I love Advanced Segments so much I thought it was about time I wrote a post about them.

What are Advanced Segments?

Advanced Segments are a way to quickly segment your traffic in Google Analytics. Do you want to see how visitors from Organic Search behave compared to visitors from Paid Search? An Advanced Segment can do that for you, and so many other things.

How to set up an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics

In the top-left of the navigation you should see the “Advanced Segments” button. Click it, and to create a brand new one, click “+New Custom Segment” at the right-hand side. You can also use the pre-set ones on the left-hand side.

I’ll go through some of my favourite Advanced Segments with you now.

1) Brand Traffic vs. Non-Brand Traffic

For this you will need to set up two Advanced Segments in the following format:

Exclude Keyword Containing [Brand Terms] – Non-Brand Traffic

Include Keyword Containing [Branded Terms] – Branded Traffic

If you have a particularly complex Brand name, you may want to consider using “Matching RegExp” rather than “Containing”.

Optional: Add “Include Medium Containing Organic” to just see the behaviours of organic visitors. This can also be done for PPC campaigns.

To compare two or more Advanced Segments side by side, tick the boxes you want to see data for.

What can this be used for?

  • Comparing Average Metrics. Do people who know your name spend longer on the website? Think of ways to increase Time-on-Site for Non-Brand Visitors
  • Search trends – is your brand traffic increasing? Has your non-brand traffic dropped? Where is extra attention required in marketing efforts?
  • Compare Goal Conversion Rates for Brand and Non-Brand visitors. Especially useful if further segmented into Organic/Paid – Determine which kind of visitors need most help to convert, and then find the landing pages that need the most work

2) Keyword Mining

Include Keyword Matching RegExp ^[a-zA-Z0-9\s]*$ – this says “only keywords that are actual words please, no gibberish”


Include Keyword Matching RegExp ^(\w+\s*){1,4}$ – this says “only keywords that are 1-4 words long”. You can change the number yourself, depending on the kinds of keywords you expect


Exclude Keyword Containing [Brand Terms] – For only non-brand keywords


Exclude Keyword Matching RegExp ^.{1,3}?$ – This says “No keywords that are only 1-3 characters long”. This can be omitted or changed, but there’s always someone who finds their way to the site using the term “2”, it’s an easy way to cut out rubbish.

What can this be used for?

Easy access to great keyword data for stuff you might never have thought to target.

Turns this:

Into this:

3) Get awesome ideas for your blog

Out of content ideas? Not to worry! Find ideas by generating a list of questions that people are arriving at your site via!

Include Keyword Matching RegExp .*^who$.*|what|where|when|why|.*^how$.*|does|were|.*^can$.*|difference|would – This statement gives a list of keywords that contain interrogatives such as “who, what, where, when, why, how”.

What can this be used for?

If you can find the questions people are asking to arrive at your site, you can use this to leverage your visitors. Is the answer already on your site? Great! Is it not on your site? Maybe it should be, and you can write some content around it.

Yes, there was an article about what football team you should support on this website. Maybe the next article we write will be about how Compare the Market works…

4) Comparing converting visitors to non-converting visitors

The set-up for this one is a comparison between a default segment (“Visits with Conversions“) and a Custom Segment:

Include Goal Completions Equals 0 – shows only visits from people who didn’t convert

What can this be used for?

Like comparing Brand to non-Brand traffic, comparing the behaviours of converting visitors to non-converting visitors can show you what needs to be concentrated on to help someone along the conversion path.

  • What kind of browser are they using? Are there some browsers that have a high number of non-converters? Examine this browser and find what it is that’s affecting this statistic.
  • Are they using site search? If a high number of site search users convert, this could be used to build a case for increasing the prominence and functionality of the site search.
  • Are they using mobile? If conversions are low on mobile, it might be worth building a mobile site

What are your favourite Advanced segments? Let us know!

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