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Google Analytics Tips
Illustration by Richard Downs

Google Analytics Tips

with Corey Koberg

Video: Part two: Why nearly everyone gets segmentation wrong

- In part one, the previous video, we looked at some of the use cases that both Google and I believe are tripping folks up who are using the new more powerful segmentation tools. We learned that Google actually applies a completely different set of logic for the new way, the user segments, and the old way, the session-based segments. We are going to continue from where we left off, with more of those use cases, but now we'll start to examine what happens when we mix and match those user and session-based segments in one. So here's what I mean by that. We have two conditions stacked, and one of them is a session-based segment, as you can see from the drop-down here for sessions, and one of them is a user-based segment, and both conditions are going to be applied to determine who is in the segment.
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  1. 8m 17s
    1. Part two: Why nearly everyone gets segmentation wrong
      8m 17s
  2. 54s
    1. Welcome to the series
      54s
  3. 17m 8s
    1. How Google Analytics accounts, properties, and views are structured
      6m 36s
    2. User management: 2013 update
      6m 19s
    3. Best practices for user management
      4m 13s
  4. 20m 49s
    1. Installing Google Analytics on WordPress
      8m 28s
    2. Google Analytics debugging and troubleshooting: The basics
      6m 10s
    3. Google Analytics debugging and troubleshooting: With a tag management system (TMS)
      6m 11s
  5. 23m 58s
    1. Demographics
      6m 45s
    2. Interest categories
      5m 26s
    3. Enabling Audience reports and understanding where the data comes from
      11m 47s
  6. 26m 37s
    1. Intro and built-in segments
      14m 57s
    2. Custom segments via the Segment Builder
      11m 40s
  7. 12m 25s
    1. User Segments: A huge improvement
      6m 23s
    2. Advanced Topic: Sequenced Segments
      6m 2s
  8. 27m 8s
    1. Cohort analysis now built into Google Analytics
      8m 22s
    2. Permanent filters and removing internal traffic
      8m 19s
    3. Filters everyone should use to get clean data
      10m 27s
  9. 13m 25s
    1. Using an advanced filter to get accurate information on subdomains
      7m 20s
    2. When to use a segment vs. a filter
      6m 5s
  10. 18m 0s
    1. Finding my most valuable customers
      9m 54s
    2. Making Adwords work smarter and more profitably
      8m 6s
  11. 15m 20s
    1. What is Google’s Universal Analytics?
      7m 7s
    2. Upgrading from Classic to Universal Analytics
      8m 13s
  12. 7m 11s
    1. Test driving the API in 5 minutes
      7m 11s
  13. 14m 16s
    1. Migrating Custom Variables to Custom Dimensions
      14m 16s
  14. 4m 5s
    1. Creating a Custom Report in 30 seconds
      4m 5s
  15. 5m 41s
    1. Five Time zone tips to save your data
      5m 41s
  16. 9m 56s
    1. Importing data with Custom Data Import
      9m 56s
  17. 6m 29s
    1. Query string parameters
      6m 29s
  18. 17m 17s
    1. YouTube videos
      9m 3s
    2. Local visitor time zones
      8m 14s
  19. 7m 18s
    1. R Programming and Google Analytics
      7m 18s
  20. 10m 59s
    1. Part one: Why nearly everyone gets segmentation wrong
      10m 59s

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Google Analytics Tips
4h 27m Intermediate Dec 04, 2013 Updated Sep 10, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Get a new Google Analytics tip every other week from online marketing expert Corey Koberg. Most users unlock just a fraction of the power that Google Analytics offers, so in this course Corey exposes tips and tricks to unlock insights into one of the most sophisticated tools in the marketer or site owner's arsenal. He offers peeks into the latest power features, advice for deeply mining your digital data, and actions you can take to optimize your site for both traffic and conversions. Corey answers common questions about online marketing and web analytics, including installation, tag management, reporting, custom variables/dimensions, attribution modeling, segmentation, multichannel funnels, data accuracy, visualizations, Universal Analytics, and more. What's more, Corey welcomes your questions and will shape future videos based on member requests, so send them to us at feedback@lynda.com.

Subjects:
Marketing Analytics
Software:
Google Analytics
Author:
Corey Koberg

Part two: Why nearly everyone gets segmentation wrong

- In part one, the previous video, we looked at some of the use cases that both Google and I believe are tripping folks up who are using the new more powerful segmentation tools. We learned that Google actually applies a completely different set of logic for the new way, the user segments, and the old way, the session-based segments. We are going to continue from where we left off, with more of those use cases, but now we'll start to examine what happens when we mix and match those user and session-based segments in one. So here's what I mean by that. We have two conditions stacked, and one of them is a session-based segment, as you can see from the drop-down here for sessions, and one of them is a user-based segment, and both conditions are going to be applied to determine who is in the segment.

So the key thing to remember here is that first the users are going to be filtered, and then those who make it past that first round have the session-based conditions applied, and the result of that sequence is who makes it into the final segment. Order does not matter. You can see here that I have the session-based filter here on top, and so it's first, but that makes absolutely no difference to Google. They are always going to filter the users first and then the sessions, to see who makes it inside the segment. So, let's take a look at a real world example of how that gets evaluated inside of Google Analytics.

