New Visitor Segments in Google Analytics

If you have had the chance to dig into the Google Analytics updates, you’ve likely noticed quite a few changes. The structure of Standard Reports has changed, and several new reports and dimensions were added.

This recent change in the GA dashboard appears to target marketers and bring conversions to the forefront. Reports are now organized with a focus on business goals — Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. This is a huge improvement that replaces a number of custom reports I was using.

The recent updates feature stronger conversion tracking and improved segmentation options, with built in and custom segments. Many who use analytics know that the really meaningful insights come when you begin using custom reports and segmentation, together. Thankfully, the ability to dig into the characteristics (dimensions) of your visitors is enhanced by the new structure of custom segments.

However, it’s difficult to realize the power of custom segments if you don’t know how to use them. This post provides guidance for exploring and using the new segmentation.

Initiate your segmentation exploration by —

Comparing Segments.

When viewing your Standard Reports, you will see a new area that looks like this:

Google Analytics Segmentation

In this view, GA is displaying results for “All Visits.” Understanding your site activity in aggregate (“All Visits”) is helpful, but let’s dig deeper. With the new segmentation tool, you can look at the performance of specific segments or compare segments. It’s possible to compare up to four segments.

To get started, select the down arrow next to the “All Visits” segment. Once selected, a view of built-in segments is displayed:

Google Analytics Built-In Segments

By default, Google provides a collection segments to get you started.

To provide you with a better understanding of how you might apply these new segments, I put together an example.

I created a custom report, that explores the following metrics:

  • Unique Visitors
  • Bounce Rate
  • Avg. Time on Page
  • % New Visits
  • Conversion Rate

To get a look at how some of my sources are performing, I’ve decided to compare these segments:

  • All Visitors
  • Search Traffic
  • Paid Search Traffic

Note: These three segments are part of the built-in segments that Google provides.

source comparison


With this comparison, I can assess how both Organic and Paid Search are performing against one another and against overall performance. The data provides me the following information:

  • Paid Search drives slightly more New Visits
  • Paid Search has the highest bounce rate
  • Visitors from Paid Search remain on the site the longest
  • Organic Search has the highest conversion rate

Using segmentation provides some context  to your reporting and is more actionable. Since I can see that Organic has a stronger conversion rate than Paid Search, and Paid Search has the highest bounce rate, weaknesses in my Paid Search campaigns are revealed.

To remedy the less-than-ideal performance, I could dig into page performance for Paid Search and begin to optimize the pages that aren’t performing well.

This is just one example of how to compare these segments. I suggest spending some serious time playing around and see what you find.

If you begin to explore the built-in segments and you don’t find what you need, there are other options. The first is to…

Build Your Segment Library

Google Segment Gallery

Google has created a gallery where their team and other analytics gurus have contributed more segments. This library is huge and is a wonderful resource. To explore the gallery choose “Import from Gallery.” Here you will find pre-built custom reports and segments from the Google Analytics team and other search experts.

I suggest importing the collection created by Avinash Kaushik, titled “Occam’s Razor Awesomeness” It provides a good mix of segments and reports to be used for both SEO and Paid Search analysis.


There are more ways to use the new segments tool. In my next post, I will describe how to create your own custom segments that you can use in your reporting or maybe even share with the gallery!