website.

So the blog post itself has the code required for a number of these segments that I’m going to discuss today so that you can just take that link and use it yourself in your Google Analytics profiles. What I’m going to do is just go into a bit more depth, where you might use these, what you might do, and what the benefits are.

Looking at your website data, you obviously want to be able to get the most out of it. There are lots of different areas. Let’s start with technology. Obviously, people can view your websites on all sorts of things these days – mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, monitors this size, and monitors this size – so what you want to sort of understand is how your website performs on each of these different platforms, which ones work best for your site, and then you can think about why that might be, why you’re getting the better performance out of a certain size, and then make adjustments. Perhaps you want to change the scaling of your website so that it actually works better on bigger screens or condenses better on smaller screens. Make sure that you’re not missing out on conversions by having technological things holding you back.

It’s one of those things that there’s a lot of advancements in technology these days. Do you need to consider having an iPhone app instead of a mobile site? Do you need both? Do you need an Android app as well? So you can look at the technology by device but also by software. You could look at screen size. You could look at flash capabilities. It’s really good to understand what your users are using and what you can do to get the most out of that.

Under this we can also look at what browsers are being used. Sometimes you’ll see quite a difference in performance between Internet Explorer and Chrome or Firefox or Safari. You want to make sure that actually your website functions perfectly on all of them and that you can get a good enough conversion rate out of each different browser.

So that’s the biggest area within technology, those sort of things, and it’s always good to separate your mobile from your tablet traffic. It’s good to think well actually 20% of all my traffic is on a mobile. What can I do with this? It might open you up to other sorts of display advertising. You might choose to advertise on mobile phones a bit more. You might choose not to because they’re not working. It can really help you understand and do more with that data, do more with those visitors.

Next I’m going to talk about a little group here. We’ve got traffic is the overarching one, that includes not provided and length. I’m going to start with the specific one – length. This is about keyword length. When you’re targeting through SEO and pay-per-click advertising, you’re getting visits from the search engines, where people are typing in anything to be able to get your site. But you want to know what sort of things people are typing in. Instead of just saying, well this keyword has done this well, you can say, well this set of keywords has done this well, and you can group them by length to sort of see what you’re targeting, whether that ties in with the performance. You can think about whether you actually need to start targeting a long tail a bit more or whether the generics are where you’re missing out on conversions. Understanding that and working through with your keyword length, you can see how they vary in performance across all the different areas of your site, it’s going to be beneficial for planning ahead and making the most of those visitors.

Not provided ties in with this in that, when you’re analysing by keyword length, you should always exclude not provided from your two word keyword length segment. This avoids anything being skewed, because not provided can include all sorts of different keywords. And just as a reminder, not provided is what keyword is shown in your reporting software when the user is logged into a Google service and then comes through to your site organically. The result is then shown as not provided. Just for privacy purposes in theory, but so as not to get hung up on not provided, you want to exclude it from your length segment and exclude it from other things where you actually need the details. Then you’ll be able to use the data more accurately without it being skewed.

So not provided itself, if you were to tackle the issue, first off the most essential thing to do is to create a segment for all of your not provided traffic and then create a segment for your organic traffic that is not “not provided.” So that’s everything that you do have the data for. And then if you compare these, you can actually think, well Google’s given me on a plate this segment of everybody who’s logged into a Google product and then comes through to my site. You say, well, people logged into Google perform worse on my site then anybody not or they perform different. They might visit less pages. They might actually be faster conversions. You don’t know what they might be doing but it helps. It gives you a good insight into that sort of a person. It is really useful to have those two segments, compare the two, and then see what you can do with them and see whether actually your not provided traffic is valuable to you or not.

Then with other things, if you were to look at your brand based keywords and exclude those, I’d also recommend excluding those from the length keywords just so that you cannot be skewed by if your brand name is one word. That would obviously be skewed. Brand comes into both of these in that you should always do these with and without brand. That way you can see how brand differs. Also, when you’ve got your whole list of organic keywords, excluding not provided, and you break it down by brand and non-brand, what you can then do is apply that ratio to the amount of not provided traffic that you had and then add those together so that you’ve got all of your brand traffic and all of your non-brand traffic. Then you can actually see the totals, having used an estimation from what you’ve already got into not provided. You can start to think well not provided is that. Obviously, not provided is very beneficial to also look at the landing pages that people are coming into. That can give you a good idea of what they might be searching for. So that’s something to bear in mind. But applying the not provided segment across your site, across all your data and having a look at different things really will give you an insight as to whether or not you need to worry about losing this data and what you can do about that.

