Advanced Segment Tutorial #1 – Keyword Groups

Michael Wiegand

I’m Michael Wiegand, resident Analytics nerd at Portent.

Let’s be honest: With a slew of new Google Analytics features being launched every 6-12 months, it can make your head spin just keeping up, let alone finding a practical application for them.
In this monthly series, I’ll tackle making sense of one of the more powerful new features – Advanced Segments.

Advanced Segments are a way to cut your traffic data into very specific slices based on visitor and performance criteria. For example, if you wanted to see information on Returning Visitors who spent more than 5:00 on your site, you could set that up as a segment.

Advanced Segments work using conditional logic. That is, you tell Analytics to look for this keyword OR this keyword AND this medium. If no visits meet your criteria, Analytics will show nothing. So clearly defining your segment is important.
Some of the Advanced Segment tutorials I present here will be basic, others more complicated – but hopefully all of them will help you make better business decisions. And isn’t that the point of Analytics?

In search engine marketing, monitoring performance on keyword groups is vital. Some folks keep track of specific Branded keywords, some non-Branded. Some focus on Paid keywords, others on Non-paid.

Regardless of what you’re after, tracking these few keywords can be a chore. And if you ever loathed sifting through your entire Google Analytics keyword report to find just a few terms, the Advanced Segment feature can help you isolate just the ones you need.
In this example, I’ll use “portent interactive” and “seo campaign” as my target phrases.

Follow along and you’ll learn how to create a new segment for your keyword groups!

The “OR” Statement: Choosing Your Keywords

Start by creating a new Advanced Segment.
You can find the Advanced Segments dropdown in the top right corner of your dashboard.

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Drag the “Keyword” dimension from the list over to the first slot. Choose the matching condition and keyword phrase you’d like to track – in this case, “portent interactive” my Branded target phrase.

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The matching condition can be critical here. “Matches Exactly” yields only the keyword you want (i.e. “portent interactive“).
But if you’re interested in getting groups of keywords revolving around a certain phrase (i.e. “seo campaign” AND “seo campaign costs”, “strategy for an seo campaign“, etc.), try “Contains” instead.

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There are numerous other matching conditions, for those who want to get super fancy with it. They include: ends with, starts with, and even matching to a regular expression.

The “AND” Statement: Choosing Your Medium

Now that we’ve selected our keywords, we’ll have our new segment also look for a specific marketing medium.
Mediums help you identify traffic from a type of marketing effort: Organic keywords, Paid keywords, email campaigns, banner ads, and much more.
In this example, we’re interested in only the keyword traffic from non-paid sources – so we’ll select “organic“.

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The Result: A Less Cluttered Keyword Report

Now the moment of truth has arrived – it’s time to name and test your segment. This ensures that your segment will at least generate data on some visitors.
If it doesn’t, that means the keywords/mediums you’re identifying don’t have any existing traffic in your report and you should choose broader conditions if you hope to get any useful data out of the segment.
Analytics will show you exactly how many visits in your report are triggered by each of the conditions in your segment.
So once you’re certain your segment matches some visits, create and apply it to your report.

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Behold – absolute enlightenment!

Advanced Segment Tutorial

No more digging through a list of all your keywords to find the few you want, or messing with single-use filters that reset as soon as you leave the page. Your keyword reports will now only show the keywords you defined in your segment.
And the greatest thing: The Advanced Segment you just made is re-usable and can be accessed in the future with a single click.

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Tune in next month for the second installment in this series – more useful tips on Advanced Segments in Google Analytics!

Michael Wiegand
Analytics Architect

In 15 years as a marketer, Michael's experience has run the gamut from design, development, direct mail, multivariate testing, print, and search. He now heads Portent's Analytics practice, overseeing everything from Google Tag Management, to CRM integration for closed-loop analytics, to solving ponderous digital marketing questions. Outside of work, he enjoys recording music, playing JRPGs and supporting Seattle Sounders FC.

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