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Making Holidays Bright: Advanced Segments to Win the Season

Making Holidays Bright: Advanced Segments to Win the Season

Holiday Marketing

Last week, we brought you 5 marketing strategies for a smashing 2014 holiday. As the post explained, the first step to a successful holiday season is research & planning, which we propose may involve a date night with your data in the near future.

Although it’s a little early for mistletoe, we want to bring you fresh ideas and inspiration in case you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ with your web analytics data.

Today, we’ll focus on how to rediscover your data through advanced segmentation. Although advanced segments are not new, they may be perhaps one of the most powerful, yet underutilized features in many companies’ Google Analytics accounts.

By default, Google provides a number of commonly used segments ready-made in the list menu. These include: “Organic Traffic”, “Sessions with Conversions”, “Non-Bounce Sessions”, “Paid Traffic”, and several others.

While these are great and used here at Forthea nearly every day, you may have questions and ideas going into the holidays that simply cannot be answered by these canned segments alone. In your holiday planning, you may be asking yourself deeper questions like:

  1. Are self-driven social media visitors more valuable than other traffic sources?
  2. Do Black Friday shoppers spend more per session than shoppers on other days?
  3. Are last minute shoppers less price conscious than their early bird counterparts?
  4. What products skew toward shorter or longer consideration cycles?
  5. Are one-stop-shoppers more likely to be male or female?
  6. Do female shoppers spend more per transaction than male shoppers?
  7. How does age influence preferred transaction device?
  8. Did that email blast result in repeat visitors and/or transactions?
  9. Do buyers of certain brands have similar interests in other product categories?
  10. How might we remarket to organic visitors on Cyber Monday who did not make a purchase?

If any of these questions sound familiar, the good news is advanced segments can give us quick insight into nearly all of our holiday strategy questions.

Creating an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics

Let’s take a look at how we might do this in Google Analytics. In our first question, we asked, are self-driven social media visitors more valuable than other traffic sources? To answer that question, let’s start by creating a new custom segment titled, “Self Driven Social Media”:

Advanced Segment - Self Driven Social Media

In this example, our parameters include:

  • All social media sources relevant to our business (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)
  • Traffic Sources: Medium does not contain “cpc”

Once you click “Save”, your new segment will be available in the list view for quick comparisons and more insightful reporting across the Google Analytics platform. If you’re having trouble putting this together, we went ahead and created the segment for you here.

Now comes the fun part! Let’s take a 90-day look-back at how the average order value of our Self-Driven Social Media group compares to Organic, Paid & Direct traffic:

Advanced Segments - Self Driven Social Media vs. Others

As we see in this example, our new segment currently makes up a very small percentage of overall site traffic and transaction volume. Though it converts at a much lower rate, 0.38%, than other traffic sources, the Average Order Value, $210.73, is the highest of the group.

Would a chart like this be helpful in your next 2014 holiday planning session? That’s the power of advanced segments.

Remarketing Cyber Monday Customers

Now let’s look forward a bit. In question #10 we asked, how might we remarket to organic visitors from Cyber Monday who did not make a purchase? The answer? You guessed it – advanced segments.

First, let’s create another segment titled “Cyber Monday Organic | No Purchase”:

Advanced Segments - Cyber Monday Remarketing


For reference, the parameters for this segment are:

  • Behavior: Transactions per user = 0
  • Date of First Session: First Session is on Dec 1, 2014
  • Traffic Sources: Medium contains “organic”

Now that you have your new segment (or steal ours here), click on the down arrow in the segment and select “Remarket”:

Advanced Segments - Cyber Monday Remarketing

Just like that, we have a Black Friday remarketing audience set up to receive follow-up promotions through the rest of the holiday season.

Advanced Segments are truly a powerful resource available to marketers today. This holiday planning season, don’t let the busyness cause you to neglect your data.

Contact our interactive marketing specialists today and make sure the 2014 season is your best yet.

Matthew Newhouser
Matthew is digital marketing specialist at Forthea, with a focus in search advertising & web analytics. He enjoys many things in life, including: family, friends, the little details, hammocks, Excel, and breakfast tacos.


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