GA4 Segments: Complete Guide in 2024

Segments are crucial in understanding user behaviour and identifying target audiences. In this article, we will delve into GA4 segments and explore how they can enhance your data analysis and marketing strategies. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the knowledge and insights you need to leverage segments effectively.

What are GA4 segments? 

GA4 segments refer to subsets of data within Google Analytics 4 that allow for analysing specific user groups based on various criteria. In simpler terms, it is a feature in GA4 that enables users to group subsets of data for analysis based on different contexts, such as users who have completed specific actions or new users providing granular insight.

Segments offer valuable insights into user behaviour, preferences, and actions on websites or apps. With GA4 segments, marketers and analysts can isolate and examine specific user groups, such as new users, returning users, high-value customers, or those who have completed particular actions like making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter. Consequently, by creating segments in GA4, you can gain deeper insights into specific user groups and their interactions with your website or app.

In summary, GA4 users use segments to analyse segments of data within Google Analytics and gain insights. GA4 segments provide a powerful means to analyse and understand users in a more granular and targeted way.

GA4 segments vs audiences: key differences

The key differences between GA4 segments and audiences in Google Analytics 4 are as follows:

  1. Purpose: You can use GA4 segments to analyse and gain insights into specific subsets of data within your website or app. They allow you to isolate and examine user behaviour based on various criteria, such as demographics, actions, or events. Segments help you gain insights into user behaviour and make data-driven decisions. On the other hand, marketers create audiences to target specific groups of users with personalised marketing campaigns. Specific criteria, such as user characteristics, behaviours, or interests, form the basis for audiences. Marketers primarily use audiences for remarketing or targeting purposes to deliver tailored messages to specific user groups.
  1. Functionality: You can use GA4 segments within the Google Analytics platform to analyse data and gain insights. You can apply Segments to your exploration reports and analyses within Google Analytics. On the contrary, marketers use audiences in conjunction with advertising platforms like Google Ads or Display & Video 360. Marketers create them within Google Analytics and then share them with advertising platforms to target specific user groups with personalised ads. In advertising campaigns, marketers can use audiences for remarketing, prospecting, or exclusion purposes.
  1. Scope and Timeframe: You can use segments to analyse and filter data, applying them to your data in real-time for analysis. On the flip side, marketers utilise audiences for long-term targeting and analysis. They can employ audiences for remarketing or targeting purposes in their marketing campaigns. They help you tailor your marketing strategies to reach and engage specific segments of your users.

Now, let’s look at how to create segments in GA4.

How to create segment in Google Analytics 4

To create a segment in Google Analytics 4, follow these steps:

  1. Open the GA4 main page and click on Explore

    Select Explore in GA4

  2. Start a new exploration report by clicking “blank”

    Start a new blank exploration

  3. In the left-hand menu, beside “Segments” click on the “+ New Segment” button to access the segment builder.

    Click on Segment+ in Exploration

  4. Proceed with a custom segment

    GA4 will present you with different options to create your segment. You can choose from predefined templates or create a custom segment. If you select a predefined template, you can customise it by adding or removing conditions based on your requirements. These conditions can include user demographics, behaviours, events, or sequences of actions.Select a type of segment

  5. Configure the segment, give it a name, and save it.

    If you prefer to create a custom segment, click on custom segment. Select the segment type; this opens a new window where you can define specific rules and conditions for your segment. For example, you can set conditions based on user demographics: users below 35. This is what we have done in the image below.

    Give your segment a name and provide a description to help you identify and understand its purpose. Click on the “Save” button to create your segment.
    Youth GA4 segment

After creating your segment, you have the ability to apply it to various explore reports or create a new exploration report to analyse it.

