Analytics & Marketing Insights

Instant Segments Using Google Analytics Advanced Segments

February 27, 2009           Analytics, Google Analytics

In contrast to filters and multiple profiles, which also allow you to segment your analytics, advanced segments are instantaneous and can often accomplish much of the more basic filters that you’d want to create. The segments you create are available in all reporting areas of Google Analytics.

Let’s say that you want to only view visits from the United States. At the top right of your dashboard, click the dropdown next to ‘Advanced Segments’ and then click on ‘Create a new advanced segment.’ From there, it’s easy; just create a new custom segment with a dimension of ‘Country/Territory’ that matches ‘United States.’ You can click the ‘Test Segment’ to determine if it is properly working. Don’t forget to name your segment so that you can refer to it later.

Advanced User Segments - USA Only

To apply this segment, at the top right of each report, just click the drop down next to ‘Advanced Segments’ and apply your new ‘USA Only’ segment. You’ll be able to apply this segment to ecommerce, visitor data, goals, traffic sources, and much more. This is a quick, fast, and effective segmentation that can really pay off in helping you understand how your USA visitors interact with your site. You could also create a non-USA segment by creating a new segment with a ‘Country/Territory’ that ‘Does not match exactly’ the value of ‘United States’.

Below is an example of a graph showing all visits compared to USA-Only visitors.

Advanced User Segments - USA Graph

If you use the _setVar() function, those values get placed into the Visitors > User Defined Value dimension. You can use this value to quickly create a segment. Let’s say you only want to see how logged in members behave on your site. Just use the pageTracker._setVar(‘Member’); in your javascript on the login success page and then setup your segment as pictured below.

Advanced User Segments - Member

Another informative segment idea is to create a filter called ‘High Engagement Visitor’. Use the Visitors > Page Depth with a condition of ‘Greater than’ and a value of 3 or whatever you determine a high engagement visitor is. Now you have instant statistics on how this select group of users behave.

Advanced User Segment - High Engagement

The possibilities are endless. Keep in mind that you can also use metrics such as goals and ecommerce data to create more detailed segments. Blend the dimensions and the metrics and you can come up with some very helpful segments.

The advantage of using these advanced segments is that you don’t have to wait for a custom filter to kick in and you don’t need to create a new profile (something you should definitely do if you are creating a custom filter – so that you don’t mess up your main profile).

The custom segments you create are tied to your analytics login and you can apply them to any account or profile. Keep in mind that any segment that you create is not going to be visible by a user with a different login (even though they can view the same profile/account). This is because the segment is tied to your login and not to accounts/profiles.

If you have other Google Analytics advanced segment ideas to share that may benefit our readers, please feel free to leave a comment.


  • Thanks for the info on GI. I’ve been using GI for 2 years but didn’t realise it has so powerful tracking system.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Joe.
    Curious if you or your team has used Excellent Analytics to pull your GA data into Excel.

    I’ve been playing around with it a bit, but am having a challenge pulling out some of the segments I would like to see.

  • Joe

    Hi Matt,

    Yes, we’ve used Excellent Analytics GA plugin for Excel. It would be great if they extended the plugin to pull in your account’s advanced segments and then let you apply it to your query. What kind of segments are you attempting to grab? Email me at joe at

  • I’ve been playing around with it a bit, but am having a challenge pulling out some of the segments I would like to see.

  • Great advice for the novice user who still logs into G.A. to check these reports. The next step would be using an API to pull the data faster, and sort it by any metric they desire. For the average small business owner who wheres many hats, this can be cumbersome and confusing. makes the reports easy to understand, and saves small business owners hours of time.

    Thanks, Chad

  • Mike_sullivan

    A great tool for the small business owner looking to simplify the reporting process is Next Analytics for Excel – it uses the API to pull the data automatically and they give away over 40 Excel dashboard reports with the product.

  • You could also create a non-USA segment by creating a new segment with a ‘Country/Territory’ that ‘Does not match exactly’ the value of ‘United States’.


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