Segmentation is the process of dividing heterogeneous data into homogeneous smaller groups. Segmentation could -for instance- divide users between users that purchased a product from out ecommerce site and users that did not. Classification variables which are used to generate a segmentation, are variables selected from any of the available Google Analytics dimensions and metrics.

Segments can be generated to track trends, goals and new opportunities to promote the site; for instance, the success of new products (trend), the percentage of visitors that convert after landing on a specific landing page (goal), the impact of webinars in promoting the site’s visibility on social media (site’s promotion).

How to +Add a Segment

Segments can be generated from any GA page and in combination to any dimension and metric available on GA. The easiest segment that can be generated is a single segment, that is a segment with only one dimension and one metric. Let’s say you are interested in the behavior of your users; in this case you would focus on the Behavior Menu > New vs Returning of GA. In addition, let’s assume you you have just launched a brand new mobile version that makes the mobile navigation much easier for tablets. In this case, you would not be interested in all the visitors, but only to those that used a tablet device to visit the site.

GA - ALL Segments
Google Analytics: How to Apply a Segment to the current view

First, select Audience > Behaviour > New vs Returning. If you click on “+Add Segment” next to “All Sessions 100%“, a new window opens up. Now, select “Tablet Traffic” among the available options and click “Apply“. A new trend-line will appears on the graph showing all the sessions. If you want to exclude “All Sessions 100%“, deselect the “All Sessions” button.

How to +Add a System Segment

When selecting +Add a Segment, the new window shows that segments are divided in five different groups:

  • All (All available segments)
  • System (predefined in GA)
  • Custom (created by the webmaster of GA)
  • Starred (preferred custom segments)
  • Selected (applied to the current view)

System segments are built in segments provided by GA, which cover the most common types of users’ characteristics and behaviors. These types of data restrictions are particularly helpful to better understand sessions and users. Let’s assume that you are interested in analyzing how many users convert (perform a specific action or goal) among your visitors. In this case, you should:

  1. Select the Dimension you are interested in (in this case, Behaviour > New vs Returning)
  2. Click on +Add Segment next to All Users, 100% Sessions
  3. Select System from the left-hand side menu
  4. Select any of the available predefined options (in this case, Converters)
  5. Deselect All Sessions if you want to visualize only Converters
  6. Click Apply
GA - System Segment
System Segment: Behaviour of Converters

How to +Add a Custom Segment

Custom segments are segments created by the GA webmaster/user. Let’s assume you want to identify how many users utilize Safari Browser when visiting your site to determine if it would worthwhile investing in optimizing your site for Safari Browsers. To create this type of custom segment, you need to:

  1. Select the Dimension you are interested in ((in this case, Behaviour > New vs Returning)
  2. Click on +Add Segment next to All Users, 100% Sessions
  3. Select +Create New Segment
  4. Give the segment a Name (for instance, Safari Browsing)
  5. Select Technology among  the available dimensions indicated on the left hand-side:
    1. Demographics
    2. Technology
    3. Behaviour
    4. Data of First Session
    5. Traffic sources
  6. Select Browser which contains Safari
  7. Click Save
GA - Custom Segment
Behaviour Custom Segment – Technology

Custom Segments could also be defined by multiple conditions. Let’s assume for instance that you are interested to know how many visitors that come from social media use mobile devices. If a site sees a lot of incoming traffic from social sites, it might be worth investigating if the site needs to be optimized for mobile devices.

  1. Select the Dimension you are interested in ((in this case, Behaviour > New vs Returning)
  2. Click on +Add Segment next to All Users, 100% Sessions
  3. Select +Create New Segment
  4. Give the segment a Name (for instance, Social Media and Mobile Traffic)
  5. Select Technology
  6. Select Mobile (Including Tablet) Yes
  7. Select Traffic Sources 
  8. Select Medium contains Social
  9. Click Save

If you now visit the Custom Segments, you’ll find listed all your new generated segments. You can now apply or remove Custom Segments. By clicking on Action, you will be able to Edit, Copy, Share or Delete your segment.

GA - Custom Segment List
Google Analytics Custom Segments

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