GA4 segment types:

In Google Analytics 4, there are three main types of segments: User segments, Session segments, and Event segments. Let’s explore each of them below:

GA4 User Segment Explanation
GA4 User Segment: all user’s events are included
  1. User Segments: User segments are based on the characteristics and behaviours of users. This type of segment allows you to analyse and understand specific groups of users based on criteria such as demographics, acquisition source, user type (new or returning), or user lifetime value. User segments help you gain insights into user behaviour patterns and help you tailor your marketing strategies accordingly. When you create a user segment based on specific events (interactions), GA4 includes those users who did those interactions, their visits(sessions), and their interactions(events) on your website or app.
GA4 Session Segment Explanation
GA4 Session Segment: only events of the specific session included
  1. Session Segments: Session segments focus on analysing user interactions within a single session. This type of segment allows you to examine specific groups of sessions based on criteria such as session duration, number of pages viewed, or specific pages visited. Session segments help you understand user engagement and identify opportunities for improving the user experience on your website or app. When you create a session segment based on specific events (interactions), GA4 includes only the session where that event took place in the segment.
GA4 Event Segment Explanation
GA4 Event Segment: only one event included, in our case “purchase”
  1. Event Segments: Event segments are based on specific user actions or events. Event segments refer to specific portions or subsets of events that have been initiated on your website or application, for example all checkout events. When you create an event segment based on particular events (interactions), GA4 includes those events and their details in the segment.

GA4 segment builder functionality

The GA4 segment builder is a powerful tool in Google Analytics 4 that allows you to create segments to analyse specific subsets of your data. It enables you to filter and group your data based on various criteria, providing deeper insights into your audience and their behaviour.

One of the functionalities of the segment builder is the ability to create a sequence segment. This allows you to analyse user behaviour based on a specific sequence of events or actions on your website or app. 

To create a sequence segment, you can follow these steps:

  • Follow the steps above in the “How to create a segment in GA4” section to reach the segment builder. In the segment builder, click the “Add Sequences to include” option.
Add Sequences to include
Click on add sequence to include
  • Define the sequence by selecting the desired events or actions from the dropdown menus and specifying the order in which they should occur. You can add multiple steps to create a more complex sequence. Give your segment a name and click on “Save”.
GA4 Sequence Segment
Add more steps to GA4 sequence segment

Another useful functionality of the segment builder is the ability to exclude a specific audience from a segment. To do this, you can use the “Exclude” feature in the segment builder. Here’s how:

  • Follow the steps mentioned above to reach the segment builder. In the segment builder, click the “Add group to exclude” option.
Add group to exclude
Add a group to exclude in GA4 segment
  • Select the criteria that define the audience you want to exclude.
Set up audience to exclude
Set up an audience to exclude
  • Give your segment a name and click on “Save.”

The GA4 segment builder also offers other functionalities, such as filtering by user properties, combining multiple conditions. These features allow you to create more complex and customised segments to analyse your data effectively.

Some other functionalities include:

  • Filtering by user properties: You can filter your data based on user properties like demographics, device information, or custom user properties you have defined.
Filter your ga4 segment by Device Brand
Filtering a segment by device brand
  • Combining multiple conditions: You can combine multiple conditions using the “OR” or “AND” operators to create more complex segments.
Filtering by device brand and interests
Filtering by device brand and interests

For more detailed instructions and examples, refer to the Google documentation in the link: Google Documentation.

Real GA4 segment examples:

In this section, let’s look at some GA4 segment examples to help further enhance your understanding of this topic.

Example #1: Users who abandoned checkout process

  • Follow the steps above to reach the segment builder by selecting the user segment custom type.
Selecting User Segment
Selecting User Segment
  • In the segment builder, go to the “Conditions” tab. Add a condition for the event “begin_checkout” in the include users condition and exclude users who made purchases. See image below for details. Give your segment a name like “Abandoned Checkout” and click on “Save.”
Users who abandoned checkout process
Users who abandoned the checkout process

Example #2: Google CPC Mobile Traffic

  • Follow the steps above to reach the segment builder by selecting the session segment custom type.
Selecting Session Segment in GA4
Selecting Session Segment in GA4
  • In the segment builder, go to the “Conditions” tab. Add a condition for “Traffic source > Source” and set it to “Equals” google and another condition for medium and set it to “Equals” = cpc. This time, add another condition by clicking the “AND” button. Add the condition for “Device > Device category” and set it to “Equals” mobile. Give your segment a name like “Google CPC Mobile Traffic” and click on “Save”.
Google CPC Mobile Traffic
Google CPC Mobile Traffic

Example #3: First new users’ visits, excluding ones with “login” event

  • Follow the steps above to reach the segment builder by selecting the session segment custom type.
Selecting Session Segment in GA4
Selecting Session Segment in GA4
  • In the segment builder, go to the “Conditions” tab. In the “include session when” section, add a condition for “Events > first_visit”.Next, use the exclude condition to exclude sessions with login event. Give your segment a name like “First new users’ visit” and click on “Save”.
Real New Users
First new users’ visits, excluding ones with “login” event

These examples demonstrate how you can use the GA4 segment builder to create segments based on specific criteria, allowing you to analyze and understand different subsets of your data.

