Adobe Analytics Segments | What You Can Do With Them

Adobe Analytics Segments | What You Can Do With Them

When you click into Adobe Analytics’ Segment Builder for the first time, it’s a blank canvas with drag-and-drop functionality. Without any prior segmenting experience, it can seem overwhelming because you just don’t know where to start. But once you start digging into what the Segment Builder offers, you’d most likely never want to stop using it. 

The Segment Builder is a powerful tool with a wide range of conditional options to pretty much build any data set you need. There’s only been one single instance where I ran into issues of isolating a target scenario, but I’ve built 1000s of segments. I guess you can call me the “segment hoarder.” I never deleted my personal segments. Ha. 

To start from the very beginning, let’s check out what a basic segment is. 

A basic segment will isolate a specific data set temporarily to help you perform analyses on the go without affecting the raw data permanently. A segment is based on a variety of conditions, logic, and rules, so you can create a view of any scenario you need. 

The typical segments that non-analysts use are based on one filter, whether they visited a certain page, came from a certain channel, or a certain device category. But segments have much more flexibility than this in Adobe Analytics. 

It’d be a shame for you to not play around with it! So let’s look into what you can really do with Adobe Analytics segments.

Nesting Containers 

In the Segment Builder, you’ll notice that each dimension or metric you drag into the canvas becomes a single bar with a color marker on the left. These individual variables, as we’ll call it, can be inserted into actual containers. 

How do you add a container? Head over to the “Options” link on the top right of the canvas and select “Add Container.” It’s just as simple as that. You would just have to drag the individual variables into the containers you want. 

With containers, you can organize variables into different containers to get even more specific with your segment. Each container can be set to the “Hit,” “Visit,” “Visitor”  level. So what does this mean? 

Let’s take this as an example. We want to look at visitors who have reached a product page for shoes, but also made an order in the last 60 days. One way to create this specific segment is using a Hit container and a Visit container within a Visitor segment. Follow me? 

What you would do is…

The Hit container will include the Page contains “blue-shoes” for instance. 

Then, add a separate Visit container. Drag in the Order dimension and set it to be “is greater or equal to 1.” In the same container, add in “Last 60 Days” dimension and make sure the two variables are set to “AND.” 

Lastly, the highest level of the segment is set to the “Visitor.” Setting it to the “Visitor” level links both target actions to a single user’s behavior, no matter how many times they visited.  

Why did we set it up this way? 

The Hit container is meant to capture one single activity that happened at any time by a Visitor. The Visit container then captures “a set of criteria within a single visit” of the Visitor, meaning the Visitor had to make an order AND within the last 60 days. And that is why we set up the segment with separate containers. 

Nesting can get complex when you want to look at very specific behavior. But it can give you flexibility in finding the exact target audience. Think of nesting like story-building where you have your conjoining clauses with “AND,” and “OR” and each container relates to a different chapter in the user’s story. 

Sequential Segments

Speaking of stories, this is when segmenting gets really juicy. You can start doing segments where you can filter a user based on what they do in order. I must say, this is one of the pathing capabilities that Adobe excels in. 


You’ll notice in addition to the conjoining clauses like “And” and “Or,” there is a “Then” option. With “THEN,” you can pick what goes first and what goes next in one container, or multiple containers even. 

Rather than setting containers for random, separate chapters of a Visitor, you can put containers in order to follow a certain path. For instance, sequential segments are most useful for ecommerce analyses as you want to drill down on how many people went through the exact checkout process. Sometimes (or most of the time), users won’t finish a checkout within the first visit, so using the “THEN” clause will help you isolate how many visitors match the exact path in multiple visits..

Only Before Sequence, Only After Sequence

But maybe you’re not interested in the actual sequence you set up. You have the option to toggle between “include everyone,” “only before sequence,” and “only after sequence” to really see what else users do. 

Only Before Sequence: All hits before the last occurrence of specified sequence and its first hit (or step)

Only After Sequence: All hits after the first occurrence of specified sequence and its last hit (or step)

This function can help you to drill down what creates the best setting to prompt users to enter the sequence. And the best setting to get users to return.

Time Within / Time After

Time Within and After are most useful in specifying time frames a user should perform an action. Obviously, you want the user to quickly do all the target actions at once, but that’s not normally the case. You can use these clauses to give them “extra” time to do something and see how many visitors fit a certain time frame. 

For instance, you can see if this user reached the checkout page after 1 week of visiting your home page, but within 2 weeks after that 1 week. 


Can’t forget a valuable tool as Exclusion! Exclusion can help you take out a group that did something you didn’t want. In any order, or in a specific order. You can exclude an entire container, an entire segment, or even just a single variable. The flexibility is endless here, especially with all the segment functionality we’ve already discussed.

Stacking Segments

Now this is why I became a segment hoarder. You don’t need to create a huge segment to capture everything you need for a data set. You can just use multiple segments at once and Adobe Analytics will automatically insert the conjoining clause “AND” for you. Just remember to take into account the logic you use for each one. 

An easy set of segments you can stack are types that are single characteristics of a single visitor. For instance, you create a list of the type of visitor you want. Just create those in separate segments and get to stacking! 


Again, this may all be overwhelming as segments rely on how advanced your Adobe Analytics implementation is. Each business has custom props and eVars, so if you need 1-on-1 help, we provide Adobe Analytics consulting here.

Looking for more personalized, advanced help with Adobe Analytics Site Catalyst?