In Coremetrics you can analyze specific kinds of visitors by applying Report Segments. For example, you can make a segment for visitors from a certain marketing channel or who made a certain kind of purchase. I like using Report Segments because you can browse nearly the full set of standard reports for your segment, while Explore segments only let you view a very limited set of metrics that you select up front. To access this functionality, navigate to Manage > Report Options > Report Segments.
Once you open this up, click the Create New Segment button to open another window presenting you with options to make your segment. Mostly it's pretty self-explanatory so this post is going to focus on their very idiosyncratic timing rules.
Persistent Report Segments
Think of Persistent Report Segments as "Future Reports." When making Persistent Report Segments in Analytics, the text states, “Process daily starting tonight and apply to reports for the most recent 93 days."
This sounds a bit like they can be applied retro-actively, doesn't it? In reality, they can’t. Persistent Report segments start the day after you create them, and are used to pull data from days after that. There is no way to apply them to dates before you made the segment – if you try, you will just receive an error message saying, “The selected segment is not available for the selected date range.”
To clarify further with an example, if you create a segment on Friday, on Monday you can view the segment to see the weekend's data. However, you can't use the segment to view the data from before the weekend. This segment will be available only from Saturday on, and you will be able to apply it going back up to 93 days ago. So if you make the segment and then a few months later use it in August 2012, you can pull June 2012 and July 2012 data, but you cannot pull January 2012 data, since it is outside of the 93 day window.
One-Time Report Segments
Think of One-Time Report Segments as "Past Reports." If you wish to look at historical data, you will need to create a One-Time Report Segment. You can then define your date range, though One-Time Report Segments state "Start date must be within the last 93 days and range cannot exceed 35 days." In other words, you can see data as long as it's from within 93 days ago, and the entire reporting range can't be for more than 35 days.
As an example, if you create a One-Time Report Segment in August 2012, you can apply it to data up to 93 days ago (June 2012). However, the segment can only range for up to 35 days, so it would be, for example, from June 1 through July 6. If you try to see a longer time period, you'll receive the message "The dates for a one-time segment must not span more than 35 days." That means that if you want to see historical data for longer than 35 days, you'll need to make a second One-Time Report Segment and stitch it together with the first one.
Unfortunately in Analytics there is not an option to make a One-Time Report Segment and then have it turn into a Persistent Report segment, or otherwise segment one month back and continue through the future. So if you want to see both past and future data, you will need to use a combination of these two segment types.
10 thoughts on “Coremetrics Tip: Report Segments and Time”
I have a question about your article, once you have created the new segment, can you use this segment in future reports as many times as you want, or this segments are only created for the 93 days period, then you will hve to create a new one??
Once the segment is created, it's available forever after as many times as you want. So you never need to recreate it again. However you can only use it going back for 93 days, like if you made a segment last year and then view it today (8/29/12), you can only see it from 5/28/12 through 8/28/12.
Hi Ana, I have just been granted access to a Coremetrics demo environment, and I am trying to replicate the usual reports I execute in Google Analytics.
In GA I can apply a segment (i.e. natural search visits) and see all history for that segment, back to the date in which that GA tracking started... could be years. The 93 days limit for Coremetrics means that I cannot do the same all-time historical analysys for a segment?
Also, if I create a segment in Coremetrics, will it be available in real-time like in GA ? And finally, I am unable to see pre-compiled segments in Coremetrics, are there any available ?
Thank you very much!
1) Correct, in the main interface using the Report Segments, you can only go back to 93 days ago. If you want to go back further than that, you'll need to use the Explore add-on to run a One-Time (historical) report. Explore still has limits -- you can only go back 13 months, and then the report can only span 93 days. So to get a years worth of historical data you'd need to run 4 separate One-Time reports, one after the other.
It's definitely not as easy as creating a segment in GA. On the bright side, you can run these reports with unsampled data while GA samples the data to speed up processing.
2) After you create a Persistent report segment, it will be available to you going forward. But you always have to choose if you want a One-Time (past) or Persistent (future) segment, it's not like GA where there's no distinction.
3) As far as I know, there aren't any pre-set segments. You need to make your own in the Report Segments tool.
So I guess that before installing Coremetrics, even with Explore, one should plan in advance and detail which segments are needed.
GA allows for more improvising, so to say. Would you suggest to have both installed ?
PS: If I create a segment with Coremetrics, can I run segmented reports right away or is there a delay ?
It helps to plan ahead but isn't strictly necessary as you can run segments for historical data later on. You can use both tools, but just realize they will give you different results so you may end up spending time chasing down why the data doesn't match...
If you create a Persistent Segment for future data, it will be available the next day.
This data mismatch sound scary though... Is it due entirely to GA doing data sampling, or also Coremetrics is not precise in some other ways ?
Partly because of sampling but also because they have different logic for what defines a visit. Marketing channels will probably be set up a bit differently as well, attribution logic is different, pages may be tagged differently, etc. If all is set up properly, they should be directionally the same - I'd do some comparison reports to check.
Another question here on reports. Is there the same time range limits on the standard report (without segment applied)?
Hey Michele, nope - the standard reports can be pulled for any time period. You'll see some pre-set time periods like "last month", "last quarter", "last year", etc., and you can also put in custom dates (though custom dates can take a very very long time to run...). Good luck!