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Content Grouping in Google Analytics

content groupings in google analytics

Note: this article refers to the Universal Analytics version. If you want to know how to implement Content Groups in GA4 via Google Tag Manager, you can read this blog post.

Analyzing the contents of a website, has it ever happened to you that you want to know what are the performances of the main sections?

Each website is divided into sections, which reflect the organization of its contents.

This applies to all sites, from e-commerce, which have sections of product categories, type of articles, sellout etc., to a blog which, depending on the articles that are published, has categories with different topics.

Now, returning to the initial question, imagine having to analyze the performance of this site, starting from the “All Pages” Report.

Look at the image below: more than 925K cardinalities in the “Page” dimension! Good analysis!

google analytics all pages report

Maybe the site you are analyzing is smaller, but why not take advantage of the functionality offered by Google Analytics, i.e. Content Grouping ?

Here’s how that could change. Instead of having all the pages of the website, you would have macro categories:

content grouping report google analytics
Content of the article:
- Content Grouping: what to know
- Content Grouping: how to proceed
- Set Up Content Grouping in Google Analytics:
   - Set Up Content Grouping via code
   - Set Up Content Grouping via extraction
   - Set Up Content Grouping via rules
- Analyzing with Content Grouping
- Use Different Rules in Content Groupings
- Final Check: the value (not set)

Content Grouping: what to know

Before you start setting up a new Content Group, it’s good to know a few things.

Edit Right

In order to create a new Content Grouping, your Profile in Google Analytics must have Edit rights.

If you have a Read-only profile, you will not be allowed to do this kind of implementation.

View Level

Content Grouping acts at the View level and not at the Property level.

This means that you can create different Content Groups for each View you have access to.

This is great, because it allows you to test the relevant Views, before publishing the changes to the Main View.

5 Content Grouping for View

Finally, remember that Content Groups are not infinite.

You can create a maximum of 5 Groups for each View.

It is important to know, from the beginning, how to want to divide your website:

5 groups remain google analytics

Content Grouping: how to proceed

Here is the process to follow, to set up your Content Grouping:

  1. Choose HOW you want to group the contents of your site: imagine what will be the best subdivision for your future analysis;
  2. Choose the NAME of your groups: always choose clear and “speaking” names;
  3. Choose the METHOD to create Content Grouping: as we will see shortly, there are 3 possibilities:
    • Through code and with the help of tools such as Google Tag Manager;
    • By extraction: using regular expressions
    • By rules: Assign a set of rules to set up Content Groups
creare content grouping in google analytics

Set Up Content Groupings in Google Analytics

Content Grouping can be created directly in Google Analytics.

In general, we will point out to GA two things:

  1. The Categories within which to collect the contents of the website;
  2. The rules underlying the structure of the Categories, in practice: a certain page of the site will end up in Category X based on a rule based on the URL of the page, or on the Title of the page itself or through Google Tag Manager.

Just go to the Settings by clicking on A) or B), then select the View C) where you want to set the Content Grouping, select the dedicated item D) and create a new Content Grouping E).

admin google analytics

Set Up Content Groupings via Code

This is the most stable solution but, at the same time, the most complicated of the three available.

It is “complicated” because it requires the use of Google Tag Manager (which for some users can be an almost unknown tool) and the support of a developer or, at least, the possibility of injecting additional code into your website.

Let’s take an example: I can push some code into specific pages to catalog them.

For example I can call the main page ‘homepage’ with the variable ‘pageType‘:

push datalayer home page

and then collect this value via a tag in Google Tag Manager (in the screen shot below you can see the index number of the Content Grouping and the dynamic variable, inside two curly brackets {{}} to collect the value):

google tag manager content group setting

The index number (in the example, index 1) must match both in the Google Tag Manager tag and in the Google Analytics settings.

For this reason you will need to:

  1. Go to Google Analytics, under the Content Grouping Settings and, when creating a new Group, select Enable Tracking Code:
tracking code google analytics

2. Once the tracking by code has been activated (a) the index number must match and therefore the same number must be selected (b):

index cg google analytics

3. Name your Content Grouping:

Name your Content Grouping:

Set Up Content Groupings via Extraction

Another way to create Groups is to use extraction.

There are 3 dimensions in GA that can be used for extraction: Page, Page Title or Screen Name.

extraction details google analytics

To make the most of this feature, you need to know Regular Expressions. I wrote a post on Regular Expressions that allows you to make the most of them.

With RegEx you can combine several pages of the site into a single group.

Set Up Content Groupings via Rules

This is the easiest setting for creating Content Groupinging.

It does not require to push any code into the website, nor to know the Regular Expressions.

Just select one of the dimensions:

define rules in content grouping

Next, select one of the rules to collect the pages of your website:

google analytics rule definitions

You will be able to create several sub-groups within the Content Grouping you are creating:

create sub-groups with content grouping

Save the configuration and close.

Since you can use the Page and Page Title dimensions as rules, remember that you can also group Virtual Pages. If you want to know how to track virtual pages with GTM, read this post.

Analyzing with Content Grouping

Now that we’ve set up Content Groupings, I’ll show you how you can use them in Google Analytics (Universal Analytics version).

All Pages Report

In the Behavior > Site Content > All Pages Report, by clicking on the Content Grouping item, you will modify the Report to display the Groups created previously:

all pages report google analytics

Landing Pages Report

Inside the Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages Report, you can find the Content Groupings created. You will be shown the categories of your website that contain the first page that the user views upon landing.

landing pages report google analytics

Navigation Summary Report

Within the Behavior > Site Content > All Pages > Navigation Summary Report, it is possible to select the different Content Groups created to understand how users navigate between the different Content Groupings.

Select the Content Grouping you are interested in analyzing (a) and then the specific grouping you want to see (b):

summary navigation google analytics

Custom Segments

You can use the created Content Groupings, also to create specific segments:

content grouping segments google analytics

Secondary Dimensions

Within the different GA Reports, you can enter a secondary dimension, specific to the Content Grouping you are interested in analyzing:

secondary dimension google analytics

Custom Reports

You can create Custom Reports by entering the Content Grouping you want to analyze, to have a complete and always available overview:

custom reports in google analytics

Use Different Rules in Content Groupings

In the previous paragraphs, I showed you the 3 methods to create Content Grouping: by code, by extraction or by inserting rules.

Remember that one method does not exclude the other.

Then, you can create a Content Grouping by entering all three rules.

Let’s take an example: I have a website where I have pushed some code into its pages. However, there are some pages that are managed by another platform and the developer cannot help me with. I could use this solution: create a Content Grouping with two indications inside:

  • one via code for those parts of the website where it was injected (a);
  • another through rules, for all the other pages that I want to group but in which there is no code inside (b)
content grouping google analytics

Final Check: the value (not set)

In general, Content Grouping is to help you analyze the website at a higher level.

For this reason, the best Content Group is the one, that includes the most pages on your website.

Since all the pages outside the Content Grouping are collected under the heading (not set), the percentage value of this value must be close to 0%, as in this case:

not set content grouping google analytics

Happy analysis!

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