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Why you need to learn how to do sequential segmentation in Google Analytics

I have to admit, when Google Analytics began rolling out the new UI for Advanced Segments, I wasn’t blown away.

It seemed very centred around the novice user; built-in segments and custom segments cluttered together, grid view that makes it harder to find the segment you want, easy templates for segment creation.

I understand why they’ve changed it in this way and it’s a great introduction into the world of segmentation for the majority of Analytics users, which can only be a good thing but it didn’t get me very excited.

But then…what’s this?

Sequential segmentation?

I take back what I thought! This is fantastic!

Sequential segmentation is the one feature I’ve been crying out for years and I’ll tell you why.

When analysing how users are engaging with a website, you want to see how specific actions affect conversion.

For example, when pushing users who land on page A to click through to page B, naturally you will want to analyse the impact on conversion.

Previously, we’d not been able to get this data – at least, not very easily or accurately.

What did we do before Google Analytics released Sequential Segmentation?

You could use conditional segmentation and build a segment of users who land on page A, AND view page B, but this isn’t exactly what you’re after as it also includes users who make it to page B in an indirect way.

A particular gripe of mine has been accurately analysing how users navigate to a product page and the effect it has on conversion.
Do users who navigate from the homepage straight to a promoted product convert better than users who navigate to products from the category page?

It was impossible to tell!

Furthermore, you couldn’t find how many users went from a group of pages (categories) to a group of pages (products) – ie, RegEx to RegEx.

However, all that has now changed (what a relief!).

Introducing sequential segmentation:

why sequential segmentation is important

This is my new favourite feature for a number of reasons:

  • We can find the users who performed action A followed by action B, either directly or indirectly.
  • You can layer multiple sequences.
  • You can layer everything with conditional segmentation.

The end result is a level of granularity previously unattainable through GA, to allow for an even greater understanding of how very specific groups of users are engaging with your website.

By identifying what key actions are aiding (or hindering) conversions, this provides further knowledge to accurately base a testing strategy upon …which can only help the end result – more conversions.

Thanks Google! I look forward to featuring next new favourite feature.

Written by Mark Richards


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