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Use Universal Analytics segments

Use Google Analytics segments in your Looker Studio reports.
This article applies only to reports based on Universal Analytics. Google Analytics 4 segments are not supported by Looker Studio.

In Google Analytics, a segment is a subset of your data. For example, of your entire set of users, one segment might be users from a particular country or city. Another segment might be users who purchase a particular line of products or who visit a specific part of your site. However segments appear in different places, and have a few different features depending upon which kind of property you're using them in.

Learn more about the differences between segments in Universal Analytics vs. Google Analytics 4 properties.

You can apply segments defined in Universal Analytics to your Looker Studio charts. This helps ensure that your Looker Studio and Universal Analytics reports show the same data.

In this article:

Add a segment to a component

  1. Edit your report.
  2. Select a chart or control that is based on a Universal Analytics data source.
  3. On the right, in the component's Setup properties panel, click "Add" iconAdd a Segment.
  4. Use the segment picker to select a segment.
    • You can add a new system segment, custom segment, or shared segment to the report. You can also select a previously added segment.

A Looker Studio component can have only 1 segment applied.

Only the segments to which you have access in your Universal Analytics view will appear in the segment picker. You don't need to add system segments, as these are automatically added to your Universal Analytics-based reports.

Change an existing segment

  1. Select the component whose segment you want to change.
  2. In the component's Setup properties panel, click the current segment.
  3. Use the segment picker to apply or add a different segment.

Remove a segment from a component

Removing a segment from a component means that component won't be filtered by that segment. You (or another editor) can still use that segment on other components.

  1. Select the component whose segment you want to remove.
  2. In the component's Setup properties panel, hover over the segment, then click X.

How segments in Looker Studio work

Segments in Looker Studio work just like they do in Universal Analytics. Applying a segment to a Looker Studio report filters the data exactly as it would in your Analytics reports and dashboards. You have access to the same segments in Looker Studio as you do in your Universal Analytics view.

Types of segments

Universal Analytics provides 3 types of segments:

  • System: predefined segments available to all users in any view. You don't need to do anything special to use these in your Looker Studio reports.
  • Custom: user defined segments. These can include custom metrics and dimensions, which might not be available in all views.
  • Shared: segments that have been shared with you by other Analytics users.

You must add custom and shared segments to your reports before you can use them. System segments are already available for you to use.

Once you've added a given segment to your report, you, as well as other editors of the report, can apply it to any Universal Analytics-based components. You can apply segments to a single chart, a group of charts, a page, or to your entire report.

Learn how to add a segment to your report.

What adding a segment means

The first time you select a custom or shared segment to use in a Looker Studio report, that segment gets added to the report. To add a segment to a report:

  • You must be able to edit that report
  • You must have access to that segment in Universal Analytics
  • The data source for that report or component must be based on the Universal Analytics view in which that segment is defined

When you add a segment to a report:

  • You are considered to be the "owner" of that segment in that report
  • A copy of that segment's current definition in Universal Analytics is added to that report
  • A link to that segment's definition in Universal Analytics is stored with the report
  • That segment appears in the Added segments section of the segments picker
  • You can apply that segment to other components in the report
  • Other editors of that report can also apply that segment to components in the report
  • If you (or anyone else) makes a copy of that report, the new report will contain that segment

What applying a segment to a component means

Once a segment is added to a report, editors can apply it to components in that report. Doing this causes the data displayed by that component to be filtered according to the segment definition currently in effect.

Synchronize segments with Universal Analytics

Looker Studio keeps the segments in your Looker Studio reports synchronized with Universal Analytics. This means you can update the segment definition in Analytics and see your changes reflected in your Looker Studio reports.

When does synchronization happen?

Synchronization happens whenever the data in the report refreshes, for example:

  • When you (or someone else) clicks the Refresh data button in your report header
  • When the cache expires,
  • When Looker Studio requests fresh data for any reason

Turn synchronization off

You can turn segment synchronization off using the Resource > Manage segments menu. When synchronization is off, the segment uses the current copy of the definition and will not update it when the report is refreshed. This lets you try new segment definitions in Analytics without changing your Looker Studio reports.

Learn more about managing segments.

Copy reports and components with segments

When you copy a report, or copy a component from one report to another, any added segments get copied as well. However, depending on your access to the segment, certain rules apply:

When you copy a report...

If you have access to the segment in Universal Analytics, both the segment definition and the link to the segment in Analytics get copied to the new report. The sync property (either on or off) gets copied as well.

If you don't have access to the segment in Universal Analytics, only the segment definition gets copied to the new report. The link is not copied, and synchronization is disabled.

When you copy a component...

If you copy a component to a report that already has the original segment added, and you have access to that segment in Universal Analytics, the new component gets a copy of the segment, as well as the link to Analytics. The sync property (either on or off) gets copied as well.

If the segment has not been added to the report, only the segment definition gets copied. Synchronization is disabled. If you have access to the segment in Universal Analytics, you can turn the sync property back on by clicking the icon next to the segment in the properties panel for that component. Otherwise, synchronization is disabled and you can't turn it back on. This helps protect the data of the person who originally added the segment.

Limits of segments

Number of segments: You can only apply a single segment to a component.

Changing data sources: If you change the data source for a component that has a custom segment applied, and the new data source connects to a Universal Analytics view that doesn't contain the same dimensions, metrics, filters, or other configuration options used by the segment, then that segment may no longer work as expected. If this is the case, it may be difficult to detect that the segment is no longer being applied. For these reasons, you should avoid changing the data sources for components with custom segment unless you are sure the new data source supports that segment.

About segments (opens in the Google Analytics Help Center)

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