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Get The Most Out of Google Analytics – Part 2

Annotation & Regular Expressions

Welcome back! Now that we’ve got the basics down, I have a couple more tips for getting the most out of your Google Analytics. This time we’re diving into the slightly more obscure world of Annotations & Regular Expressions.

These tips are fire


You’ve added all your segments to your shortcuts and now you’ve got a useful graph. And something is afoot! New users have shot up 🙂 [or entrances are way down 🙁 ]… but why. What have you done lately to affect this change. Was it even something you’ve done?

This is where annotations come in. Using annotations is simpler than simple but is tremendously useful when you are trying to trace the root of a change in your data. Whether it was a week ago or a year ago, making annotations in your Analytics ensure you can keep track of your work and effectively measure change.

Regular Expressions

If you’ve spent any time looking at reported search keyword data you know that the general internet using public searches in the most creative and ~Ko0Ky~ ways. Or maybe you’re working on a website without a proper URL structure. It’s pretty difficult to make a blog segment when all the posts are just relative to the home page.

Enter regular expressions, or regex for all you power users.

Regular expressions employ symbols that enable you to search for or segment data using portions or fragments of words to capture more accurate groupings. FOR EXAMPLE:

  • I like to use (parenthesis) to make keyword groupings of keyword themes with different endings – using therap(y|ist) in the Adwords search query report will show you keywords containing therapy & therapist.
  • If I need to segment content that is not relative to a common directory – say /blog/ – I like to use my friend the bar | to create a regular expression using the slugs of the pages I want included: article-1|article-2|article-3 used in secondary dimension section of the landing page report will include only those three pages in the report!

OK! That’s it. You have all my secrets. If you care to share any of your own, leave it in the comments!