That brings us on to the bigger picture traffic as a whole. You obviously want to know what is your most profitable piece, traffic source. What makes you the most money per investment? If you were putting 500 pounds a month into email marketing and 2,000 into pay per click, well which one is generating the most revenue. Compare the two and actually think well my conversion rate of email is double what my pay per click is. Let’s increase the investment in that. Let’s increase it and try and get some more people to sign up, that sort of thing. It can show you what to do, what’s working well. But also you could break it down and compare it to other areas. So you could say organic people who interact well with the site and also convert, let’s compare that to pay-per-click people and see which ones perform better, what you get the most interaction out of, what your conversion rates are, what the attraction is. Just compare everything and also use it to justify your budgets. Use it to say, “Well look, my PPC traffic is really valuable for bringing new visitors into this site. Please boss can I have some more money?” It’s really useful to understand this so that you can invest in the right online marketing and the right external marketing if you can track that.

You’ve got the people to your site. Now what they do they engage with it, they interact with it. These come sort of part and parcel. What you want to analyse here is what pages people are viewing, how long they’re on the pages for, how long they’re on the site for, how many bounces you get. Also, under this, you can also include things like whether they’re new or returning visitors. So you can sort of get an idea of what sort of people are coming to your site and how people are using your site.

Engagement, you can look at certain visitors who visited three or more pages and completed a conversion. It’s a good segment for actually understanding why those people do that and how you can increase that number. If you were to track that each month and think, well I want to increase that because I want people to be looking at my site and converting, or if you’ve got an information based site, you obviously want to think well actually I want people to get lots of information off the site, so I want to go for people, or a segment for people who have visited X amount of pages and spent X amount of time on the site. Now these statistics are often skewed by the fact that the data can’t be collected for those who exit the site. If somebody was to bounce onto the page, off the page, you then have no data on how long they spent on the page. That data is only collectible from those people who visited another page because that’s when the session on that page ends and the next bit can be tracked. So think about that. Always bear that in mind when you’re looking at the time on page and those sort of statistics. Engagement and interactions, those could also be gold.

That brings us along to conversions. What you want to be looking at with conversions is where the best conversion rates are, how they happen, which pages might convert better. Everything seems to just tie together. You obviously want to analyse different data within these and compare them alongside each other. Conversions, you can look at how many pages were visited before conversions. Maybe compare the conversion rate of people who visited three pages to those who visited five pages, see how many you need people to be visiting to get the better conversion rate, and also see how you can shrink the conversion journey through different methods, whether the landing page impacts your conversion journey, and segment by traffic to see whether you get different conversion paths, conversion rates, and which kinds of conversions you get from each kind of traffic source as well.

Also, traffic source. It could be which keyword. It could be which Internet browser. Always try to compare. There’s no point saying, “Well I got 2,000 visits from a mobile phone. Of these 12 converted.” You know there’s no point just saying the number. You want to say, well actually that’s more or less / that’s profitable / that’s not profitable. It’s better than this so we need to improve it. You need actionable information. Conversions is obviously where it comes down to because that’s what your site is there for is to complete some kind of action. It’s very important to always come back to that if you can, but also see where the other areas can impact that.

Then custom variables, this is something that not everybody will have on their site, but it is really beneficial because this is the segment that you basically choose what you want to measure. You can segment people depending on the information you have available of what you can do. You could potentially segment people by gender, age, whether they’re logged in or not, whether they have a certain different account, how many previous transactions they might have made. All sorts of custom variables can be coded into your website, or you could use certain plug-ins in order to get some sorted if you’re using something like WordPress for your site. So on the Koozai website, the example I’ve used in the blog post is a custom variable for the author so that we can see which blog author has received the most amount of page views, what sort of conversion rate they might get, and how beneficial that it. What we can do is see which ones we might need to promote, who needs to write more, what works, what doesn’t. That is set up using Google Analytics for WordPress plug-in, and it’s a simple couple of clicks to be able to set that up.

Custom variables without that obviously require a bit of code, but it’s really beneficial to then understand well these kind of people do this kind of thing, and this is what I want to happen more, so let’s promote this or let’s try and get these people doing this. So very beneficial to actually really get your teeth into the data, really just get as much data as you can about all different sorts of things, then compare the two, compare three, compare four. Compare whatever you need to in order to actually get an actionable thing out of it and say I know this, which means we need to this, and then I can see this result happening. It’s a really useful thing to do with your data, and advanced segments can help so much for that.

For all of the links and to use these advanced segments yourself, check out the blog post which has all of the links in them. If you’ve got any other ideas, segments that you like, that sort of thing, put them in the comments so that we can all share the segments that we’ve got and get into the data even more. Thank you very much for watching.

Anna Lewis

Anna Lewis

Our resident analytics specialist is Anna Lewis. Anna is unbelievably attuned to anything analytical and can fill you in on all the latest news, tips and advice to get ahead in this evolving market.

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