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Web Analytics Segmentation Tips Cheat Sheet by


With so much raw data, many web analysts look to social media, analytics experts and peer discussion to determine what data can be compiled into meaningful inform­ation. Mastering the art and science of web analytics doesn’t rely on inventing a “god metric” or replic­ating a fancy dashboard. Insights are derived from unders­tanding how to segment your website visitors to tell a story and drive business value.

Here are segmen­tation tips for transf­orming your data into inform­ation.

1. Filter First, Group Second, Then Segment

Web analytics data is vast and overwh­elming, but it’s also prone to insightful error. Since JavaScript is executed client­-side, there isn’t much we can do to fix erroneous values aside from filtering it out. In addition, go beyond the “top 10” and “top 50” lists that don’t change much over time by grouping data before applying segments.

2. Determine Visitor Type Segments

This includes new visitors, prospects, customers, affili­ates, and employees. Different visitor types will behave differ­ently on websites. Customers will behave very differ­ently from new prospects, and employees may skew conversion rates much higher than they actually are.

3. Segment by Traffic Source Type

This includes paid versus organic search, earned social media versus owned social media, internal and external display advert­ising, and affili­ates. Many web analytics solutions will provide a basic breakdown of traffic source reports, but going beyond the three basic types can be difficult without additional tagging.

Some key segments to consider with additional tagging includes earned social media (traffic sources you earn based on people sharing your content) versus owned social media (traffic sources you own such as a YouTube channel or Facebook page); paid versus organic search; and organic referring domains (link building) versus internal referring domains (other websites within your organi­zat­ion).

4. Scrutinize ‘Direct’ Traffic by Using Query

Scru­tinize ‘Direct’ Traffic by Using Query String Parame­ters
Direct traffic gets a lot of unwarr­anted credit as a result of poor tagging. Ensure different sources of traffic including email, social media, redirects and mobile traffic drivers such as QR codes are adequately tagged using query string parameters so that better segmen­tation of direct traffic is possible.

5. Categorize Content by Intention

This includes research, purchase, renew, transact, or recommend. Content is often written with distinct personas in mind, so leverage that same content targeting nomenc­lature for your web analytics reports. Over time, you will be able to optimize user experience to funnel visitors through a logical sales process starting from research, to purchase, to transa­ction and/or renewal, to (hopef­ully) recomm­end­ations.

Segment by Product Type Engage­ment

Segment by Product Type Engagement Using a Meaningful Taxonomy
In much the same way you would segment content by intention, implement tagging that recognizes product placement on pages for added reporting flexib­ility.

7. Integrate Data Sources Across Platforms

Web analytics data that is behavioral in nature should rarely be substi­tuted for transa­ctional data. Integrate data sources to understand the difference between analytics and book of record (accou­nting) inform­ation. Draw conclu­sions based on proxy, but don’t equate the two.

8. Get Closer to the Customer

There is a lot of jargon and scientific nomenc­lature in web analytics reporting that isn’t obvious to business stakeh­olders. Get closer to the customer by implem­enting non-pe­rso­nally identi­fiable customer “keys” that can help turn “unique visitors” into “custo­mers”.

9. Set Targets With Reasoning for Each & Test

Set Targets With Reasoning for Each & Test Your Predic­tions
A good web analyst will be able to predict trends over time based on hypotheses derived from data and even market trends. A great web analyst will log these “guess­tim­ates” with reasoning for each in order to make analysis that much easier come month, quarter, and year-end.

10. Align Segments & Metrics With Business Drivers

Is your business focused on aggressive acquis­ition for key products? Start segmenting your data to include key findings surrou­nding that focus.

Do the recipients of your reports contin­ually ask to delve deeper into customer behavior instead? Shine a spotlight on customer segments over new visitors and prospects.

Aligning with the business equates to careful attention to detail and making your audience apprec­iative of analysis and open to change.

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