Content Grouping in Google Analytics

The bigger your website gets, the more challenging it will be to analyse the trends your users exhibit across hundreds or thousands of pages. Content grouping in Google Analytics is one way to overcome this issue. Content grouping allows you to see analytics trends based on content consumption and filter reports on the content groups.

Content Grouping in Google Analytics

Content Groups & Content Grouping

Before we look at configuration and implementation it is important to understand the difference between content groups and content grouping.

A content group would be a narrower and more focused sub-set of content such as ‘cat beds’, ‘cat food’ and ‘cat toys’. Each content group could have dozens of product or information pages that contain that type of content (such as product detail pages or articles). These content groups would sit within a content grouping for ‘cats’ another could be for ‘dogs’ or ‘rabbits’ etc.

Choosing your Content Groups

The effort required to configure content grouping can be quite straightforward or it can be time consuming depending on what you need to do.

If your site is relatively small you should be able to identify trends in standard reports like ‘landing pages’ without using content groupings. If your site is large then it could be a good investment of time and resources to do the necessary work to configure groups.

Ahead of configuring your content groupings you should review your site thoroughly and plan out what you believe should be the groupings and the groups. When you have these documented you can test the effectiveness of those groups by creating a segment. Create a new segment under the ‘Advanced’ section using the ‘Conditions’ option. Choose ‘Page’ or ‘Page Title’ as the dimension that ‘contains’ the group identifier you want to check (e.g. ‘cat food’ in our example above). You can then see if that segment provides the data you expected and want to commit to a content group.

Configuration of Content Grouping

In order to set-up content groupings you will need edit level permission to make the changes. Click on the ‘Admin’ cog icon in the bottom left corner in Google Analytics and then under the ‘View’ level column halfway down you can see the ‘Content Grouping’ option.

Click on ‘+ New Content Grouping’ and provide a name the Content Grouping. You will now need to choose a Group method, there are three options:

  • Group by modifying the tracking code on each page
  • Group by using extraction and regular expressions
  • Group by defining rules

Choosing the tracking code option is the most laborious option as you will need to assign codes to each page in order for Google Analytics to determine which group the content should be assigned to that grouping.

The extraction option will assess the page, title or screen name using common words such as ‘cats’ with the example above. You will specify regular expressions to capture the data such as: Page > /cats/(.*)/

You can create up to five Content Groupings in a standard Google Analytics account. You also cannot delete a Content Grouping, but you can change its status to ‘off’. Note that content group names are not case sensitive.

Content Grouping can be seen in a number of Google Analytics reports including the Behaviour > All Pages report, Behaviour > Landing Pages report, Behaviour > Events > Pages report and as a secondary dimension on custom reports.