Time and time again we’ve discussed how important Google Analytics is. This tool can help in many aspects of our business, which in turn, can help us reduce risks that may potentially affect our results.
However, there will be instances when using Analytics that can be quite confusing and even frustrating. In some cases, you might be overwhelmed with too many aspects and details that you might end up not being able to do what needs to be done.
In this video, I go over a basic setup of narrowing down to a couple of traffic sources for clearer analysis.
This is where “Regular Expressions” or “Regex” comes into play…
Regex can be used as a strategy or tool designed to narrow down options, to give you a clearer picture of the details that you’ll need to take into account. Accordingly, this will make it easier for you to see the needed information, ultimately making things more efficient for you.
Here are some extra things that you might want to know about Google Analytics and Regex:
Segmentation: Why You Should Use It
If you try to look at your Google Analytics dashboard, you’ll notice that it has various data, including traffic sources, referrals and many—many—other details. And just by taking a look at it, you’ll realize that if you don’t segment in some way, not only will you have a lot of work to do, but the likelihood of making a mistake is drastically increased.
For ease of use, some might suggest the use of “filters” and “advanced filters” to make their job easier. However, sometimes, such strategy just doesn’t work and it definitely has its limitations
In order to avoid having to deal with excess data (most especially for complex searches), you might want to create an “advanced segment.” Using segments will make your information more specific. Accordingly, this will allow you to make a more thorough and right analysis, which is actually the main reason we are using Analytics in the first place.
So, how can we make use of Regex to make our searches more accurate, specific and complete?
Let’s discuss further…
How to Use Regex Matches for Your Analytics Searches
Remember: Google Analytics only allows users to control one source if you use the “contains” function. What this means is that you will not be able to input more than one traffic source, whether it may Bing, Yahoo or Google.
By using Regex matches, you actually get to use more than one source. In effect, this allows you have more information, tailored and you get to be far more specific.
As an example, let’s try to use Regex when segmenting for Bing results…
- Click on the button “add segment” and create a new segment.
- Choose “traffic source.” Afterwards, go to “source.”
- Input the word “bing” in the box beside “source” (using the “contains” function). There appear multiple spellings of “Bing” “bing”, and maybe other options. Keep note of them—from their spelling, caps, and other details.
- Click on “preview” to see the results (however, this will be for “bing” alone, and this won’t include the results for “Bing.”)
- In the same box, use “|” (also called the vertical bar) in order to separate the different options that appeared in the source box. So, it will most probably look like this: bing|Bing. Take note: make sure that you’re using the same spelling, caps, and details as they appeared in your previous search.
- Before clicking on “preview,” change the “contains” function into “matches Regex.” Click on “preview.” This will allow you see the results both for “bing” and “Bing” (and other options you may have imputed), thereby making your search more complete.
- Analyze your search results.
This is just one basic way you can use a Regex for your Google Analytics searches and analysis. Accordingly, this strategy will not only make your searches more effective, but it can definitely put you on the right track as well.
Now it’s your turn…do you use Regex Expressions? Leave me a comment below, on how you use Regex to improve your analysis process.