Now that we know what Urchin 7 is about—and it’s performance gains—it’s time to start looking at it’s new features. The first one, and probably the biggest, is the introduction of Advanced Segments. This feature has been available in GA for quite some time, and now, it’s available in Urchin so you can begin making your way from Analytics Squirrel to Analytics Ninja!
What Are Advanced Segments?
Advanced segments allow you to focus on a particular set of visits and/or visitors that meet certain criteria. The criteria used for filtering are dimensions and metrics. For example, you could create an advanced segment for visitors who came in via Google organic and who viewed at least 5 pages on your site. You could then apply this segment to a number of reports, and get the data from only that segment of visitors. With normal cross-segmentation you would only be able to segment by visitors that came in via Google organic. But with advanced segments, you can target your visitors that meet both criteria.
Creating Advanced Segments
Creating advanced segments is a very simple process. Here are the steps to create an advanced segment for visitors who viewed more than 3 pages:
- View the profile you want to create the advanced segment for
- Click on “Advanced Segments” under “My Customizations” in the left side bar
- Click “Create new custom segment”
- Give the segment a name.
- Select the dimension or metric you wish to filter on. In my case, it would be “pages”
- Select the condition. Some of the conditions you can use are “matches”, “does not match”, “equals” and “greater than”. Note that “matches” and “does not match” allows for regular expressions
- Lastly, enter the value and hit “Save”
You’ll then be able to go into a report and apply the advanced segment.
The Ups =)
With advanced segments, Urchin 7 allows you to dive deep into your analytics data. With segmentation, you can easily create your own segments of visitors and see which segment performs best at converting, or which segment performs poorly. Out of the box, Urchin 7 has the following built-in segments:
- New visitors
- Returning visitors
- Paid Search Traffic
- Non-paid Search Traffic
- Search Traffic
- Direct Traffic
- Referral Traffic
- Visits from iPhones
One unexpected benefit during the upgrade process from Urchin 6 to 7 was that these default segments worked immediately. There was no need to re-process my historical data to get these segments working. Of course, any new segments you create may require you to re-process your data for the segment to work.
The Downs =(
The release of advanced segments is great, and a long-awaited feature. However, the first crack at advanced segments does have a few downsides. The first of these is that it does not support segmentation of paths, transactions and transaction items. This means that although you’ll see the advanced segment option in a report, it does not necessarily work the way you want. For example, the “Top Content” report does support advanced segments. However, applying an advanced segment does not work quite the way one would expect.
As you can see in the screen shot, the total numbers in the report include only those that are new visitors. But, instead of seeing the individual metrics for each page new visitors had visited, you only get one generic “(no data)” entry. Similar behaviour will appear in reports related to transactions as well.
Another slightly discouraging downside is that you cannot apply multiple segments to one report and compare the segments. Having this would be hugely beneficial, as the only way to do the comparison currently would be to export the data for one segment, export the data for the other segment, then do the comparison in a third-party tool.
The last downside is that advanced segments only allow you to use boolean “and” logic. You cannot use “or” logic. Now, most of the time, report users will want to use “or” logic within the same dimension (ie. visitors who came in via this or this campaign). And these types of segments can easily be created within the regular expression. But for those segments where you want to “or” different criteria or segments together, you just won’t be able to do it.
Stay tuned for the next installment in the series: 7 Days of Urchin 7: Day 5 – Event Tracking
If you would like to read more about Urchin 7, please visit http://www.google.com/urchin.