I’m very excited to announce that Discover’s lat­est release includes a new, more-powerful Seg­ment Builder. The team has been work­ing like crazy to make this new fea­ture ready for prime time, and I’m excited to show you what it can do.

The Dis­cover 3.2 seg­ment builder includes a num­ber of really pow­er­ful con­cepts: sequen­tial seg­men­ta­tion, time-based seg­men­ta­tion, exclu­sion, and seg­ment sub-components. Taken alone, each one of these is already an incred­i­bly use­ful tool, but it’s when they all come together that the real magic hap­pens. For exam­ple, I can now look very specif­i­cally at vis­i­tors who come to my site and search for a par­tic­u­lar type of prod­uct, then cre­ate an account with­out buy­ing the prod­uct, but do come back and buy it within a month of reg­is­ter­ing. Oh, and this can all hap­pen across any num­ber of vis­its, of course.

We’ll keep div­ing into those very spe­cific kinds of use cases over the next few weeks. For now, though, I’m going to talk about a few of the new capa­bil­i­ties in the tool.

Sequen­tial segmentation

Sequen­tial Seg­men­ta­tion” may have a decep­tively sim­ple name, but it’s an incred­i­bly pow­er­ful piece of func­tion­al­ity. Of all the cool new fea­tures in the Seg­ment Builder, this is def­i­nitely my favorite. Sequen­tial seg­men­ta­tion allows you to build seg­ments based on sequences of hits, events, and visits. You can even include vis­i­tor con­tain­ers in a sequence, in a way — if you do, they’ll change to “logic group” con­tain­ers, which hold as much of a visitor’s his­tory as is nec­es­sary for the sequence (within the bounds of the report­ing time­frame). You can think of them as exist­ing on the spec­trum in between “visit” and “vis­i­tor”, and they only come into play when you’re build­ing sequen­tial seg­ments. Since a “vis­i­tor” con­tainer spans the full his­tory of that vis­i­tor (within that report­ing time­frame), it doesn’t make sense to put a vis­i­tor in sequence. Instead, to use them in a sequence, we change “vis­i­tor” con­tain­ers over to “logic group” con­tain­ers. If that quick overview didn’t make sense, don’t worry — we’ll cover logic groups in more depth in a future blog post.

SCREENSHOT - visits that include a product overview page then a review page then an add to cart confirmation page

Let’s say I want to get a bet­ter look at how view­ing prod­uct reviews might affect other aspects of a visitor’s behav­ior. In the exam­ple above, I’ve built a seg­ment that cap­tures all vis­its that include prod­uct overview page view, fol­lowed by a prod­uct review page view, fol­lowed by an add-to-cart con­fir­ma­tion page view.

Dig­ging a lit­tle deeper into how it’s actu­ally built, the outer con­tainer is a “visit” con­tainer, restrict­ing our scope to a sin­gle visit. If had made it a “vis­i­tor” con­tainer instead, those page views could occur in that sequence at across a vis­i­tors full his­tory (within the bounds of the report­ing time­frame), span­ning as many vis­its as nec­es­sary. Nested within that outer “visit” con­tainer, I have three “page view” con­tain­ers, each con­nected by a “THEN” state­ment, mean­ing that they must occur in sequence. If I had used an “AND” state­ment instead, my seg­ment would include vis­its that had those pages in any order, instead of the spe­cific sequence I defined above.

Time-based seg­men­ta­tion

Time-based seg­men­ta­tion, our sec­ond piece of new func­tion­al­ity, intro­duces the con­cept of a span of time within a seg­ment. You’ve always been able to define the time frame in which a seg­ment oper­ates, sim­ply by chang­ing the report time­frame. This new capa­bil­ity goes well beyond that, though, let­ting you define spans of time around a par­tic­u­lar hit or event. You can also define spans of “occur­rences”. One thing to note is that these are hit-based, not page view based, so 1 occur­rence may not equal 1 page view if you have cus­tom link track­ing enabled, for example.

SCREENSHOT - visitors that commented on an article 2 months after they registered

As an exam­ple, I might want to take a look at whether vis­i­tors who reg­is­ter on my site remain active in view­ing and com­ment­ing on arti­cles over the longer term. In the exam­ple above, I’ve built a seg­ment that con­tains vis­i­tors who com­ment on an arti­cle more than two months after registering.

There’s an outer “vis­i­tor” con­tainer, mean­ing that I want to look at the entire vis­i­tor his­tory (again, within the report­ing time­frame), inside of which are two visit con­tain­ers. The first looks for a visit con­tain­ing a reg­is­tra­tion event, and the sec­ond for a visit con­tain­ing a com­ment event. The time-based aspect comes into play with the “THEN” state­ment, specif­i­cally, the “after 2 months” part. As you’ve prob­a­bly guessed, this means that the “com­ment” visit must occur more than 2 weeks from the “register”.

Exclu­sion

Although exclu­sion is not a new piece of func­tion­al­ity for Dis­cover seg­ments, we’ve now intro­duced the abil­ity to exclude time frames and pieces of a sequence. This com­bi­na­tion of con­cepts lets you drill down very specif­i­cally into par­tic­u­lar audiences.

SCREENSHOT - visitors who viewed an overview page and then did not subscribe, but did subscribe after the next 2 months

For exam­ple, I might want to look at the actions of vis­i­tors who take a very long time to sub­scribe. In the exam­ple above, I’ve built a seg­ment that pulls out vis­i­tors who viewed an overview page but did not sub­scribe within the next 2 months, but did even­tu­ally sub­scribe. Here, I’ve used the “within 2 months” time des­ig­na­tion (sim­i­lar to the “time-based seg­men­ta­tion” exam­ple above), but excluded sub­scrip­tion from that time frame. Then, I use a “THEN” state­ment to add an even­tual sub­scrip­tion to the sequence.

Seg­ment sub-components

Finally, you can now use pre­vi­ously defined seg­ments as pieces of new seg­ments. Sim­ply drag them in from the seg­ment panel. This makes seg­ment def­i­n­i­tion much more effi­cient; for exam­ple, you can pull in a pre­vi­ously defined “social engagers” seg­ment and imme­di­ate start defin­ing your audi­ence more specif­i­cally, rather than need to rebuild the com­po­nents of that seg­ment as your first step.

That’s all I have for today — look for a series of fol­lowup posts in the com­ing weeks that dive deeper into spe­cific use cases.

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