You’re already getting plenty from Google Analytics, but there are still a few pieces you’d like to add.

For example, let’s say you’d like to know what percentage of your traffic is being driven through mobile or tablet users, or what the top 100 stories on your site have been over the past month.

Sounds like you’re ready for segments.

Sherri Horton, data analyst for GateHouse Media, recently detailed segments in a GateHouse Professional Development Series presentation. She also talked at length about bounce rate, and where it should be.

Here are three questions she answered during the seminar:

When should I use custom dashboards, reports or segments?

SH: Use your custom dashboards for everyday basic level reporting.

Use custom reports when you need to apply complicated filters to the data or have something very specific to report. Some examples are larger data sets like “Top 20 Stories” or any page level reporting. Time-based reporting is also best if done in this tab (example: best hour of the day for article traffic).

Use segments when you need to compare session or user based metrics such as device categories (mobile, desktop, tablet) or traffic sources (direct, organic, social, referral, etc.) or demographics (age, gender, etc.). Use segments and custom dashboards for quick reporting.

What would be some good examples of segments and why would I want to have them?

SH: Device category segments to differentiate mobile and desktop traffic will probably be the most important to use.

Marketing channel segments to see how each channel brings in different traffic and how that traffic interacts with your site.

Organic (search traffic) may interact with your content differently than your Social source traffic. This can help you mold your marketing and content strategy toward those specific markets or control what you share and when and on what platform.

You talked about bounce rates. Give us a little more background on that, and what’s considered a good bounce rate?

SH: The average industry bounce rate for content heavy sites is around 40-50 percent. I would like ours to be 40 or under as 40 percent is the average for any website in any industry.

Bounce rate can be affected by design (which we have seen a drop in our newly launched Garcia sites), headlines, article length and page intent. Our marketing team created a page to urge mobile users to download our apps.

I would expect those pages to have a high bounce rate since they would be leaving to hopefully and presumably click the call to action to download the app. So it can be subjective depending on the data set you are analyzing.


Here’s Horton walking through applying segments:

Sherri Horton, GateHouse Media data analyst

Sherri Horton, GateHouse Media data analyst

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