Tuesday, February 9, 2010 | 5:45 PM
Labels: google analytics
Analysts often consider an aggregated view of their visitors when assessing reports in Google Analytics. Every visitor is assumed to be of the same type. Looking at the information in an aggregated form is not nearly as useful as assessing the data for individual audience segments. The ability to segment these visitors is extremely important if the website owner wishes to optimise their site for user experience and conversions. Different types of visitors - whether new, returning, organic, paid, and so on - behave differently and have vastly different expectations. The ability to understand what each of them wants and how to cater for them is important towards building a successful online presence.
Google Analytics makes it easy to segment your audience with advanced segments. There are a number of predefined advanced segments (e.g. new visitors, paid search visitors) that you can take advantage of immediately. More useful, however, is the ability to create custom advanced segments tailored to your own specific needs.
One of the new Google Analytics features announced in November is the ability to share custom advanced segments with other users across accounts. It is through this feature that I want to share with you some of the custom segments that I have often found useful for analyses.
For any of the custom advanced segments below, click on the provided link to copy the segment to your account. Be sure to customise it to your needs before saving it. Make use of the "Default Segments" menu for any of the default advanced segments mentioned below.
Bounced Visits [link]
Reducing the bounce rate for your site is one of the key steps towards creating a compelling user experience for your visitors. This segment allows you to gain insight into those visitors who are bouncing (single-page visits). By understanding what they were looking for (eg look at keywords and ad copy), how they got there (organic, paid, referral), their language, and so on, you can gain insights into what it is that is discouraging them from interacting with your site.
Non-bounce Visits (default segment)
Similarly you have visitors who find your site engaging enough to move beyond the landing page. We should be taking interest in what they want and what they do in order to better serve their needs. Comparing their experience with visitors who bounced will also help you generate ideas for improving the site experience for those that bounced.
Visits with conversions (default segment)
These are visitors who hold value for your site and your business. They visit your site and perform the actions (e.g. make a purchase or subscribe to a newsletter) that you want them to perform. Understanding what makes them tick is important towards generating more conversions for your site.
Visits that dropped out of the funnel [link]
Just as it is important to know who is converting on your website, it is equally, if not more, important to know who started the conversion process but did not complete it. Understanding why these visitors dropped out of your funnels will help you determine the steps needed to optimise your funnel (a topic for a future blog post) in order to capture more conversions.
It's always satisfying when visitors come to you by searching for your brand name. They represent your audience who have an affinity for your brand. Ultimately these visitors exhibit different behaviour and purchase patterns when compared to visitors who come to you via generic search terms (see below). Understanding and leveraging these patterns, and further breaking them out into organic and paid traffic, will help you strike a deeper relationship with these visitors.
This segment is indicative of visitors who you haven't established strong brand awareness with. They discovered your website through generic category terms (eg "smart phones") rather than brand-specific keywords (eg "Nexus One"). It will make a difference to your business if you can establish brand awareness with these visitors and convert them to loyal customers.
Visitors from Country X [link]
If your site targets an international audience, it's always interesting to understand how visitors from a particular country interact with your content. What type of content do they have an affinity for? Which special offers and deals do they like? What content do they have difficulty understanding? Take this advanced segment and customise it to your needs. Copy and re-use it for as many countries as you would like to segment by.
First-time buy visits [link]
The holy grail for any e-commerce website is the ability to convert first-time visitors into buyers. While this advanced segment may only identify a small segment of your total visitors (if it identifies a large segment, then congratulations!), it's important to understand what motivated them to buy on their first visit. These lessons can then be applied to motivate new visitors to purchase in as few visits as possible.
Return visit buys [link]
If you aren't converting visitors to buyers on their first visit, then hopefully you are converting them on subsequent visits. Better understanding their behaviour will enable you to optimise your site's user experience so that these visitors are motivated to purchase sooner.
These are just a few ideas for custom advanced segments that can help you gain more value from your data. To take full advantage of them, copy them to your account by clicking on the links below, customise them to your needs, and start segmenting away!
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Do you have custom segments that provide you with valuable insights? If so, please share them with us in the comments below, and we will feature the best ones in a future post.