How to use GA4 segments in Google Looker Studio

Currently, GA4 users cannot directly use GA4 segments in Google Looker Studio. However, you can still leverage GA4 data in Looker Studio by integrating it with BigQuery, Google’s data warehouse solution. Here’s how you can use GA4 segments in Looker Studio through BigQuery:

First, set up a BigQuery integration. Connect your GA4 property to BigQuery. Click here to read our detailed article on how to connect GA4 with BigQuery.

Next, create a Looker project. Set up a Looker project and connect it to your BigQuery dataset, where the GA4 data is stored. This will enable Looker to access and query your GA4 data.

Then, define the GA4 segment logic. In Looker, you can specify the segment logic based on the GA4 segment criteria you want to use. You can create custom dimensions, measures, or filters in Looker that align with your desired segment criteria.

Now, build reports and dashboards. Utilise Looker’s modelling and visualisation capabilities to create reports and dashboards based on the GA4 segment logic you defined. You can analyse and visualise your GA4 data using Looker’s intuitive interface and powerful features.

By integrating GA4 data with BigQuery and utilising Looker Studio, you can effectively analyse and visualise your GA4 data, even though direct usage of GA4 segments in Looker Studio is not currently available.

GA4 segments limitations

While GA4 segments provide powerful customization options for data analysis, it is important to be aware of certain limitations. These limitations include the inability to share GA4 segments across different properties or with users outside your property, as sharing is currently limited to within the same GA4 property. Additionally, in GA4, you can only create up to 10 segments per exploration, and for a single exploration technique, you can utilise a maximum of four segments at a time. Furthermore, GA4 segments are subject to a maximum size limit of 100,000,000 rows due to data sampling. Lastly, it is worth noting that not all GA4 reports and features support the use of custom segments, as segments can only be used in exploration reports.

Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4 segments

The differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) segments include:

  1. Segment Types: In Universal Analytics, there were only two segments: User and session segments. GA4 segments, on the other hand, have an events segment included.
  1. Segment Sharing: In Universal Analytics, you could share segments across different properties and with other users. GA4 segments, however, can only be used within the same GA4 property.
  1. Segment Availability: In Universal Analytics segments, you could use segments in various reports and features within the Universal Analytics interface. GA4 segments, on the other hand, have limitations in terms of their availability in certain reports or features. They are not made available in standard reports but only in exploration reports.

Do you need help to set up GA4 segments?

We have established the importance of using GA4 segments in your exploration reports to provide valuable and granular insights. If you need help setting up GA4 segments, contact our agency for expert assistance. Our team of specialists will provide comprehensive guidance and support in creating segments that meet your specific business needs. Contact us today to ensure accurate and effective GA4 segment definition.

Final Word

In summary, GA4 segments are vital in extracting valuable insights from your analytics data. This feature allows you to categorise and analyse specific groups of users based on various criteria, such as demographics, behaviours, or interactions. By setting up GA4 segments effectively, you can gain a deeper understanding of your audience, track their actions, and make informed decisions to optimise your marketing strategies. 

It is essential to align your segments with your business objectives and regularly review and refine them to adapt to changing user behaviours. With well-defined GA4 segments, you can leverage the power of data to drive growth and achieve success in your business endeavours.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does GA4 have segments?

Yes, GA4 does have segments. Segments in GA4 allow you to group and analyse specific subsets of your user data based on various criteria you set. These criteria can include demographics, behaviours, events, or any other custom dimensions you have set up.

How many segments can you create in GA4?

In GA4, you can create up to 100 segments per property. This allows you to define and analyse various subsets of your user data based on different criteria. It provides flexibility in segmenting your audience and gaining insights into specific user groups or behaviours.

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