Google's Universal Analytics (UA) is a more flexible alternative to a standard Google Analytics account; making it easier to customize account settings and providing a new opportunity to collect data that a standard account doesn't automatically collect (like data from any digital device).
After you upgrade your properties, you'll need to implement the new code on your website (here for cross-domain tracking situations). Once the code is implemented on your site, you'll want to configure the available setting options below that help make Universal Analytics unique. They are located in the Tracking Info option of the Property column of your Admin settings.
As I've already mentioned, you have the ability to collect data from any digital device. Part of Google's mission is to help business owners be able to better tie online and offline behavior together into a complete picture of customer behavior. UA allows you to do this with some tricky development work using what they call the "Measurement Protocol." You can track things like gift and loyalty card usage, or where and how people end up using online coupons they print off, or what locations people come from to attend your event. The possibilities can be customized to your business environment. You can then analyze how this lines up with your strategy and implementation. This is HUGE for analyzing and attributing marketing investment to customer acquisition, behavior and outcomes.
But be aware that the terms of service prohibit sending personally identifiable information like names, email addresses, unique device identifiers, etc. to Google Analytics. If you do so, your account and data can be confiscated by Google.
If your business has a mobile app, you can now track usage of that app to gain insights for improvement. You'll be able to see metrics and dimensions like device, network, location, language, path, screens per visit, number of installations and number of purchases. You simply choose "App" instead of "Web Site" when setting up your new property.
UA brings a new movement in tracking technology that helps analysts examine data by users instead of visits. [tweet this] No longer being used are first-party cookies, which are unreliable, often get deleted and expire after two years anyway. No longer will the same person who uses two different devices in two different sessions be counted as 2 unique visitors. Now business owners will be able to see a user's behavior over all their visits no matter how far apart they are or how many devices they occurred on. It's the next step in providing a clearer picture of what is happening with your business and customers to help you gain better insights from your data and improve your business.
Have you implemented Universal Analytics? What do you think?
Mike Fleming specializes in Analytics and Paid Search for Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @SEMFlem. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.
Mike and the team at Pole Position are available to help clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Contact them via their site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
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