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Hit-Scoped Segments in Google Analytics

Advanced Segments is by far the most useful feature in all of Google Analytics. I believe that your ability to use them are what separates you from a beginner Google Analytics user. Today, I want to share a quick tip to make them even more useful. One of the limitations that I often hear, especially from Adobe users, is that you cannot created a hit-scoped segment in Google Analytics. Let’s start with why this is even important.

Advanced Segment Scoping

Say we want to analyze information related to what happens before and after someone adds a product to the cart. We can start by creating a segment of any session/visit where an event action contains add to cart. The segment below will isolate any session where an add to cart occurred and return everything in that session.

What if we wanted to know how many of these users that added a product to the cart, also looked at our spring sale page? This is where we get into scoping and order. Do you want to look at a visit/session where both actions occurred, do you want to look at users where both actions occurred (even if they happened individually in separate visits), or do we need to establish an order and define that the user must first see our sale before adding to cart? Depending on the question you are trying to answer any of these may be appropriate. If we want to go with the last option of anyone who viewed our sales page and then ever added a product to bag, we need to change our scope and conditions. Here is how we would do that:

Hit-Scoped Advanced Segments

Now for the quick tip. What if we needed to ensure that a user who viewed our sales page, actually added a product from that sales page to their cart? The conditions in the segment above do not ensure this. They simply state the user added some product to cart and that product may or may not have been included in that sale. We can achieve this by adding conditions to our sequence like this:

Pretty simple, but something pretty important happened here. What we did, was use a new ‘hidden’ scope for hit-scoped segments and conditions. To further build on why this is important lets try and build segments to identify users who added a specific product to their cart. If you are not familiar with how to use hit-scoped you could get very inaccurate data. Lets create a segment of any session where a Metal Roller Pen was added to cart. The two segments built below show the data discrepancy. The first segment shows us anyone who every interacted with a┬áMetal Texture Roller Pen and also added a product to the bag. That interaction with the Metal Texture Roller Pen could have been a product detail view or even a product impression. The conditions are evaluated across the session and not against each other. The second segment shows how to enforce and evaluate the conditions at the same time.

Now you know why you need hit-scoped segments and conditions and how to build them =)

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  • Timmychap

    Agree on the power of this.
    Would disagree on Adobe not supporting it. Can definitely do nested, dependent, multi scope window segments.

    As with Google can be difficult to understand and build, but extremely powerful for targeted discovery.

    • Charles Farina

      I edited my post to reflect I meant that I hear regularly from Adobe uses that you cannot created a hit-scoped segment in Google Analytics. As you pointed out, Adobe for sure has this!

  • Mayo Racek

    Hi Charles,

    thanks for great article. Definitely leveraging advanced segments in Google Analytics is the greatest power for deeper analysis.

    QUICK QUESTION : When I want to create segment for visitors who land on home page, click the product banner, add that product to cart and make transaction that include that product? sequences would definitely do the trick right? when i want to include a transaction that include that product they must be in the same step, correct? Thank you very much Charles for great article..very helpful! wishing you great day

  • syed muhammad Affan

    You can set event tracking and use advance segments as per your requirements for any type of scope. Lets say you have promotional banner at footer, You can add tracking on scroll and on promotional banner click and can use segment to analyze impressions click ratio by creating an advanced segment.