Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Google Analytics: Fun with Advanced Segments

I was curious about how my blog’s visitor’s tech has changed over the years. Perhaps Google Analytics can help?

The normal stats you get for your users are pretty nice:

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But this doesn’t show us how they’ve changed over time. For instance, how has Internet Explorer fared over the last two years? You can do this with advanced segments.

Click the advanced segments button and add a few custom segments for the metric you’re interested in. In my case, I added one for browsers that look like IE, and browsers that don’t:

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Then add those to your report:

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And you get something like this:

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It looks like my IE traffic has always been less than other browsers, and it’s also grown at a much slower rate leading to the huge disparity I see today.

This shows the visitor count for each month, so this shows raw growth, too. I’d prefer to look at this in percentage terms but I couldn’t figure that out. Dumping these data into a spreadsheet lets me view things the way I wanted initially:

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After a little pivot table action and a chart, I have what I want:

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We can see that IE popularity is dropping slowly…much more slowly than I expected. Let’s see if we can abuse visualizations a little to make this look more dramatic. Here’s the “trend” view:

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I used independent scales. It’s super effective.

Google Analytics is a fun thing to turn on when a project starts and then forget about for a while. Some day later, you can come back and lose two hours exploring the trove of data you’ve collected.


Here’s some more stat candy if that’s what you’re in to. Watch out, BlackBerry users, you’re as popular as PS3 (#LOLWUT):

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I’m pleasantly surprised to see that 1280px+-wide monitors make up more than 80% of my traffic. I’m sad for all those poor souls using the BS “HD” resolution of 1366x768, though.

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