With the segment overlap report in Google Analytics 4, you can quickly visualize user groups as a Venn diagram. What is even more exciting is that you can use overlaps to create new segments in your GA property. This can be useful to improve your site, customer journey and marketing campaigns on a data driven basis. Let’s find out more about this.
Have a quick look at what you will learn about overlap segmentation in GA4.
What is segment overlapping anyway?
Users X, Y and Z belong to a specific group, AKA segments. The division can be based on, for instance, the type of device they use to visit your site.
When somebody uses more than one device to visit your site, this person belongs to the overlap of two segments.
Primary school math for adults. That excites me.
And there is another reason I am thrilled about the segment overlap exploration.
Google Analytics 360 feature in GA4
In Google Analytics Universal, it was hard (and often impossible) to find overlap segments. Patience, a spreadsheet and blind guessing. Far from ideal to reveal a lot about user overlapping segments.
Your best option was to switch to the paid analytics version: Google 360. Now, the segment overlap exploration is shipped with GA4.
You can use it for free.
That’s another excellent reason to switch today from Google Analytics Universals. If you haven’t done this yet, make sure you grab our free step-by-step GA4 Migration Guide that covers everything you need to know.
Where can you find segment overlap reports in GA4?
To access the segment overlap report, you need to
- open the Explorations in the menu on the left
- click on Segment Overlap Template
Et voila. (That’s French for There you go. )
If you are familiar with the lifetime value exploration, the screen will seem less overwhelming.
The readymade segment overlap includes an Age segment.
It’s empty and so it does not show on the Venn diagram:
Why does Google include it in the segment overlap template, anyway?
The answer is simple.
In GA4, you can only access privacy sensitive demographic data if you activate Google Signals. Before you know, you will start advertising on Google and its networks. To help you get more from your paid campaigns, we offer a Google Ads course that will pay for itself in no time.
How to create a custom segment overlap exploration in GA4?
When you are new to GA4 explorations, the easiest and safest way to create a custom segment overlap exploration is to open one and then duplicate the report.
Now it’s playtime.
Segments and overlaps
You can drag one of the available segments to SEGMENT COMPARISONS.
Besides the available segments, you can add more by clicking on the Plus sign.
Here you have access to other segments. Your comparison is still limited to 3, but this opens up a whole new world of insights.
You can, for example, add custom segments.
Or suggested segments.
Depending on your site, there can be more. I will get to this in the examples below.
Please mind: the segment overlap exploration is restricted to 3 segments.
That may seem like a huge bummer.
But fortunately, you can customize the exploration even more.
Dimensions to breakdown your overlap report
You can add dimensions to break down the table right below the Venn diagram. And you can select the row to start with and the number of rows to show.
Metrics as values
You can add up to 10 metrics to include as values in your segment overlap exploration.
Go wild, or don’t. Since the report is dynamic, you will see the results appear.
The loading is annoying. And yes, we too hope that this will improve in future versions of GA4.
Filter segment overlap report
Finally, you can use filters and narrow down the report so it contains the bare necessities for your marketing, sales and design departments.
Happy with the exploration?
Now is a good time to save your hard work.
As with any other exploration, you can save this one too.
TIP: Use a descriptive name and include overlap in the name.
- This will make your life and those of your team members easier.
- Another advantage of naming your GA4 explorations is that you will take the time to reflect on what you want to accomplish with the report in a later stage.
To share overlap segments with members who don’t have access to your GA4 property, you can export it to different formats.
Saved segment overlap reports show up in your explorations, right under the templates.
Time for the big question: what can you actually do with these reports?
To illustrate this, I will give 3 simple examples, which will hopefully inspire you.
3 examples of segment overlap reports
Pick your type of site, or look at the others to get a better idea of the power of the segment overlap exploration.
Example 1: game app segment overlap
If you have configured your GA4 property as a game analytics tool, you can use segments of your players.
Now you can easily find out answers to complicated questions like this:
- How many top players use their tablets?
- How many top players using their tablets did you acquire with paid traffic?
- How many transactions did Tablet Traffic generate?
That’s a lot of valuable information for your game design and marketing team.
Example 2: e-commerce site segment overlap
At this moment, Google Analytics 4 is not a complete analytics tool for e-commerce businesses. However, don’t use this as an excuse for not migrating to GA4.
To find out which mobile devices bring in more money to your web shop, you can use these segments:
- Mobile Traffic
- Tablet Traffic
As you can see in the diagram, most purchasers don't visit your online store with either of these devices.
Your desktop is outperforming the small screen versions of your shop. You knew this, didn’t you?
The cool thing is that you can re-use all of these segments later on. So, keep reading.
Example 3: website segment overlap report
The segment overlap exploration is useful too for pure blogs and lead generation websites.
You can, for example, view the overlapping of devices, country and traffic source and use this information to better understand the behavior and journey of your audience.
How to create a new segment from an overlap segment?
While configuring overlap explorations, you will for sure come across segments that are important for your business, but that are not part of the built-in segments of GA4.
The good news is that you can save them.
To do so, right click on the segment overlap and then click on Create segment from selection.
TIP: you can increase the font size of your browser to zoom in on Venn diagrams.
On the next screen, select Build an Audience and click on the blue Save & Publish button.
You made a new segment that you can from now on use elsewhere in Google Analytics 4, or even your Google Ad account.
The segment overlap report in GA4 is a new feature that you previously could only use in Google 360 Analytics.
Besides being free, the segment overlap exploration is powerful for site, app and e-commerce owners and data driven marketers to
- get deep insights in user segments
- create new segments from overlaps
- use these segments in GA4 reports and explorations
Although you can only compare 3 segments, you can add suggested and custom segments.
The breakdown, dimensions, metrics and filters help you dig deeper into segments.
You can share the segment overlap reports with your team to
- improve the user experience on your site
- optimize the customer journey
- optimize your paid ad campaigns
You have reached the end.
GA4 will make your visit show up in some segments and overlaps. But to us, you and all Data Driven readers are people, not numbers. We highly appreciate you being here. If you would like to get more personal, you can connect with us inside our free Facebook group for data driven marketers.