Adobe Analytics Segment Containers

In my last post about the basics of Analytics segments, I briefly touched upon the segment containers: hit, visit and visitor. However, I remember how long it took me to understand them initially. And not only me; some of my clients did not find it easy to learn exactly how the different segment containers work. I have decided to explain it so you can understand them once and for all, if you still struggle with them.

Segment Containers Diagram

When I have had to explain the different segment containers, I have found very useful the following diagram. It depicts a number of visitors who have visited the website on various occasions and, each time, performed different actions on the website:

analytics segments containers

Notes:

  • S: start of visit
  • E: end of visit
  • PV: page view
  • TL: track link

Using this diagram as the reference, let’s now dive into the different segment containers.

Hit-based segments

When you choose this option when creating a segment, you are actually selecting individual hits that qualify for a specific condition; everything else is discarded. In other words, your report, after applying this segment, will only show the information related to those selected hits. As an example, if I create a hit-based segment of red hits, I only get:

  • Two hits
    • PV2 of visit 1 of visitor 1
    • PV1 of visit 1 of visitor 3
  • Two visits
  • Two visitors

Quiz time: what do you get if you create a hit-based segment of blue hits?

Visit-based segment

As you might start to understand by now, with a visit-based segment you get all the hits of the visit where the qualification happened. In other words, those hits which do not qualify for the condition, but are in a visit where, at list, one hit qualified for the condition, are taken into account. For example, a visit-based segment where the condition is a white hit, will only exclude the second visit of visitor 1. All other hits, visits and visitors will show up in the report, as all visits except for the aforementioned visit, contain, at least, one white hit.

Quiz time: what do you get if you create a visit-based segment and the condition is a yellow hit?

Visitor-based segment

Finally, with a visitor-based segment, you probably have correctly guessed it: a visitor needs to qualify for the segment, as long as just one hit of that visitor, on any visit, qualifies for the condition. All hits and all visits from that visitor are taken into account in the reports. For example, a visitor-based segment where the condition is a green hit, will include everything of visitors 1 and 2, but will exclude visitor 3 altogether.

Quiz time: what is the outcome of a visitor-based segment where the condition is a blue hit?

Combination of conditions

As you know, you can combine conditions with three operands: AND, OR and THEN. The same logic as above still applies, but now taking into account more conditions. Let’s consider the following segment: a visit-based segment where the conditions are a green and a white hit. I am quite sure you did not have to think too much to get the correct answer: only the two visits (with all its hits) of visitor 2.

Quiz time: what will the result be of a visit-based segment of a blue hit and THEN a red hit?

Quiz results

  • What do you get if you create a hit-based segment of blue hits?
    8 hits, all 7 visits and all 3 visitors
  • What do you get if you create a visit-based segment and the condition is a yellow hit?
    Visit 2 of visitor 1 and visit 1 of visitor 2
  • What is the outcome of a visitor-based segment where the condition is a blue hit?
    All hits, all visits and all visitors
  • What will the result be of a visit-based segment of a blue hit and THEN a red hit?
    Just visit 1 of visitor 1

 

13 thoughts on “Adobe Analytics Segment Containers”

  1. Absolutely brilliant article! I’ve been struggling to grasp this for some time now, and to be honest Adobe’s explanation isn’t as simply put. Bookmarking for future reference, and well done!!! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Regarding reporting on hits, If we report on the Visit and Visitor level, is it not sound to report # of hits? I notice in the Quiz Answers that the only Hits are only addressed when reporting on the Hit level. This is a point where folks, including myself, seem to get tripped up. Thanks, Pedro!

    Reply
    • Hi Grant,
      You can still report on hits or page views when you use visit or visitor containers. A visit container will include or exclude all the hits within the visit. A visitor container will include or exclude all the hits of the visitor. Does this make sense?

      Reply
      • Thanks Pedro! That does make sense. So then on the flip side, is it not sound to pull something like Visits or Avg Time on Site when segmenting on the Hit level?

      • got it – thank you for the response, Pedro! What would be interesting to from Adobe is a table of hit-/visit-/visitor-level metrics. I’m surprised that one doesn’t exist yet, as that would be helpful for folks who’ve had the same question…!

      • Well, in theory, you can still use any metric, Analytics will not prevent you from using them. And, if you know what you are doing, it may make sense. I did not want to get into all the details in my previous reply, to avoid confusion, but I see that you see beyond the basics. For example, with hit-based segments, the visitors metrics will give you the number of visitors who qualify for the hit-based segment, even if only one hit qualifies; this number may be lower than the total number of visitors, though. So, unless you understand what you are doing, it can lead to misunderstanding, but it actually makes sense.

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