3 Awesome Ecommerce Custom Segments for Google Analytics

Before joining SwellPath, I knew a bit about analytics from my old digital agency, I was actually one of the best at it there. But, after coming to a true analytics agency, I realized how much I really did NOT know. One of the first things the analysts here showed me was that unless you are making your own custom segments, you will never be able to do a dive deep into the web data and find true insights about the visitors looking at your website.

There are plenty of posts on what custom segments are and how to use them, so I’m not going to go over a tutorial on that, but what I’m going to show you are 3 practical custom segments for Google Analytics* that you can use for your online store.

NOTE: If you are using another analytics platform that has the ability to segment besides Google Analytics, you can still use these as well, but you will have to figure out the syntax on your own.

Awesome Ecommerce Custom Segment #1 – True Mobile Email Visits

Mobile…it’s kind of a big deal. With literally everyone and their mother with iPhone and Android smart phones, more and more visitors are coming through these devices to your site . What you might not realize is that a large proportion of them are coming through because of your email campaigns. I know, crazy right? People reading their emails on their phone, no one does that. What’s funny is that a lot of ecommerce stores I talk to have no idea how many of these types of mobile visitors are coming to their website, and have no insight into what their web behaviors are. What I even find more disturbing is that they are often thinking that their email campaigns are tanking, but in fact they are doing quite well…for people who are clicking through on their laptop or tablet. So how can we find out? Custom segments of course! First, I’m making it very easy for you folks who have Google Analytics, just make sure you are logged in to your GA account and then click this link —-> Mobile Email Visits Custom Segment. Presto, you now will be able to use this segment right away and can see how I made it as well. Now that you have the segment in your account you can also copy and edit it. Try changing the option form “incude” to “exclude”, and look at your email campaign reports, you’ll be amazed at the differences in your email performance in terms of site engagement and conversion.

I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent here, so my apologies in advance.

NOTE: If you are currently using the premade GA advanced segment “mobile visitors” please realize that you are getting a very distorted view of your “mobile” users behavior. This segment lumps visitors on mobile phones and tablets together. Some people might disagree with me, but personally, I don’t feel tablets are mobile devices and it is a mistake for them to be put under the same category as smart phones. These 2 types of devices provide completely different user experiences. Honestly, I find a tablet more in common with my laptop than my phone. I never see people on the train or bus looking at their tablet, it’s always their phone. A smart phone requires surgeon hands to navigate non-optimized websites and the Hulk could easily check out his favorite Reddit posts on a tablet (The Avengers is awesome by the way!). Again my apologies for the rant, it’s just how I feel and I think that segment in Google Analytics is very deceiving.

Awesome Ecommerce Custom Segment #2 – Non-Branded Search Visitors who Buy your Stuff

For those of you who know this one already, my apologies, but it really is one of the best custom segments out there at measuring the effectiveness of your organic and paid search efforts. Often people like to make this segment and lump all conversions, which is great, Avinash is right, micro transactions should not be ignored. Since most Boss people are bottom line folks, let’s have a segment that measures true ROI for your inbound marketing channels to make them happy.

Setting this one up is tricky and will require some work form your end, and this Non-Branded Search Visitors Who Buy Stuff segment won’t work without some tweaking on your end. I’ve tried to annoatate it as best as I could, so once you load into your GA account, please input the correct letters in the right places and you should be on your way. Please note that this is just for your company name, really basic (doesn’t cover mis-spellings) and uses regular expression terms. If you don’t know what regular expressions are, I suggest reading up on it ( It’s very geeky, but once you get it, you can do some really amazing stuff.

Now, with a little elbow grease, you should see what non-branded terms are driving revenue to your store. Also, you should be able to ask deeper questions about your non-branded campaigns and what keywords and campaigns are performing in terms of the bottom line and not just conversions. (NOTE: Google Analytics information is always different than what Ad Words is, so the numbers will be a little different, so please pay attention to the keywords and not the discrepancies in numbers). Remeber, feel free to copy and edit these segments, as this is another one to switch around the “include & exclude” feature to see for example; non-branded visitors who did NOT purchase. Some primer questions you can ask yourself when you’re looking at the data:

  • What pages are receiving the majority of traffic?
  • Does one page have a much higher traffic amount and exit rate than another?
  • Are there consistent winners and losers month over month?

TIP: Look at the pages report in site content and look at the exit rates. You can easily tell leaks for people not familiar with your brand by which types of pages are causing them to leave. Also, make some time to go through every report in GA with these segments, because there are all kinds of goodies in the data you could find.

Awesome Ecommerce Custom Segment #3 – Visitors from Transactional Emails

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last 4 years, I’m hoping that you know what a transactional email is. If you are responsible for an ecommerce store and do not have a transactional email strategy, please contact Alex Williams over at Trendline Interactive, so you can stop leaving easy money on the table. For those of you who have a nice transactional email strategy; are you remembering to put proper campaign tracking on all of your links? This is very important, as this segment relies on you making sure you are tagging your marketing channels appropriately.

If you don’t know how to track campaigns in GA, here’s Google’s tool ( Here’s a text example for you on what this tag should look like:

After you have tagged all of the links on your transactional emails (easier said than done), you can create custom segments around these audiences. I’m just going to give you a simple custom segment for transactional email, but hopefully you should be able to take it from there and create some really cool segments yourself.

TIP: One of the first things you should look at is your campaign report and see what transactional emails are driving the most visits and conversions. After that, have fun, see if there are certain geographic locations or products that are pushing revenue more than others. It’s really surprising how transactional emails done right, can bring in a consistent revenue month over month.

This is just the beginning of the adventures you can have with custom segments. I hope these are a good starting place for you, and help you find answers to some of those tough questions that come down from the top. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, and please feel free to share any custom segments you have made.

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13 Responses to “3 Awesome Ecommerce Custom Segments for Google Analytics”

  1. Mike Arnesen

    Yep, I agree that a tablet is definitely not a mobile device, at least when it comes to how a visitor is going to interact with a site. Also, the Avengers IS awesome.

    Regarding RegEx (one of my favorite things ever), this site was my go to back when I was learning it – Highly recommended. Also, there’s a novelty Twitter account that followed me called @RegExMe that responds with a RegEx of your name if you tweet to them. Useful? Maybe.


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