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Google Universal Analytics: Changing The Way Businesses Use Software

|Jun 10|magazine12 min read

The innovators at Google are great at changing things up, for the better. The search engine conglomerate has recently unveiled a new version of analytics that will revolutionize how businesses track and customize web data. The main difference with Universal Analytics (UA) is that it tracks much more than just visits to a website. Instead of tracking the anatomy of a visit, UA tracks the behavior of visitors. It combines user data across platforms and devices, and can track activity on any web-enabled device, including websites, mobile apps and point-of-sale systems.

In March, Google Analytics product manager JiaJing Wang announced the news in a blog post.

“A typical consumer today uses multiple devices to surf the web and interact in many ways with your business. For most large businesses, already swimming in many sources of data, it’s an enormous challenge, but also an incredible opportunity,” said Wang.

Here is a breakdown of the major benefits of utilizing Universal Analytics.

Offline Conversions

This is going to be by far one of the best features of Universal Analytics. It allows users to send data from almost any device and collect it in UA. This means users can finally link in-store transactions with campaigns and the entire history of user interactions with their brand.

The offline conversion aspect of Universal Analytics will cause the biggest change to users but its open structure of the Measurement Protocol means there will be plenty of ways to manage the collection of offline conversion data.

Custom Dimensions

Another big benefit of AU is custom dimensions to create the reports you want. By sending reports as a custom dimension to Universal Analytics, users can pull down custom reports to compare the different activity between different sets of users.

Although Google Analytics normally won’t let you view reports on posts by authors, a custom dimension will allow you to see exactly how different authors foster different levels of engagement.

CRM Data Linked To Logged-In Users

Unlike Google Analytics, UA can be fed information from your backend customer tracking database to give additional context to your reports.  You can tie age demographics to user IDs, you can see how different age groups access different types of content, and which campaigns sources are best at engaging with different groups of users.

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Advanced Segments

Advanced segments allow users to filter traffic and other data by specific criteria, such as visits which come via search, or from a particular geographic area. Although Google Analytics offers this feature, with Universal Analytics users can create advanced segments across a variety of sessions. For example, you can create an advanced segment based around people in a certain country who visited your site during a specific time period.

You will love this addition.

Add Custom Search Engines

A great feature Universal Analytics offers business owners is the ability to add custom search engines. For example: You might decide that YellowPages or Yelp is more like a search engine than a referring site. With Universal Analytics, you can bucket these visitors in your organic search segment.

You can also exclude certain organic search terms from your posts.

Configure Session Timeouts

Last but not least, Universal Analytics allows users to stay signed-in longer. The previous limit was a non-customizable 30 minutes and while this may work for some companies, having a longer session timeout is never a bad thing. This is especially useful for companies where users might keep the website open for long stretches of the day while they coordinate a company-side purchase.

All in all, Universal Analytics is going to revolutionize businesses for the better. While the changes may be a lot to take in at once, UA is going to widen the reach of analytics and customization to more touch points across an organization and business.

Universal Analytics is currently available and free to use. Although you can upgrade directly at this time, Google advises users to create a new Web Property for Universal Analytics in your current Google Analytics account, and run it alongside the current tracking code.

For a quick rundown of the set-up, visit Google’s official documentation.