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Caleb Whitmore
Works at Analytics Pros
Attended Seattle Pacific University
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Founder & CEO of Analytics Pros, Digital Analyst, Technology Marketer
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  • Analytics Pros
    Founder & CEO, 2009 - present
    Founder & CEO. Lead the consulting and strategy practices at Analytics Pros working with our clients including GoPro, Princess Cruises, Onswipe, ValueClick and hundreds more.
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    Founder, 2012 - 2014
    Founder of BEST Practices, a conference series where the thought leaders in Google Analytics come together with users to learn and share the latest features and best practices in Digital Analytics with the Google platform.
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    Director, Search Marketing & Web Analytics, 2004 - 2009
    Started and grew the Search & Analytics division of POP and launched the Google Analytics Certified Partnership at POP.
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    Founder, 1999 - 2005
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    Founder & Chair, 2011 - 2012
    Founded GAUGE, the Google Analytics User Conference. We ran four events between launch in early 2011 and close of the series in October of 2012, training hundreds of Google Analytics users across venues on both coasts of the United States.
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Entrepreneur, Digital Analytics geek, CEO of Analytics Pros
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I live in Seattle, Washington's Ballard Neighborhood with my wife, four kids and Alaskan Malamute, Boaz.  I work at Analytics Pros where I lead our Google Analytics Certified Partner consulting and digital analytics strategy practice.
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4 kids! Once upon a time was a competitive fly casting contender.
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Stream

 
+Luka Cempre does it again - using the +Google Analytics API in awesome ways, part 1: overview and management API: http://goo.gl/V2dh9r
Take advantage of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager API and eliminate errors, create consistency, and speed up the process of your analytics processes
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Caleb Whitmore

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Carmen,

I've seen some bizarre data with the new segmentation tool but I don't distrust it. The rules operate differently and it's less clear since they "improved" the UI to make it easier for more people to use.

Rather than using multiple conditions, try combining in your regex in a single condition. That may reduce the ambiguity on the segment.

Caleb
 
I've found an inconsistency when I segment via the API which I cannot find an explanation for. I'm wondering if it's a side effect of the new segmentation features.

Before I start, please do me a favour, query this segment for your own site in the GA Data Feed Explorer http://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/explorer/:

dynamic::ga:pagePath==/;ga:pagePath!=/

(add Visits as the metric)

This tells the API to return all the visits that both include AND exclude the homepage -- an impossibility. This query should return 0 visits. Yet I'm getting more than 0 (tried different sites). Please tell me what numbers you are getting.

Now, my problem:
I create 3 segments (all with regex match, below is the API expression):

Visits with Checkout Step 2:
ga:pagePath=~/checkout/step2
Returns: 58 visits

Visits with Checkout Step 2 AND Step 3:
ga:pagePath=~^/checkout/step2;ga:pagePath=~^/checkout/step3
Returns: 50 visits

Visits with Checkout Step 2 BUT NOT Step 3:
ga:pagePath=~^/checkout/step2;ga:pagePath!~^/checkout/step3
Returns: 58 visits even though it should only return  8 visits

The relationship between them should be:

Visits with Checkout Step 2 = 
Visits with Checkout Step 2 AND Step 3 + Visits with Checkout Step 2 BUT NOT Step 3

(the last 2 segments are mutually exclusive subsets of Visits with Checkout Step 2)

My problem is that I see no logical reason why Visits with Step 2 BUT NOT Step 3 should return 58 visits. It's almost as if the DOES NOT MATCH portion of my segment expression gets ignored.

Before the new segmentation feature was rolled out you simply added negative conditions to your segment in order to exclude visits that met a criteria. But now we have the ability to choose Include/Exclude AS WELL AS the ability to add conditions that don't match a criteria.

Let's take 2 examples:

Segment A created using 1 filter:
http://clearclu.es/1bJ0h0H

(Used Visits "Include" with one negative and one positive condition)

This should show me all visits with Step 2 BUT NOT Step 3

This segment expression according to Management API:
ga:pagePath!~^/checkout/step3;ga:pagePath=~^/checkout/step2 (seems correct)

Segment B created using 2 filters:
http://clearclu.es/1b0AOLG

(Used Visits "Include" AND "Exclude" with only positive conditions)

This should also show me all visits with Step 2 BUT NOT Step 3.

This segment expression according to Management API:
ga:pagePath=~^/checkout/step2;ga:pagePath=~^/checkout/step3
(incorrect, it's 2 positive conditions joined by AND even though in UI I clearly specified "exclude")



Unless it's so late in the evening that I'm missing something, the 2 segments should be equivalent. But they're not, and according to the Management API expression they are clearly not.
http://clearclu.es/1bJ4r8T

Segment B (2 filters with only positive conditions) returns the correct number of visits (8 visits). Segment A doesn't, it returns 58 visits (the negative condition seems to be ignored despite the AND).

http://clearclu.es/1bJ0WPG

Interestingly enough though, if I query Segment B by its gaid using the API, I get the correct result (8 visits). This must be what GA use in the UI.

Now, I understand that the new segmentation features won't be available in the API for some time but I would still expect to be able to segment visits the "old fashioned way" via the API and be able to trust the numbers.  I'm building an app based on the API and needless to say, this is a rather big issue.

Thoughts? Have I missed something glaringly obvious? Can you replicate the problem?

+Clancy Childs , +Caleb Whitmore , +Julien Coquet , +Stephane Hamel 
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6 comments
 
Caleb, that's precisely my point and my findings.

1. "Include" setting with "page does not contain /product/" - doesn't work (although it was the de facto method before the new segmentation features)

2. "Exclude" setting with "page contains /product/" - does work.
This is the crux of the issue.

- most analysts use option 1 (include setting) because that's the only one that used to be available. I doubt many of them realise that that option now returns incorrect results as there's no obvious way to tell.

- segments created prior to the new segmentation features (in either the UI or API) will now be incorrect as they were migrated over to use the Include settings (as per my last comment when I compared static report created before and after segmentation features).

- if you do a lot of work with the API (like I do), then you have no option of using the Exclude setting. I'm not talking about sequential segmentation which I can appreciate it will take some time before it's available in the API but a basic way to create a segment for "visits without products pages seen".

In light of this, can anyone suggest to me how I can create a segment in the API for "visits without product pages" ( /products/). I don't believe that basic functionality is now possible. 
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Many developers save time by using the Google Analytics API to automate Analytics reporting tasks. For example, you can use the API to create a dashboard to report data across multiple profiles. The G...
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Proud of my team for coming up with awesome solutions like this!  Thanks +Dan Rowe for the great post!
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3 comments
 
Thank-you for the information
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About time!
After a year of supporting both the old and new versions of Analytics, we are now fully transitioning and leaving the old version behind. This means that as of tomorrow we'll be removing the link to t...
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Google Analytics. Welcome to the Google Analytics official Forum! Here you will find answers to Analytics-related questions, discuss this product and meet with other Analytics users. This is a user Co...
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Caleb Whitmore

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Very cool. But, where is the glowing red circle?
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