Advanced Segments in Google Analytics: College Students


For many nonprofits, college students and young adults are a target audience. One Love is an organization that works with young people across the country to raise awareness about the warning signs of abuse and relationship violence. Active Minds is a nonprofit that empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking. Does your organization promote awareness among college students?
Imagine you recently ran a social media campaign targeted at college students, and you want to find out if it worked. For the campaign, you created a video series. Did college students watch it? There’s a Google Analytics report that can help you find out – the oft-neglected (and not very sexy) Internet Service Provider (ISP) report! We’re going to show you how to leverage ISP data in a creative custom segment to isolate traffic coming from colleges and universities.

Let’s get started

To see the ISPs sending traffic to your site, navigate to the Audience –> Technology –> Network section of GA.
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Under the ‘Service Provider’ dimension, you’ll see a list of standards service providers like Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Optimum Online, etc. But wait – there’s buried treasure here. Perform an advanced search on your data for ISPs matching ‘universit|college’ as shown below:
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Scroll down to get into the exciting stuff – see which colleges and universities are sending you traffic. Below is a screenshot from Whole Whale’s GA data. We love the vision of college students visiting our site in the library, studying up on Google Analytics and becoming young data ninjas!
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It’s cool to see which universities are sending you traffic, but this is just the tip of the insight iceberg. Create a ‘College/University Traffic’ segment to leverage the flexibility of GA custom segments. Once it’s created, it can be applied across all reports.
To set up the segment, navigate to the segment builder in GA, and click + NEW SEGMENT.
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Click ‘Conditions’. Select ‘Service Provider’ from the drop down menu and replicate the segment configuration below:
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This regular expression, or text pattern, captures ISPs containing ‘university’, ‘universities’, and ‘college’. Save your segment, and you’re ready to dig in. Apply the segment across your reports to see which pages college students are visiting, which resources they’re downloading, and whether they’re signing up for your emails. This can help you determine which content resonates with college students and identify new opportunities. You can also compare the behavior of this traffic segment to other segments to see how engagement differs.

What’s next?

Segmenting your audience is key to understanding the best ways to engage different user types. The ‘College/University Traffic’ segment shows you how college students are engaging. This is ideal if college students are your target demographic. Even if they’re not, the segment helps you understand how young donors, volunteers, and potential employees interact with your site.
Click here to import the ‘College / University Traffic’ segment and check out more GA configurations from Whole Whale in the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery.
Have questions about creating this segment, or about Google Analytics in general? Shoot us a message or tweet us @WholeWhale.