Google Analytics Unified Segments: 5 Simple Steps to Get You Started

This feature now allows you to start making decisions around what a user did over their lifetime, versus what they did in a single session. Here's how.

Date published
November 20, 2013 Categories

In my previous article, I wrote about the upcoming Google Analytics features that excite me. One of them is Unified Segments and, by now, it should be enabled in most Google Analytics accounts. Since my remarketing lists recipes were well received, I thought I would do something similar and share with you my five favorite Unified Segment recipes.

What are Unified Segments?

Segmentation is nothing new in Google Analytics. However, a limitation was that you could only segment based on a single session. In other words, you couldn’t filter by visitor behavior over multiple sessions (or visits).

Unified segments solve this issue and allows you to create segments based on user behavior across multiple sessions. In other words, you can start making decisions around what a user did over their lifetime, versus what they did in a single session.

I would be re-creating the wheel by providing a deeper overview of audience segments. Instead I refer you to these excellent primers by Justin Cutroni and Avinash Kaushik.

So instead, let’s jump into some interesting Unified Segments.

1. Visitors who make multiple purchases

Your most profitable customer is a loyal customer who purchases repeatedly and often. Unified segments that bucket visitors into how many purchases they have made help you understand how to attract new loyal customers.

Here, for example, I’ve set up segments for those who have made less or more than 5 purchases in their lifetime.

You can import a copy of these segment templates here.

Insights and actions:

Here are some possible insights and actions you can derive from these segments.

● What channels do visitors who make more than 5 purchases use as opposed to those who make 5 or less purchases? Increase your exposure in the channels that your loyal customers visit more often.

● What mix of paid keywords attract your loyal purchasers? Increase investment in those keywords.

● What content is useful in converting existing customers into high-value customers? Expose your low-value customers to these content in an attempt to convert them to higher-value customers.

2. Visitors by total time on site

Do you have a site where visitors spend time engaging with your content over multiple visits before converting? Perhaps they are researching the purchase of a high ticket-price item, or your site is a blog or news publication. Segmenting by total time spent on site over multiple visits can open up some interesting insights.

You can import a copy of these segment templates here.

Insights and actions:

● How long does a visitor spend on your site before converting? What can be done to make them convert sooner? Engage in remarketing, and bid higher for visitors who have spent long enough time that they are looking likely to convert.

● Should your visitors be converting sooner? A/B test content and user experience to achieve conversions that happen sooner.

3. Working hour vs. non-working hour visitors

Visitors may be researching your products and services during working hours, but then converting during non-working hours. What can we glean from their behavior to improve conversion rates?

You can import a copy of these segment templates here.

Insights and actions:

● Is there a correlation between products researched during working hours and products bought during non-work hours? If yes, consider increasing your advertising investment for those products during non-work hours.

● How do work hour visitors return to your site during non-work hours? For example, do they predominantly return through search engines? If so, ensure your SEO is in order and that you’re also investing in paid search results.

● Do non-work hours visitors tend to convert at a better rate, even if traffic is lower? If yes, consider options such as remarketing and email reminders to get work-hour visitors to return to the site during non-work hours.

4. Post-conversion behavior of visitors

What happens after your visitor converts (eg signs up to a newsletter, watches a video, purchases a product)? Do they demonstrate certain behavior? How can you make the post-conversion experience easier for them?

You can download a copy of this segment template here.

Insights and actions:

● Does your visitor come back trying to find out how to use the purchased product? E-mail them a getting started guide after they have purchased your product. Look at which areas they spend time on, and make sure these are well documented in your FAQs.

● What products or services do they purchase on return visits? Experiment with cross-selling these products at the time of their first purchase.

5. Demographics-based behavior

Do female visitors consume different content to males? Are there any discernible content-consumption patterns when broken down by age? Customize content for your users.

You can download a copy of these segment templates here.

Insights and actions:

● Do female visitors consume different content to males? Is a younger age group interested in different information compared to an older age group? Use AdWords demographic targeting to lead visitors to customized landing pages that contain content that is relevant to them.

These are just a few Unified Segments to get you started. Use these as a base for your analysis, and then start to experiment with segments that are more specifically tied to your business’ needs. I’m still learning myself. What are some of your useful audience segments?

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