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Segmenting Data using Google Analytics

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 2:00pm Tuesday 25 August 2009    Print Article

One of the most underrated website statistical tools is Google Analytics. Not only is the service free, but many people would not be familiar with the advanced tool set. Google Analytics offers excellent reporting and traffic analysis that can help you assess how well (or bad) your recruitment website is tracking.

Not many recruiters or even job boards could admit to tracking and measuring referral traffic back to their website. However, measuring specific traffic (ie from marketing campaigns, job boards or social media sites) using Google Analytics is not difficult at all.

A segment is a subset of data. In this case, it refers to a subset of visitors whose behavior you would like to see and analyze. The use of advanced segments allows you to further understand, anticipate and react to your visitors by identifying key trends and common behaviors.

Advanced Segmentation is a tool you can use within Google Analytics to slice and dice your data with great precision. If you find that you have a large amount of data but you're having a hard time filtering the information into a report, you can easily create your own segments or use the default segments and apply them to any report instead of creating different filters for each profile.

How do you do this?

In your Google Analytics reports page (or dashboard) you will notice various links titled "Advanced Segments".

By default, when you view a specific report, it defaults to “All Visits” and therefore all traffic will be reported.

If you click on the “Advanced Segments: All Visits” drop down button, it will bring up all your current Advanced Segments.

These are separated into two segments, firstly “Default Segments” and secondly “Custom Segments”, which will start off as blank. You can also click on multiple segments, and the reporting will then be segmented.

You can choose to segment by many different variables. Variables are split into two groups:
  1. Dimensions are the kinds of labels you would see as rows in your reports, such as keyword, landing page, or campaign; and
  2. Metrics are the columns, such as bounce rate, conversions, or time on site. Google Analytics allows you to browse through the list of variables by category or search for something you're looking for.
Let's step through the process of segmenting traffic from two social media sites - Twitter & LinkedIn. You can create a new advanced segment that will be saved for future reporting (see screen shot below).
  1. Under the “Dimensions” column on the left, click “Traffic Sources” and then click and drag the “Source” box into the box to the right that says “dimension or metric”.
  2. Then from the drop down menu that appears for “Condition”, select “Matches Regular Expression”.
  3. In the “Value” box, simply type in the site you wish to track. For example, if you wanted to track LinkedIn traffic, you would type this in ""
  4. Name and save the segment. You can also test the segment to see how many results it will return.
If you want to track multiple sites, or add extra conditions in one custom segment, simply follow the steps outlined above. You can track multiple domains by using the pipe symbol. eg "|"

From your dashboard panel; on the top right, click on the “Advanced Segments: All Visits” drop down button. Then tick the various segments you wish to display. The chart will update to display your segmented data in comparison to your total traffic.

Now you should have no trouble in correctly identifying and measuring the success of your online marketing campaigns.

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Article Tags: google analytics social media job boards website statistics referral sources measuring social media recruitment website job board data segmentation advanced segmentation

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