Your website’s analytics tell the story of who is coming to your site, how they got there, and what they’re doing once they get there. But, as I mention in the video above, not everyone is coming to your site the same way or for the same reasons, so they should not all be treated and analyzed the same.

One of the best things about analytics is the ability to segment audiences. You can then look at each segment separately, see if they stand out from your site’s overall traffic, and see how they compare to other segments. In the video, I briefly touched on three key segments:

  1. Organic traffic. It’s important to keep an eye on the folks who arrive at your site through simple web searches, so that you know what terms people are searching for to find you.

  2. Paid traffic. If you’ve invested in digital search campaigns, you’ll want to keep track of how effective your ads are, and ensure that your site meets those searchers’ needs.

  3. Mobile traffic. More and more visitors are using their smartphones and tablets to view websites, and if you see the proportion of mobile visitors to your site increasing, you should strongly consider a mobile-optimized site.

Monitoring those three segments is critical to a website’s success, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Analytics provides limitless options for segmenting your visitors, and it is wise to put time into determining who the important audiences are for your site, and then configuring the appropriate segments.

Below are a few more examples of potentially important segments in your analytics.

New Users

A visitor’s first impression of your site can mean everything. You want your site to provide the information they’re looking for, and engage them. You want them to become a repeat visitor. Looking specifically at a new user segment can tell you exactly what first-timers are looking for when they arrive at your site, and how much exploring they do.

And it’s always interesting to see the differences between first-time visitors to your site and visitors who have been there before — how are these new folks finding your site? what do they seem to be looking for when they arrive?

You can create segments for new and returning users and compare them to find important differences. It can be tricky to find the right balance between content intended to “grab” new visitors who might not be familiar with your brand and content intended to quickly provide the relevant information to seasoned veterans of your site. Use the data in your site’s analytics to map out what each group does within your site, figure out where the differences are between them, and optimize your site for both audiences.


For some sites, the most important audience is comprised of visitors who accomplish certain goals you have set up, such as purchasing your product through the website, or signing up for your email list. When someone follows through on one of those conversion, they’re a converter.

You can create a segment to capture just those converters in order to get a clearer picture of what leads someone to do what you want them to do. Are they finding your site through some other specialty site? Are they more likely to view a particular page or video on your site than non-converters? Closely examining this segment could shed light on what is really influencing your visitors and encouraging them to convert.

Other Channels

In the video, I mention that you can use segments for organic and paid traffic. But let me be completely clear: you can create segments to track visitors from any source. If you want to see what visitors who clicked on your new banner ad are doing on your site, you can. If you want to keep tabs on everyone who clicks a link in your monthly email, you can. If you want to learn more about the traffic being sent your way from a mention on a large news site, you can.

There is no shortage of interesting, useful segments you can put together. I spend days looking through clients’ data, finding the important stories and devising data-driven strategies, but it never feels like enough time. Your site’s analytics is a powerful tool for improving your site and your business, and using segments is one way to harness your data and use them to your advantage.


Rusty Parker

Rusty Parker

Rusty Parker is the director of data and analytics for SHERPA Global. He has a doctoral degree in Applied Sociology from Baylor University, with an emphasis on survey methodology and data analysis. He has led data collection projects for corporate, government, and nonprofit clients for more than 10 years.

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