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Google Analytics Has Finally Given Audiences The Home They Deserve

For a while we have been able to create audiences in GA and send them to Adwords and DoubleClick. However, besides creating segments mimicking these audience lists, there was no easy way to see how they were performing against onsite GA engagement metrics. This new report now provides analysts with that insight.

The new Audiences report in GA will show selected audience lists built for remarketing and Optimize as a primary dimension, enabling users to measure audience performance against onsite engagement metrics.

Why this report?

The report will solve the problems we’ve had in the past where Audiences have been pushed to external tools but aren’t easily measured in the rest of GA reports.

Previously, the only way to view audience performance in GA was by applying them to other reports as advanced segments. This unfortunately has its limitations, with sampling or with the restriction of only being able to apply a maximum of four segments to any given report, for example. In addition, they are also tied to a date range and do not maintain user ‘state’ by default.

What are the differences between segments and the new report?

In a nutshell, segments allow you to understand users who did ‘x’ on a specified report’s date range, whereas the Audiences report shows you all users who have ever done ‘x’. Nice! 

Why the excitement?

It’s a new report! Found in Audience > Audiences, this report can be used in the following ways:

  • To see the performance of your audiences in a default page;
  • To see performance by drilling down on an Audience and seeing how it overlaps with other dimensions;
  • To use the audience within advanced segments, allowing you to combine the audience with secondary dimensions to understand performance when paired with other dimensions;
  • To create lookalike audiences for the ones that deliver fewer users but convert well, and increase your spend to those users;
  • To create new audience lists, for example if you see that an audience is performing well, you can then adjust your marketing budget to bid on ads for those users;
  • On the flip side, to reduce spend on audiences that are not performing well and concentrate on those that are.

Audiences report in Google Analytics

You will not have data in this report when you first open it because you will need to create the audiences or choose from your existing lists to send to GA.

How do I get them in GA?

I’m glad you asked! The steps below are not new as they’re the same as the ones you would go through when creating audiences for RLSA, Optimize or DBM. The only difference is that this time you select 'Analytics' as the destination.

  1. Go to Admin > Property and select the property in which you want to create the audience;
  2. Now go to Property > Audience Definitions > Audiences and select New Audience;
  3. Select View > Select Destination, which in this case is ‘Analytics’;
  4. You can now select the predefined ones, create new or import from you’re your existing segments;
  5. Once you’ve selected your definitions and given your audience a name, click ‘Save’.

Hint: You can select more than one destination to send your Audience.

If you want to use the existing audience and send it to GA, you can do so by clicking into the Audience > Audience Destinations > Add Destination > Select Google Analytics and Publish.

There are some limits on how many audiences one can send to Analytics. You can have a maximum of 20 audiences published to Analytics at any one time.

Note: Audiences can only be enabled if you have Demographics and Interests reporting in place. Data will start collecting from the moment of set up, so make sure you build them earlier on to collect data. Alternatively, send them to all destinations (though bear in mind GA limits). The audiences are also available for export in BigQuery and API but not currently surfaced in MCF and intra-day is also not supported.

Now go ahead and create those segments and if you need help defining them please get in touch with our experts.