Google Analytics provides you with 13 default segments in their Advanced Segment feature. These segments are pretty good and they do tick a few of the boxes for the segments you would use most regularly. But for me, they aren’t enough, there are more segments that are relevant to every website which need be added to your toolkit.
Below is a list of segments that I have set up within my GA login that I use with all clients. Some will work for every website while others require some customisation to make appropriate to you. And I admit freely there are many more “standard” segments that could be created, I did try and restrict this to the more common ones.
Note all segments start with a . to ensure they are listed at the top of the Custom Segments list. When creating custom segments, I do recommend being careful with your naming convention so it is easy to rediscover useful segments. And if anyone at Google is listening, please change the default setting to save a custom segment in this profile only, not in all profiles.
These are based on the new dimension of Device Category (I am assuming that it is fairly accurate). I am considering splitting Desktop by operating system (Windows, Macintosh and Other) but haven’t reached that stage yet.
These are the four key browsers, you could add Opera, etc plus you could get more granular with segments for each Browser version (particularly useful for IE versions).
The default segments provided by Google already include Organic Search, Paid Search, Direct and Referral. These additional segments rely on campaign tracking having been implemented with a standard naming convention – although Social Media should work as is. Again it is easy to extend for more channels or to get more granular e.g. each social media network.
I have recently started using a simple segmentation of Domestic and International for websites based in a single country. These segments here are for the UK but could easily be modified for any other country. Plus you can create a segment for each of your key countries as I have done for the US.
These segments depend on your page naming convention. The homepage one should work for most websites (as long as the homepage name is either /, /homepage or starts with /index). The other two are examples, one for a retail website, one for any website containing a blog. I would recommend setting up these segments for all key page types within your website.
As an example, for a retail website, I would use entry points of Homepage, Category pages, Product List pages, Product pages & Other (potentially adding Search Results pages, Basket page, Blog pages, etc).
If you aren’t aware, you can sometimes get fake traffic being recorded within your Google Analytics data. The first relates to bots crawling your website or something, I have never discovered exactly what. The second is when the Safari Top Sites feature views your website to grab an image.
If you want to know if either issue is affecting you, apply the first two segments to your data. If you are getting traffic from bots, you can exclude them from your profiles using a profile filter, although this will only impact traffic going forward. Use the 3rd segment to view historical data.
There are some blog posts recommending how to eliminate the issue caused by Safari Top Sites. Please let me know if you have a solution which works. Unfortunately a segment that allows you to view clean historical data cannot be created within GA.
Anyone want to suggest some more standard GA segments? Just remember they should be applicable to any website, not just a really cool segment that is incredibly useful to you.