Fans are important to a business. They are its biggest advocates, and account for 80% of its success as per the Pareto principle. Here's how you can gain insight into your fans (and potential fans) using Google Analytics.

Step 1:

On the Dashboard page, click on "All Visits" to display a list of advanced segments that are available to your profile.

Deselect the "All Visits" checkbox.

Dashboard - Advanced Segments

Step 2:

Choose one of the following default segments:

1. Returning Visitors

Visitors with a tracking cookie stored on their computer from a previous visit to the site are registered as a returning visitor.

2. Direct Traffic

Visitors who reached your site through a bookmark or by typing in a URL are considered to be direct visitors.

3. Non-bounce Visits

Visits where more than one page was viewed are counted as non-bounced visits.

Advanced Segments

Step 3:

Browse reports. I suggest looking through the Top Content report to see which pages your fans tend to like. This can be found in the Content section of Analytics.


You can create a custom advanced segment that combines the three default segments mentioned above. Simply click on "Create a new advanced segment", and enter the dimension and metric conditions as shown below.

Custom Advanced Segment

That's it for now. :)


Shockley Au

Shockley is an experienced digital marketing consultant, helping businesses succeed online through SEM/PPC, SEO, Social Media, and Web Analytics. He is certified in Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Bing Ads, and also blogs at State of Digital. Follow him on Twitter @ShockleyAu.

Shockley Au

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17 Responses to “3 Simple Steps to Identify Your Fans in Google Analytics”

  1. Ileane says:

    Hi Shockley. This is a feature of Google Analytics that I haven't explored yet. I think people focus so much on search engine traffic that they take their direct traffic for granted. This will give some insights to their behavior on your site. Thanks for the instructions.
    .-= Ileane recently posted: Blogging Extension ScribeFire Comes to Chrome =-.

  2. What I don't know about Google Analytics is a lot!

    Your post did give me some practical advice on how to get more out of it though – so thank you, Shockley.

    Ana Hoffman
    .-= Ana @ Targeted Website Traffic recently posted: Best of The Web- 30 Ultimate Tips To Dramatically Reduce Blog Bounce Rate =-.

  3. Shockley Au says:

    @Ileane: You're very welcome. There definitely seems to be a strong focus on keywords and search engine traffic (understandably). However, insight into "fan" traffic is good for identifying what content works and resonates with visitors.

  4. Hi Shockley,

    I recently put up my first site. And my second and third! This is valuable info for a new site owner like me.


    .-= Lesley "Wes" Klatt recently posted: Week 3- Generating Traffic =-.

  5. Ando says:

    thank you for this, I'm a new user of analytics and did not know of this, I will check this out now . thanks again.
    .-= Ando recently posted: Oferta – Adecuacion de Locales- Oficinas- Casas y Apartamentos =-.

  6. benwaynet says:

    At this point I'm still just watching my stats trying to increase my traffic and comments. Once I get a larger userbase, I'll dig deeper into stats. When you only get a few hundred a week, there's not much to look at :)
    .-= benwaynet recently posted: Follow Friday =-.

  7. Shockley Au says:

    @Lesley: I'm glad I can help. Good luck with your new sites. :)

    @Ando: You're welcome. There are other advanced segments you can test out too.

    @Jason: A few hundred visits is a start. If you want "more to look at", then try selecting a wider date range. The larger data set can help with accurately pinpointing what type of content works. Hopefully your site is well-structured and categorized, in which case you can simply apply some filters and voilà!

  8. Dave George says:

    Direct Traffic Visitors can be also be 1st time visitors who will never come back !

  9. Shockley Au says:

    @Dave: That's true, but chances are that if they reached your site directly, then they've been there before. 😉

  10. Aleksandar says:

    Great idea. Although, I would try without bounce segmentation, too, since regular visitors could just drop by to check what's new. Thta could make bounce 100% on that visits.
    .-= Aleksandar recently posted: Kako Google gleda na DJ i Đ =-.

  11. Shockley Au says:

    @Aleksandar: Very true. Including bounced visits could make sense in some cases, like for bounces to the homepage of a blog.

  12. Jeff says:

    Shockley, thanks for the reminder. I always wonder why "direct" numbers are so high, and I keep thinking the only source of direct traffic is "type-in" traffic. Keep forgetting there is such a thing as a bookmark….!

  13. Shockley Au says:

    @Jeff: You're welcome. I think that "direct" is also the default traffic source if GA can't determine any other sources.

  14. Daryl Tay says:


    First, great post. I'm playing around with Google Analytics myself and this was useful.

    One question though, if you're not running an e-commerce site (like I am), would non-bounce traffic be important?

    For example, I came to your site after searching "google analytics non-bounce segment", pretty much got the answer I want, and left.

    Under the non-bounce segment, my visit may not appear and when you check the search terms used by your non-bounce segment, would you be missing out on my search term (and other data) because I was classified under the bounce segment?

    .-= Daryl Tay recently posted: Citibank – In Need Of A Better Mobile Strategy =-.

  15. Shockley Au says:

    @Daryl: Thanks!

    Given the structure of your site (blog that has full posts on the homepage), looking at Non-bounce Visits won't be as helpful in identifying your fans. For example, a loyal follower could visit your site every day, fully read the latest post, and then leave without clicking anything (bounced visit).

    In your situation of finding this blog, it would be counted as a bounced visit. You landed directly on this post from Google, and then left.

    But for a "fan" of this blog, chances are they would visit the blog homepage, see a post they're interested in, then click through to read the entire post (non-bounced visit).

    Another thing to note is that a segment is not the same thing as a filter. I wouldn't be able to see your search term with only the "Non-bounce Visits" segment applied, but the data isn't completely lost, and can be accessed again by selecting the "All Visits" segment.

    Hope that helps!

  16. Richard says:

    Good breakdown of Google analytics and analyzing your blogs returning visitors. I retweeted this post.
    .-= Richard recently posted: How to Promote Your Blog Article =-.

  17. Shockley Au says:

    @Richard: Thanks for the comment and retweet! :)