Basic Segmentation with Profiles in GA


I often see accounts set up in Google Analytics with only a single profile. This is really a shame. There is a lot of great information that is obscured with just a single, overall profile.

There are a several reports and metrics that you can’t segment within the Google Analytics reporting interface, such as

1. Funnel Visualization (Goals > Funnel Visualization)

2. Visitor Loyalty Reports (Visitors > Visitor Loyalty)

3. Ecommerce Reports

4. Number of Visitors

These are much more interesting (and useful) when you can compare them against different segments of your traffic or see trends within just one segment.

Funnel Visualization, for example, is a great report. You can see where visitors drop out of your funnel and where they go when they leave. But you can’t compare funnel behavior for New Visitors and Returning Visitors.

If you could look at them separately you would be able to tell that the change to your website that caused an increase in funnel exits is only affecting Returning Visitors. Maybe you moved a vital element to a different area of the page. There isn’t anything wrong with the new placement (New Visitors are doing just fine), except that your Returning Visitors are expecting it to be somewhere else.

But you don’t know any of that because you can’t look at the Funnel Visualization report by Visitor Type.

Or Can You?

By creating some extra profiles you will be able to isolate which group of visitors is responsible for the changes you see in your data.

Here are a few basic profiles you can use to look at segments of your website traffic separately. (Each of these links to an image showing the filter that you need to add to that profile.)addwebsiteprofile.jpg

Only Direct Traffic

Only Organic Traffic

Only Paid Search Traffic

Only New Visitors

Only Returning Visitors



Creating Profiles

1. Click Add Website Profile

2. Select Existing Domain, Name Your Profile, Finishcreatenewprofile2.jpg

3. Select Edit for the new profile, then Add Filter

4. Create the filter shown in the Links above for the profile you just created, click Finish






With these profiles you can compare your funnels for New vs Returning Visitors or your ecommerce reports for Organic vs Paid Search. Use your Organic profile to see if your SEO efforts are paying off, or your Paid Search profile to refine your pay-per-click campaigns.

Every time you are looking at Google Analytics and wish you could segment that report just one more level, you may have found another opportunity to create some extra profiles.


John is a former LunaMetrician and contributor to our blog.

  • Great article John!

    Since you mentioned e-commerce reports in pt 3, do you know of a way to segment actual customers vs non-customers?

    Many thanks,

  • Michael,

    One way to segment visitors is through the use of the User Defined Segment Variable (__utmSetVar). Setting this to the value of, say, “customer” for anyone who hits the “Thank You” page of your purchase funnel, would allow you to filter in only these visitors.

    Of course, visits to your site before they converted would not be counted as “customers”.

    Any other thoughts?


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  • Alexandra

    Brilliant! The information on filters was just what I was after. Thanks a lot for saving me hours of searching about!

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