Introduction to Content Grouping in Google Analytics

What is Content Grouping?

In the context of Google Analytics, a ‘Content grouping’ is a rule based grouping of related content groups. It is made up of one or more content groups. For example, if you sell clothes for both men and women on your website then all the web pages which sell men clothes can belong to ‘Men’ content grouping. Similarly, all the web pages which sell women clothes can belong to ‘Women’ content grouping.

Following is a short video on ‘content grouping’ which is worth watching:

What is a Content group?

A content group is a set of web pages which should be based on same/similar theme. So in case of a blog, a content group can be a set of web pages which are based on same/similar topic (like ‘Attribution Modelling’). In case of an ecommerce website, a content group can be a set of web pages which sell similar products (like ‘shirts’).

Content groups are created for two main reasons:

#1 To change the way GA label and aggregate the incoming traffic for different types of contents on your website.

#2 To quickly check the performance of a content group or compare the performance of different content groups with each other.

Content grouping is specially useful if you have got a big website with hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of content pages and you can realistically measure the content performance, only at the group level and not at the individual page level.

How to determine content groups and content grouping for your website

If you sell clothes for both men and women on your website then you may have following sections on your website:

  • Men shirts
  • Women shirts
  • Men trousers
  • Women trousers
  • Men sportswear
  • Women sportswear

All the web pages which sell men shirts belong to ‘Men shirts’ content group. Similarly, all the web pages which sell men trousers belong to ‘Men trousers’ content group. So following are examples of different content groups for men:

  • Men shirts
  • Men trousers
  • Men sportswear

Since ‘content grouping’ is made up of one or more ‘content groups’, so ‘Men’ content grouping can consist of following content groups:

  • Men shirts
  • Men trousers
  • Men sportswear

Now, all the web pages which sell women shirts belong to ‘Women shirts’ content group. Similarly, all the web pages which sell women trousers belong to ‘Women trousers’ content group. So following are examples of different content groups for women:

  • Women shirts
  • Women trousers
  • Women sportswear

Since ‘content grouping’ is made up of one or more ‘content groups’, so, the ‘Women’ content grouping can consist of following content groups:

  • Women shirts
  • Women trousers
  • Women sportswear

As a rule of thumb use content / product categories for ‘content grouping’ and content / product sub-categories for ‘content groups’

Be selective about what you choose to use as content grouping

You can create only 5 content groupings per GA view. So you need to be selective about what you choose to use as content grouping.

For example, if you run a blog then consider using top traffic content categories (say ‘Google Analytics’, ‘Google Tag Manager’ etc) as the name of your content grouping. If you run an ecommerce website then consider using top selling product categories (like ‘Men Clothes’, ‘Women Clothes etc) as the name of your content grouping.

Another reason to be selective about what you choose to use as ‘content grouping’ is that, you can not delete a content grouping once it is created. You can then only turn it ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’:

When you turn off a content grouping, it is no longer available in your GA reports. Use a test view to test your content grouping before you set them up for your main view.

Be selective about what you choose to use as content group

Though you can create unlimited number of content groups within a content grouping, you still need to be selective about what you choose to use as a content group. This is because creating content groups is not always easy and sometimes may require significant development resources.

For example, if you run a blog and one of your content grouping is ‘Google Analytics’ and ‘Attribution Modelling’ is one of the top traffic content category then consider creating a content group named ‘Attribution Modelling’ within the ‘Google Analytics’ content grouping.

If you run an ecommerce website and one of your content grouping is ‘Men Clothing’ and ‘Men Shirts’ is one of the top selling product category then consider creating a content group named ‘Men Shirts’ within the ‘Men Clothing’ content grouping:

How to create content grouping in Google Analytics

Follow the steps below:

Step-1: Decide the names and number of content / product categories which you will use as ‘content grouping’ in your GA reporting view.

Step-2: Decide the names and number of content / product sub-categories which you will use as ‘content groups’ in GA for each ‘content grouping’.

Step-3: Identify all of the web pages which will be part of each ‘content group’.

Step-4: Determine the best method for grouping web pages on your website. There are three methods you can use to group web pages on your website to create a content group:

  1. ‘Group by Tracking Code’
  2. ‘Group using Extraction’
  3. ‘Group using rule definitions’

Step-5: Navigate to the ‘Admin’ section of your GA view and then click on ‘Content Grouping’ link:

Step-6: Click on ‘New Content Grouping’ button:

Step-7: Name your content grouping and select the method(s) to group web pages on your website to create content group(s):

Step-8: Click on ‘Save’ button and wait for at least 10-20 min to see the content grouping data in your reports.

Note (1): You cannot create content groups retroactively. The content groups that you create show data only from the date they were first created and going forward.

Note (2): You can include same web page in multiple content groups (unless you are using ‘Group by tracking code’ method)

Where you can see content groups in Google Analytics

Once you have set up content grouping and corresponding content group(s), they are available in various GA reports either as primary or secondary dimensions.

For example, once you have set up say ‘Men’ content grouping and corresponding content groups in GA then ‘content grouping’ would appear as a primary dimension and ‘content groups’ would appear as ‘dimension values’ in the ‘All Pages’ report:

You can use ‘content groups ‘as primary dimension in custom reports:

You can use ‘content groups ‘as secondary dimension in various GA reports like ‘Channel’ reports:

You can use ‘content grouping’ while creating advanced segments:

Similarly, you can use ‘content grouping’ while creating dashboards in GA.

‘Unique views’ metric for content group

In the context of ‘content grouping’, unique views is the number of unique GA sessions in which a web page that belong to a content group is viewed one or more times.

(not set) refer to those web pages which are not part of any ‘content group’. Google Analytics does not calculate and report on unique views for the web pages which are not part of any content group.

How users navigate across different sections on your website

Content grouping becomes really useful when you use it the ‘Navigation summary’ report (under ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Content’ > ‘All Pages’):

 

Through this report, you can understand how users move across different product categories on the website.

For example, from the report above, we can conclude that the users who first showed interested in ‘men trousers’, later showed much more interest in ‘men shirts’. So may be shirts are good cross sell with trousers?

This is the kind of insight you can get from the ‘Navigation Summary’ report once you use it with content grouping.

Related Articles: 

#1 Creating Content Group in Google Analytics via tracking code

#2 Google Tag Manager Content Grouping Setup Guide

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Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
  • Founder of OptimizeSmart.com and EventEducation.com

I am also the author of three books:

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