So, first we have a session filter that checks to make sure the visitor's country for that session matches the United States and includes those sessions. We also have a user filter that checks to see that the overall revenue for the user is over $100. But remember, as we just said, it won't evaluate in that order. It's going to take the user condition first. So, below I have this graphic that represents three users, Alice, Bob, and Charlie, and they have one or more sessions that belong to them, which are the rectangles. Now, inside those sessions, we have individual hits, including some transactions that have dollar values associated.

The country for each session is indicated here on the right. So first, we need to figure out which of these are going to match the user condition of over $100. For Alice, neither session is over $100, but combined together they are, so she meets the user condition. Now user Bob has only a single session, which is $250, so he, of course, qualifies for the user portion. Next, Charlie doesn't add up to over $100, so he doesn't pass the user test, and he stops right there.

Now, next we take those who made it past this user filter, and we run them through the session filter. Alice's first session doesn't make it, because that one is going to be from Canada, so it doesn't match the country, but the second one does. Now, Bob's single session is from Germany, so he's not included either, and Charlie, well Charlie's first session is from the U.S., but that doesn't even matter, because he didn't even make it to this round of considerations, since he was eliminated at the user stage previously. All of his sessions at this point are irrelevant and not even in the discussion.

So the question now is, if we were to look at the total revenue of the segment and the total number of hits, question up here in the top right, what would they be? Well, we have just one user, Alice, who made it through both the user and session filters, but even though there's a revenue per user filter applied, which can account all of the revenue, we then applied the session filter, which cut out the sessions that didn't match that second condition. So the revenue from the Canada visit will not make it into this segment. So, what you're going to end up with is a result that baffles many people.

You're going to have a total revenue of $80, because we're just going to count what's in this second session down here. Now what's really confusing about this is you have a segment that's going to have overall $80, so less revenue than the requirement to even be in the segment in the first place, which was over $100. But see, that's because the user, Alice, did have over $100, and that's true, and that's what got her to the second round, but the overall segment is going to only include the $80 transaction, so that's what's going to be displayed when we ask for the total revenue of the segment.

This has tripped up many folks for sure. So, let's just keep going with some other examples, and we'll come back to some similar questions. So rather than having two conditions, where one is a user and one is a session, here we've got a single condition, and it's got both a user portion and a session metric. Now, we're going to set this top part here to filter and include users, but it's going to be based on that session metric, which in this case is the duration of the visit. So, here we're specifically looking for users who have sessions that are over five minutes in length, which is 300 seconds.

Now for Alice, she has the two sessions, one of which is over 300 seconds and one of which isn't, but remember from the part one video, we're simply looking for the existence of the condition. In this case, there is, in fact, a session over 300 seconds for this user, so Alice is in. Now Bob has a session over 400, so, of course, he's in. Charlie has two sessions which combined are over 300, but we're looking for a user who has a session over 300. He doesn't have a session over 300, so he's not going to be included.

So, based on the one we just looked at prior, you might be inclined to think that the total revenue for this segment is going to add up the green sessions here, so $20, but it's not. It's actually $30, because remember, we're not running a two-stage filter here, where we look for users and then strip back the sessions. We are including all users and all of their properties if even one of their sessions is going to match. So even though that first session up here, the one with $10, didn't match, it belongs to a user who eventually passed the test.

So, it's going to get included as well. Now, this is a critical difference from the previous, so feel free to back up and revisit that last example, if this isn't totally clear. Perhaps it will make it a little clearer by way of this next example that's going to eliminate sessions in the condition entirely. It's just going to look to include users who have a hit that is over $50. In this case, we're looking at product revenue, which is a hit-level metric in the new enhanced ecommerce as a part of universal analytics. So, in Alice's case, she has two sessions, and the first session has two ecommerce hits.

Now the session is well over $50, but that's not the requirement. The requirement is that the user has to have a hit that is over $50, and neither of her first or second sessions qualify, even though it has $70 total. So, Alice is out. Now Bob has a $75 product hit, so he's in. Charlie also has a $55 hit, so he's in. So the question here is, what is the total revenue of the segment? Total revenue is not just the hits over $50 that are going to be included, but all of the hits for the users who pass the test by having the existence of one hit over $50 attributed to them.

Once you're in the club, it all counts. So, in this case, we're going to have $170, because we're going to include all of the hits from Bob and Charlie, not just the ones over $50. One last example here, we're going to revisit the exclude filters from the videos in part one, but we're going to see how they apply here a little bit differently. So, we've got almost the same condition as last time, product revenue hits over $50, but instead of including these in the segment, we're going to exclude them. So, in this case, Alice does have the existence of a hit that is over $50, but we're excluding, so she's going to be out of the segment.

Now Bob adds up to over $50 as a user, but that's not what matters. He doesn't have a single hit over $50, so he's in the clear and passes the test. Charlie also has a number of transactions, and altogether they're over $50, but there's not the existence of one that is over $50, so he is not going to be excluded, and he will, therefore, be in the segment. Now again, the key here is that we're not just excluding the one $55 hit from Alice that's over 50, we're excluding Alice herself and everything that goes along with her.

So, these are pretty tricky examples, and they can sometimes cause confusion, but if you follow the process of users first and then sessions, when you have multiple conditions, and make sure you're asking yourself that existence question, you can ensure you understand both what Google Analytics is showing you and also how to accurately create the segment conditions that you're trying to achieve. As always, I look forward to your feedback and questions.

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