Avoiding the aggregate with segmentation

April 8, 2015 | By

Avoiding the Aggregate With Segmentation

Segmentation in digital analytics is nothing new. For years, perhaps the most-loved feature in Google Analytics has been “advanced segments” (now just “segments”), which allow you to create a seemingly unlimited number of simple-to-very-complex user segments. With these segments you are able to view any report as it applies to these sets of users.

This is great. It’s exactly what you want to be doing in digital analytics. If I were asked to name some always-important topics for digital analytics professionals, the first two that come to mind might be:

1. User intent
2. Content intent

By focusing on the intent of your users, and the function of your pages (Gary Angel put it best in a white paper titled “Functionalism in Web Analytics” long ago), you ensure less time is wasted analyzing users or content at the aggregate level. The aggregate: where vanity metrics abound, where data are blurry and where analyses are just not very actionable. Making good use of segmentation (whether intent-based or other) in your analyses helps you to avoid the aggregate.

Don’t let your segmentation cease to be
As much as I love creating and using advanced segments in Google Analytics, it can be easy for some of that great segmentation to end there, on your analytics platform. Even if the segmentation doesn’t end there, challenges arise when there’s too much time in between insight and action (as I noted in my last post).

Consider all you know about your visitors… in particular, the segments you’ve placed them in. You probably have anywhere from a few segments to dozens of segments you would consider to be important, if not critical, to understanding your data. If the segments help you understand your data, they should probably also be used to interact with your visitors, your users, your customers! But don’t grow this at home, folks. Part of why I’m here is to tell you about one solution in particular that can help.

Enhance your analytics segmentation
No matter which of the several great analytics vendors you’re entrenched with, there are limitations with your analytics segmentation. The segmentation is performed based on the data you pass into the system, and even when data are passed into the system they aren’t always available in ways you might expect. For example: using metrics, even composite metrics or scores, tends to be less possible than you might like. Applying interest-based segmentation based on the top product category browsed, or top content type consumed by that individual? Also not easy.

Where GA is extremely flexible and sophisticated, there are others that fall short. Even GA falls short in these areas of context-based and behavior-based segmentation.

By using a platform like BlueConic in conjunction with your digital analytics platform, you’ll be able to create more robust segments on the analytics side. While you’re sending segmentation details and user profile properties out of BlueConic into your digital analytics platform, you can also set up segments in BlueConic to mirror your important segments that may have previously “ended” in analytics. From there, interacting with your users based on all of your segmentation efforts is just clicks away.

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