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6th October 2017 Rebecca Moore

Slicing your data #DMA

Tom Beardshaw, digital marketing expert and a mentor for the Digital Marketing Academy offers some thoughts on segmentation.

One of my common tasks as a Mentor on the DMA programme is to walk Fellows through some of the ways that they can use Google Analytics (GA) to achieve their goals, which often include phrases like “get to know our audience better”. If that’s you, and you aren’t aware of the ways that you can use Segments in Google Analytics, read on!

Put simply, Segmentation is a way of looking at a particular portion, section, or segment of your website traffic, and exploring all of the data contained within GA for that group of visitors. Once you’ve identified and created a Segment that represents a group of visitors that you want to learn more about, you can view any of the data analyses that GA provides, but for the segment of visitors that you’ve chosen. You can also chose to display multiple segments at the same time, so you can compare different groups of visitors.

By default, when you open GA, you are looking at a segment called “All Users”, which is shown at the top of your reports, next to a button which allows you to add another segment:

If you’ve never clicked on that “+ Add Segment” button, go on – I dare you to! If you do, you’ll find an array of segments that Google has already given you, based on user characteristics or behaviour displayed during their visit.

So that means you could compare the visit time and purchasing behaviour of segments based on the channels that they arrive at your website from… to understand which are the most effective channels in your digital marketing.

You can compare the content that users from different geographic areas are browsing using segments based on geography. You can look at the pathways taken through your website by visitors who have taken a specific action (such as making a purchase) compared with those who didn’t take that action.

Segmentation allows you to leave the comfortable, yet ultimately unenlightening plains of “All Users” data and deep dive into the worlds of groups of people you are particularly interested in.

A great way to start playing with Segments is to identify one or more groups of visitors that you would like to find more about, and to experiment with creating a data segment that represents that group. Click on the red “New Segment” button and play with Analytics to create a segment that represents that group, and then explore the data to learn more about them.


To learn more about Segments, check out some of these articles;

Excellent Analytics tip #2: Segment absolutely everything, by Avinash Kaushik

How to use (Advanced) Segments in Google Analytics by Dave Chaffey

About Segments by Google


Image courtesy of Puppet Theatre Scotland © Andy Caitlin – Stephen Moir – Phonotrope Workshop

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