Creating audience segments
Read time: 3 minutes

Creating audience segments

15 Oct, 2018 Read time: 3 minutes
Published by
Aislinn O'Toole
Lead Analytics & Google Marketing Platform Trainer
Inspire Inform Ignite

Marketing segmentation is the practice of splitting up a population into different groups that share specific characteristics or behaviors. Segments in Google Analytics allow us to do comparisons and drill into how different attributes or behaviors impact key metrics. For example, we may wish to see conversion rate by device to spot any issues with the user experience on various devices. A low conversion rate on mobile, might, for example, be reflective of the fact that the website is not mobile optimized or the checkout process or forms are too long.

Google Analytics screengrab

Google Analytics screengrab

As a starting point, we can use your organization's measurement plan for ideas for segments. If your organization doesn’t have a measurement plan, you can quickly review our blog post on Measurement planning: Choosing the metrics that matter to bring you up to speed.

Now you’re ready to create your segments to reflect on and understand your performance towards business objectives.

Why should I create segments?

If you could find out who your 'best' and 'most profitable' users are, wouldn’t that be insightful? If you could discover behavioral traits or indicators that converters have in common, wouldn't you want to implement this targeting across the board?

We can start to look at our customer base and find users who have engaged with our products in such a way that we can identify which step of the consideration process (or conversion funnel) they are at, and encourage them to transact through remarketing. Remarketing is a process of retargeting users who have been to your website before with more relevant ads to what they were looking at on your website.

Segments created within Google Analytics can be shared with the Google Marketing Platform.

Who should use segments?

Segments can help us get insights out of Google Analytics and allows us to drill down into what has an impact on our metrics. Anyone with 'read & analyze access' to Google Analytics can create a segment. You are just temporarily grouping Google Analytics data so you can visualize it in a different way - you aren’t making permanent changes. You can simply edit the segment or delete it afterwards if it’s not quite what you were looking for.

How do I create segments?

Once you’re logged into your organization’s Google Analytics account, most reports available in the interface allow you to create a new segment by clicking “+Add Segment”.

Google Analytics screengrab

Then, you have a multitude of options

  1. You can import pre-made segments from the Analytics Solutions Gallery which are predefined segments from practitioners in the community.
  2. Alternatively, you can use Google Analytics system-defined segments. Some examples include: 'Direct Traffic', 'New Users' and many more.
  3. Finally, you can create your own custom segments using the red 'new segment' button.

Screengrab showing segment in Google Analytics

Ideas for custom segments

As each organization’s reporting needs and user base differ, you might want to consider creating your own custom segment; this offers more customization and granularity.

Click “NEW SEGMENT” to proceed.

The interface will update with an array of options as seen below. Already you can start to see the many options available to you in the red boxes.

Demographics screengrab in Google Analytics

We might, for example, want to find out what the attributes are of our users who have more than one transaction. We can create a segment selecting the following:

Screengrab of conditions in Google Analytics

Then we can go and apply this segment to our 'Audience > Demographic' or 'Audience > Interests' report to find out about this segments gender, age or even interests online. From the below, we see that approximately 75% of users with two or more transactions are between the ages of 25-44.

Screengrab of demographics in Google Analytics

If, for example, if we needed to find out who the best spenders are on desktop, we can create a segment selecting 'device category' equaling 'desktop'.

Enhanced Ecommerce screengrab

The screenshot above shows you that the more conditions we apply to the segment, the smaller the total user pool highlighted in red gets. If you intend to remarket to this segment/audience, keep in mind the more options you choose the smaller your reach will be.

The above are just two of the endless segmentation possibilities. I recommend looking at the Solution’s Gallery (and look for anything by Justin Cutroni or Avinash Kaushik) for more inspiration!

What next?

Now that we know how to create segments, we have many options:

  • We can use them as audiences to retarget to and pass them to other Google products
  • We can attach them to reports within the interface to further understand user behavior.
  • We can identify and answer many business problems and questions.
  • Looking for more information on segmentation or further insight from Google Analytics? Find out more on our Analytics Insights training course.

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