Segmentation is not new in analytics. In fact, it’s not new to marketing. Every product or service is meant for a segment in one way or another.

But the concept of “another way” has grown substantially thanks to digital media – and marketers are still learning how to manage segments well.

Sensational Segmentation

Analytics tools have helped to incorporate object oriented language protocols in website elements. Data protocols for analytic tag management solutions, APIs, and schema tags have allowed for more specific understanding of how content is viewed, as we explained in How Marketers Can Get A Better Handle on Their Data.

Another reason for enhanced segmentation lies in how the cookie — the text file which enables aggregate data collection for analytic solutions — was modified in Google's Universal Analytics (UA) updates. By way of background, UA is a set of technological innovations that improve the way data is collected and processed in Google Analytics.

The latest release uses one cookie for some dimensions and metrics, where the previous version had several. This reduction allows the analytic tag to be implemented in more media configurations such as apps. But it also conveniently incorporates more instances where segments interact with a digital media through multiple devices.

Tweaks and More Tweaks

Google has been refining how segments can be adjusted for more than a year.

In 2013, it introduced a new advanced segmentation interface with additional options. Google also modified its segment filters so they are based on users instead of visits. This opened the door for segmentation conditions that better fit live conditions rather than just website structure.

For example, a Google Analytics user could run a cohort analysis — the examination of behavioral related segments of a data set within a specified time. Cohorts are meant to address website activity more reflective of a natural customer cycle, as opposed to rigid one-dimensional interpretations of website activity such as geolocation or new visitors.

Learning Opportunities

Digging In

The kinds of segmentation available in Google Analytics reporting include demographics, technology, behavior (which activity is achieved on a website or app), conditions (which website or app element is activated) and sequence of events.

The result of the segmentation features is a number of options that relates marketing activity to meaningful strategic objectives. By identifying segments, companies can tailor automation campaigns and real time messaging to the customers or potential customers who will respond best. Thus segmentation has value as a driver for real time marketing.

Segmentation can also enhance value for other reporting suites in an analytic solution.

Google, for instance, offers Enhanced E-commerce, a revised reporting feature that incorporates customizable purchase funnel analysis options and increased interoperability with Google Tag Manager. Thus more refined segmentation selection can aid conversion funnel planning and raise more insights along the shopping experience, from initial browsing to point of sale.

Increasingly managers are appreciating how segmentation aids advanced marketing strategy, especially as a lead-in for predictive analytics. The right segmentation selection in analytics reporting can make your business — and its interaction with its customer — feel new.

Title image by HandmadePictures / Shutterstock.