This post is part of an ongoing series about getting the most out of Google Analytics. If you’d like to start with the basics, read Intro to Google Analytics or Understanding your Audience through Analytics. Or, check out all of My Posts on Google Analytics.

Don’t be dismayed by the naming, Google Analytics advanced segments are really easy to use! They’re a simple way to segment your data and get more out of the reports you already use. A lot of people miss that they’re there (or think that Advanced means that they’re only for advanced users). Take a look at a few examples and you’ll see how easy and powerful this feature is.

On most reports in Google Analytics, you’ll see a button for Advanced Segments right under the title of the report. Just click that button and you’ll see a list of check boxes.

Google Analytics Advanced segments 2

These are segments that Google Analytics gives you by default that can be applied to different reports. For example, you can take a chart of average visit duration and segment it into New Visitors and Returning Visitors, and  see an interesting comparison on the engagement of your repeat traffic versus new traffic.

Average duration by new visitors and return visitors

Or if you’re looking at page load times, you can segment them into all visits and mobile device visits, which can be useful for mobile optimization.

page load time

Another useful way to use Advanced Segments for mobile optimization is to look at your report of top content and segment into mobile traffic versus all traffic. You might see some pages have a much higher bounce rate for mobile devices than users on a full computer. Maybe those pages need some tweaks to make the experience better for mobile visitors.

 

mobile bounce rate

 

The Advanced Segments that are there for you by default are:

  • All visits
  • New visitors
  • Returning visitors
  • Paid search traffic
  • Non-paid search traffic
  • Search traffic
  • Direct traffic
  • Referral traffic
  • Visits with conversions
  • Visits with transactions
  • Mobile traffic
  • Tablet traffic
  • Non-bounce visits

You can use up to 4 segments at once. The combinations are endless, but it doesn’t take any more effort than clicking a check box on and off. So, step out of your box and see how you can use advanced segments on one of your favorite reports.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alissa Ruehl has been using Google Analytics since the first weeks it came out as a Google product. Through consulting, webinars, and conferences, she has helped hundreds of people at a variety of organizations and companies navigate Google Analytics and use it to refine their online marketing and website effectiveness. She currently uses her analysis skills as a senior user researcher on the Blackbaud products side, but she loves re-immersing herself the world of website analytics for her monthly Google Analytics blog posts. The only thing Alissa likes talking about more than data is food, but that’s a whole other blog.

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