Filter Data in Google Analytics 4 with Segments
Google Analytics needs no introduction. It has been providing detailed statistics about visitors to websites and mobile apps for more than a decade. In late 2020, Google launched Google Analytics 4 (GA4) with new features. This also included superior segmentation capabilities allowing us to easily create Google Analytics 4 segments from our data and focus our analysis on specific groups of visitors.
In this post we’ll deep dive into how we can apply simple filters to dimensions and metrics, explore session, user, event data, and use comparisons to evaluate subsets of data. Let’s begin!
Google Analytics 4 Segment Types
Previously, in Universal Analytics, there were two options (user and session segments). In GA4 we also have an additional 3rd option i.e. event segments. So, a total of 3 segment types –
User segments – groups of people (users) who engage with your site or app. For example, they may be previous purchasers, shoppers who added an item to their cart, but did not complete a purchase.
Session segments – a subset of the sessions that occur on your website or mobile application. For example, all the sessions originating from an ad campaign would be considered one session segment
Event segments – are groups of event triggers that were created on your website or mobile application. For example, all purchases made at a particular store; exceptions that occur on a certain operating system
Using Segmentation for your Data Analysis
Here are a few ways you can get started with segmentation in GA4 –
Explorations are the space to do deeper analysis and all 3 segment types can be created and used here. The few ways to create segments are –
• Create a custom segment by self-defining the parameters
• Use suggested (by GA4) segments
• Right-click a data point in your visualization and create a segment
Up to 10 segments can be created for exploration. The segment functionality available in Universal Analytics is replicated here in Explorations. In GA reports segmentation can be done using Comparisons
By default, data in GA4 reports include “All Users”. In order to compare subsets of that data comparisons and be added or removed using the “Add Comparison” bubble on the top left (as shown in the figure below). Thereafter, we can create segments based on the selected dimensions and their values. Up to five comparisons can be enabled in a single report.
Segmentation is an effective way to slice your analytics reports and analyze a specific subset of them. You can use it for both standard and customized reports in Google Analytics.
In GA4, your data can be filtered in two ways: either through segmentation (which we discussed earlier) or through comparison. However, if you want to filter your data further, you’ll have to go back to the Comparison tool. You can also create sequences within the Comparison tool, but they’re not as flexible as those in the Segmentation tool.
Some limitations to take note of in GA4 Segments as compared to Universal
• They are created on the fly and data sampling occurs much faster
• Re-use and sharing of Segments in GA4 is not possible
• Segment integration is not possible with external tools via APIs
However, GA4 introduced some really useful new features like event segments and time-based sequence limits. Learn more about GA4 in our Google Analytics 4 course. Take advantage of the new GA4 features and with it take your marketing performance to new heights!
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Instructor: Azhar Katib
About the author
Azhar Katib is a Web Strategist enabling Singapore SME’s with their Online Presence using Conversion focused Web Design, Search Marketing (SEM & SEO) and Web Analytics. Besides being a practitioner, he also coaches learners in Digital Marketing and Website Design/Development topics as an adjunct trainer in CET institutes and independently for companies locally and overseas.
Prior to this, he has over 20 yrs of rich experience in the IT industry in managerial, consulting and technical roles with career stints across Asia, Europe & the Middle-East.
Azhar holds a Degree in Engineering, various IT & Marketing related professional certifications, and is recognized as a Specialist Adult Educator by SkillsFuture Singapore.