The role of segmentation in Google Analytics

DSM Digital School of Marketing - Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers great information on audience segments however it requires a different way of looking at segments. You need to know where to look.  As with traditional customer segmentation, Google Analytics segments group visitors that share joint characteristics. There are many characteristics of visitors which are collected – by default – by Google Analytics. These range from details regarding their browsers and screen sizes to the websites that they come from in addition to the kinds of pages that they view.

Ten recommended segments for Google Analytics

  1. Segmentation by Referrer/Traffic source
  2. Segmentation by Visitor Type
  3. Segmentation by Location/Geography
  4. Segmentation by Content Viewed
  5. Segmentation by Landing Page Type
  6. Segmentation by Action taken
  7. Segmentation by Value
  8. Segmentation by Demographics.
  9. Segmentation by Engagement
  10. Segmentation by Technology platform

Segmentation by Referrer or Traffic Source

For instance, if you have campaign tracking established, you can see how these kinds of visitors differ in their journeys through the website in addition to the value they generate:

Email campaigns and newsletters

  • Social media sites (a custom sector of all social media platforms or, alternatively, an individual site such as Facebook)
  • Affiliates
  • Display
  • Direct traffic
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)

As search is such a major potential value contributor for most websites, it’s important to further break this down:

  • Paid search (standard sector “Paid Search Traffic”)
  • Natural (standard segment “Non-paid Search Traffic)
  • Paid and natural brand and non-brand key phrases (necessitates custom segment including or excluding keywords which contain variations of the brand).
  • Important high volume phrases or terms containing a significant keyword

Segmentation by Visitor Type (Customer Engagement with the Brand)

For instance, widespread visitor types to segment on are:

  • New visitor versus returning visitor
  • Non-registered versus registered visitor (necessitates use of custom variables)
  • Non-customer versus customer (necessitates use of custom variables)
  • Technology platform used, e.g. iPhone and Android browser

Segmentation by Location or Geography (Visitor Characteristics)

An organisation will want to see how its performance varies in its main markets such as:

  • UK
  • US

Segmentation by Content viewed (on-site Customer Behaviour)

Visitors who have viewed a particular page type may be more expected to buy, or you can understand related pages they view:

  • Key landing page
  • Product page
  • Checkout complete
  • Folders for a large organisation

Segmentation By Landing Page Type (Mixture of off-site and on-site customer behaviour)

In Google Analytics, landing pages are also called entrance pages. If you have a number of visitors entering landing pages, you can see how they behave.

Segmentation by Action taken

These show the customers who have completed conversion goals and bought products as shown through the eCommerce (on-site customer behaviour). This is akin to segmentation by content viewed in that it highlights specific behaviours.

Segmentation by Value

This is a more classic segmentation method used by email as well as direct marketers however everyone will be able to see the advantage of identifying the source in addition to customer journeys of your most valued customers.  You’ll only be able to make this happen if you have established Google Analytics in order to track value for the purpose of conversion goals and eCommerce. You will then create a custom segment which shows visits where the value is above a certain value.

Segmentation by Demographics

This is another approach to segmentation that marketers will be familiar with. It requires you to make use of custom variables in order to record customers who have provided information regarding their characteristics such as:

  • Age,
  • Sex, as well as
  • Gender for business-to-consumer
  • Business size
  • Sector
  • Individual role type for business-to-user

Segmentation by Engagement

For instance, different levels of customer engagement with the site include:

  • Five pages
  • Three pages
  • 10 seconds
  • 10 seconds

Segmentation by Technology Platform (Visitor Device Characteristics)

  • Browser type as well as version
  • Screen resolution
  • Mobile platforms (for example iPhone and Android models) are available

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