Segments

Segments are used to refine data already captured within Google Analytics. This is a great tool for seeing the big picture. You can find out what visitors are looking for in relation to your site. Is their visit random or focused? What do the pages off (your) site have in common with those on? What are the outliers? et cetera.

Segments show all the data that relates to the parameters set. For example, if you set up a Segment for the pages on 'analytics.info.yorku.ca', it will capture all the data from visitors who visited that site. The pages listed will include all pages visited before and after visiting that site during a visitor's session.

Remember: Segments must be re-applied for each report visited (ie. when you click to another report within GA) so be careful to reapply as you navigate around Google Analytics.

How to set-up a Segment

GA includes several Segments as a default. If none listed meet your needs, follow these steps to set up your own:

  1. At the top of most report pages, below the grey bar with 'Customize', 'Email', 'Export', etc. listed, a square with a blue circle and 'All Sessions' 100.00% is displayed.

    Next to it is a square with '+ Add a Segment'. Click on this square.
  2. A list of available Segments now appears. At the top-left area of this section is a red button labeled '+ New Segment'. Click on this button.
  3. The default display goes to 'Demographics', which is top of the list on the left-navigation of this section. Click through the options in the left-navigation and select those that apply to the information you're trying to find out.
  4. In the top-right corner of the section is a link named 'Visibility'. Select 'All Web Site Data' and in the drop-down select 'York University' (and / or any other account you'd like it to display in) then click 'OK' (this is to ensure that your Segment will only display in the accounts you intend it to -- otherwise, it will display in all accounts you have access to.)
  5. When you are satisfied with your setup, click 'Save'.
When naming your Segment, label it clearly and use unique identifiers whenever possible, especially if it's customized exactly to your site. For example "Analytics site: 3 or more page views" for a Segment customized for the Analytics site.

Tips to consider:

  • Some use of Reg Ex (aka Regular Expressions) may be necessary to make your Segments work as intended.
  • Google also offers several Segments in an open-source-style environment. To view what is on-offer, click on 'Import from gallery' (next to '+ New Segment').
  • The Segment you create may not be visible to everyone else with access to the 'York University' account. If your colleague cannot find the Segment you created, you can share it with them by clicking on 'Manage Segments' (next to the 'Import from gallery' button'.) You will be taken to a new screen in the Admin panel. There, select the Segment you wish to share, then click on the 'Share' button and select the first option ("Share template link" -- do not select "Share in Solutions Gallery" unless you wish to share your Segment outside of York.) The url provided can then be emailed to your colleague(s). When they click on the link they will be prompted to apply it to their own account.

How to apply a Segment

If you have already set-up a Segment, or wish to use one already included in the library, follow these steps:

  1. At the top of most report pages, below the grey bar with 'Customize', 'Email', 'Export', etc. listed, a square with a blue circle and 'All Sessions' 100.00% is displayed. Next to it is a square with '+ Add a Segment'. Click on the 'All Sessions' square.
  2. A list of available Segments now appears. By default, all available will appear, but you can narrow your selection by clicking through the list on the left of the section. Select the Segment you wish to use and either click on it or click-and-drag it to the '+ Add a Segment' area.
  3. Click 'Apply' (the blue button at the bottom of this area) to set your selections.

Tips to consider:

  • You can use multiple Segments in one report to compare data.
  • Clicking on the downward area in the top-right corner of the Segment will reveal options for the Segment, including 'Copy', 'Edit' and 'Remove'.
  • When you click on a Segment in use, the list of available Segments will appear.

How to remove a Segment

  1. Click on the downward arrow of the segment's you wish to remove and select 'Remove' or click-and-drag it away from the Segment area.