We use cookies. You have options. Cookies help us keep the site running smoothly and inform some of our advertising, but if you’d like to make adjustments, you can visit our Cookie Notice page for more information.
We’d like to use cookies on your device. Cookies help us keep the site running smoothly and inform some of our advertising, but how we use them is entirely up to you. Accept our recommended settings or customise them to your wishes.

Data Studio 101: GA Segments in Data Studio

Since its release there has been a hole in Data Studio caused by the lack of GA Segments. That hole has now been filled, opening up a huge amount of flexibility when it comes to building a report.

The Ultimate Weapon

If you’re in Data Studio now you may have noticed a new addition to the graphs and charts using a GA Data Source, a segmentation option. That’s right, the secret weapon of GA has made its way to Data Studio!

There are three types of segment that Data Studio can pull through from GA:

  • System: These are built by Google and cover a top-level series of segments.
  • Custom: These are the customised ones that you’ve created in Google Analytics.
  • Shared: These are the segments that have been explicitly shared with you.

Segments in Data Studio work in a similar way to data sources; there are a couple of conditions that need to be satisfied before the segment can be applied to a report:

  • Do you have access to this segment?

    If not, then you will need the creator of the segment to share it with you directly or change its view settings to collaboration.
  • Is the segment applicable to the view that’s in use?

    Even if you do have access to the segment it may be set to only be in use for the view it was originally created for. Again, you will need to check the settings of the segment before you’re able to use it in Data Studio. Once you’ve added the segment to the report you are considered the owner of that segment in that report. All other editors can then see and apply the segment to different visualisations in your report, which lends itself nicely to collaboration.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Now that you’re able to add your GA segments to Data Studio there are a few things that you need to know while making use of this newly found power. 

You can only have one segment per widget

This is a small limitation that may make it hard to compare the performance of different segments on the same chart. That said there is nothing stopping a report creator from building two visualisations side by side, with different segments applied to each.

Segments need to be created in GA first

There isn’t yet a segment builder in Data Studio; they are brought into your Data Studio account from GA so make sure you build them there first with the correct view settings before trying to apply them in Data Studio.

Changing data sources

Be aware that if you change the data source for a widget that is using a segment the segment won’t be removed so make sure that the segment is still relevant to the data source you have applied.

Synchronising segments

The Segments in Data Studio will update as you make changes in Google Analytics which means that you can make a change to the segment and see that change reflected in your report. The synchronisation of these segments happens in any of the below cases:

  • When someone clicks the “Refresh Data” button in the report.
  • When the cache requests fresh data
  • When Data Studio requests data for any other reason (e.g. reconnecting data sources)

This feature can be turned off by going to Resources > Manage Segments and turning off synchronisation. When you do this, the report will use the current copy of the segment and will not update until you turn it back on. 

Data Studio resources

Manage Data Studio segments

Copying reports and widgets

There are a few things to keep in mind when copying a report or elements of a report when it comes to segments. Depending on your permission levels, your copied segment will be affected in different ways.

Copying a report

  • If you have access to the segment in Google Analytics everything about the segment gets copied over as well (sync settings, definition and link to the segment in GA).
  • If you don't have access to the segment in Google Analytics only the definition gets copied over and synchronisation with the segment gets disabled.

Copying an element to a report

  • If the report you're copying an element to already has the segment added and you have access to said segment in Google Analytics, the element gets a copy of the definition, sync settings and a link to the segment in GA.
  • If the segment has not been added to the new report only the segment definition gets copied over. The synchronisation setting will be disabled but if you have access to the segment in Google Analytics you can switch this back on. This is in place to protect the data of the person who originally added the segment.

Segments are a welcome addition to Data Studio that allow us to do so much more with our data visualisations. Data Studio 360 is now in open beta so anyone can access this free tool; there's no excuse for not trying it out. If you are looking for support or just some advice on Data Studio 360, please get in touch with our experts.