You probably missed it, but in December of 2017, the Google Analytics team released a long-awaited new feature: Audiences in Reporting. This feature opens up a variety of new applications and uses in the Google Analytics Suite. I still believe that advanced segments, also referred to as audiences are one of Google Analytics strongest features. These audiences allow you to quickly customize the entire Google Analytics interface to only show you data related to the audience you care about. Not only can you understand everything about their user behavior, but you can also activate these audiences directly within AdWords, DoubleClick Bid Manager, and Google Optimize 360. They are by far my favorite feature available in Google Analytics.
Over the years, Google has added numerous features to these audiences in GA. We can now share them with all users, create state-based rules, and create user-scoped or sequence-based rules. One of the most common questions I can get asked when showing Advanced Segments to new users is, “if there is a way to combine different audiences together or to use one audience that excludes another?” As an example, lets say you built one audience of users who abandoned their cart and a separate audience of mobile users. What if you wanted to easily identify the users that overlapped between both of those segments. The only way to do that in the past was to create a third audience that combined both conditions. Now we have a new option to solve for this using the new audiences in reporting feature.
Audiences in Reporting
Here is what audiences in reporting looks like after you have set everything up.
What changes with audiences in reporting is that you actually publish your audience and Google Analytics will pull them out and put them in the audiences report and make them available for a number of use cases. Before we get too stacked audiences, let’s cover how to publish your audiences to this report. This support article has everything you need, but as a quick summary make sure you have edit permission for the property you want to publish to. Other important details to know is that you can also only publish 20 audiences to Google Analytics, sequence-based segments cannot be used, and currently, they do not pre-populate data, so they will only be available from date of setup moving forward. With this in mind, the process is as follows:
Step 1: Create Your Audience/Segment
Simply click the Add Segment button from any report in GA, name your segment, add your definitions, and click save.
Step 2: Select Build Audience
Click the Arrow next to the segment at the top and click build audience.
Step 3: Select Build Audience
Name your audience again(I wish Google would pre-populate this since we already named it) and then select Google Analytics as your destination.
After 24-48 hours when you come back to Google Analytics your audiences will be available in the Audiences Report.
Now that we have published audiences available in Google Analytics, we have them available when we create other audiences. If I have audiences published for current shoppers and intense athletes, I can use both to create a new combined/stacked Audience. This is why Audience in Reporting is one of my favorite new features in Google Analytics! I recommend working with your Analytics team to create core audiences that are applicable to your vertical or use cases, so you can leverage them throughout the Google Analytics Suite. Hopefully, Google will make an update soon, so that they can be pre-populated and we do not have to wait for them to collect data.