The truth lies far beneath the surface. What I mean here is that you really have to dig deep in your data to find the golden nuggets. I always get a bad feeling when people talk about average bounce rate or average conversion rate. These numbers don’t say much; you are getting somewhere if you can relate them to a certain segment. In this post I will reveal three powerful segments in Google Analytics and how you can use them to increase the ROI of your analysis and business. Google Analytics Demo Account so that you can easily follow along.
Segment 1: Device CategoryA few weeks ago I was approached by the owner of a mid-sized e-commerce store. He had just finished his first analysis in Google Analytics. This was his conclusive statement: “All my visitors are leaving the website on the cart page, so I really need to optimize this page.” After a short chat on Skype it turned out that he didn’t do any segmentation at all. It’s usually the case that a certain group of visitors is performing well and a different group is performing less. After investigating it further, I could simply conclude that the cart page wasn’t optimized for mobile visitors. Both the data and my on-site experience clearly pointed in that direction. Learning: you can’t ignore the device and intent of your visitor when trying to optimize the ROI of your business.
Device Type – Overall ReportLet’s look into an example. Here is the standard “device type” report, focus on behavioral and conversion metrics of Google Merchandise Store: The results indicate that:
- Desktop is by far the largest segment and tablet is very small.
- Most metrics are in the same range for the different devices, a few exceptions:
- Visitors consume relatively a lot of pages and stay longer on the site on tablet devices.
- E-commerce conversion rate is dramatically low on mobile devices.
Device Type – Segmenting Your AudienceI have selected three segments here. Please note that both the “mobile traffic” and “tablet traffic” segment are available in the “system segments” section. You have to create the “desktop traffic” segment by yourself. I recommend to save this desktop segment to all the views you have access to! Selecting six months of data makes it more easy to spot trends: As you can see, the tablet Conversion Rate in August was very high compared to earlier this year. This is one of the powerful ways to derive powerful insights directly in Google Analytics. In addition you can use these segments in almost any report (funnels are the exception) in Google Analytics. A more advanced analysis could look like this: Here is how I created this view:
- Select the three segments Desktop, Mobile and Tablet.
- Navigate to “landing page” report (Behavior >> Site Content >> Landing Pages).
- Select “Landing Content Group” Product Categories.
- Filter out (not set) entrances via Advanced Filter.
- Key metrics for visitors that enter your site on a product category page, their behavior and conversion rate.
- The percentage of entrances for each of your categories and the conversion rate (including other stats) per device.
Next StepUnfortunately Google Analytics doesn’t record cross device behavior on default (user ID implementation is required). The Device Overlap report shown above is very interesting and helps to find out whether non-converting mobile visitors convert on desktop (or tablet) later. In addition I recommend to run a survey to find out how many devices are used by visitors (that buy) on your site. So you can get a better idea about the purchase journey on your website and how many devices are used. These insights are very useful for setting up and intepreting (A/B) tests later! In short, there is a ton of insight to be gained if you ask yourself the right questions and use the data in a smarter way.
Segment 2: GeographyThis segment is very useful if you run an international business or help clients that do business internationally. Navigate to the Location report (Audience >> Geo >> Location) first. At a glance you can see that:
- 90% of the transactions come from the US; conversion rate is far above “average”.
- Canada is the second country in the top 10 based on e-commerce conversion rate.
- Most other countries do zero or near zero sales.
- Find out the reasons why these other countries send so much non-converting traffic. Is it because of shipping legislations (only to US?) or other reasons?
- Set up a segment that only includes US (and maybe Canadian and/or some other countries) traffic so that my conversion rate is a valid number to try to further optimize.
- Cultural barriers / reasons to not buy your product.
- Language issues; do you need a German, Spanish etc. version of your site?
- Budget reasons; are your products too high priced for certain markets/countries?
Segment 3: Visitor TypeYou might have heard people saying: “The new visitor report information is not completely accurate, because of…”. And I can only agree with that. The numbers are less accurate than they used to be. One of major reasons is that visitors use multiple devices and browsers to access your site. And the number of different devices used keeps on growing. Here is the data for one of my websites (segment = direct traffic): In a period of two years, you can see a steady climb in new session percentage. You will probably find similar numbers in your account if you make this visualization based on your numbers. Why is it still useful then? Data analysis is all about trends, analyzing historical data and predicting the future. We still know how specific segments of visitors behave compared to each other although the individual numbers might not be fully accurate. Here is an example: Here is what we can see:
- 78% of the sessions come from new visitors.
- 71% of the revenue comes from returning visitors (!)
- E-commerce conversion rate of returning visitors is six times higher than the CR of new visitors.
- Who are these new visitors and why do they convert so badly?
- What can we do to increase the percentage of new visitors to convert?
- Which channels drive the most new and returning visitors (dig deeper again!)?
- Can we use smart discounts or other options to convert more first time visitors?
- Don’t pay attention to the exact numbers and ratios, but spot trends, differences and insights will be uncovered.
- Don’t overlook micro goals in this context.
- Email signups are great in every industry so do your best to convert as many first time visitors to a subscriber during their first visit.
- Keep on testing to increase the conversion rates of your business.