Universal Analytics: The Future of Tracking Business

Google Analytics has long been known as a tool to understand traffic on your website. Well, that has started to change. Last month Google Analytics released one of its most ambitious updates in years to the platform, called Universal Analytics. While this update is still in its early stages, the ground work has been laid for some serious enhancements to how your entire business data is understood. Analytics are no longer just for your website.

There have been other posts that highlight how to install Universal Analytics and the technical specifics that the new Universal Analytics brings. Some of the highlights include the ability to customise organic search sources, adjust session and campaign timeout handling, create referral exclusions, create search term exclusions, integrate Mobile App Analytics, and customize custom dimensions & metrics.

This post is going to focus on one critical element that is going to change the way businesses are going to look at the Analytics platform. This element is Multi-Platform Tracking.

Google Analytics Universal Analytics Logo

In a nutshell, Multi-Platform Tracking is an easy way to measure data across any device. This can include a set top box, a cashier’s till, video game system, a mobile app, RFID tag or anything else that can be connected to the Internet. The root aim of Universal Analytics is to understand how users interact with information, and not just a website.

An amazing capability of Universal Analytics is the ability to not only track across multiple devices, but to understand how a particular user is interacting across different devices.  This means that there is a capability to understand how an individual interacts with your mobile site, desktop site, and then potentially comes into your retail store and makes a real world purchase. While there is a need to have coding and information architecture in order to bring these pieces together, there are real world examples for tracking real world information that can be analyzed. For example, read Julien Coquet’s experiment on tracking customers into a retail store.

The possibilities with Universal Analytics are only now beginning to be understood. There are many other scenarios that Universal Analytics and Multi-Platform Tracking will change. Some hypothetical examples include buying a ticket online, and having the ability to track the behavior patterns of those purchasers as they redeem their tickets. You could find optimal times to sell tickets, which purchasers buy high value tickets and when they show up for an event. Another opportunity could be to track the rate of walk-in shoppers and purchases based on different store front displays or signage.

The opportunities for Universal Analytics are only now starting to be realized; however, it is a good time to start installing it into your website. Universal Analytics is available now, and is free to use. Integration with an existing profile is not possible, and Google officially recommends creating a new profile for Universal Analytics that will run in tandem with your old Analytics account. There are usage guidelines to consider when setting up the platform, but for the most part it is a standard installation.

What other situations can you predict Universal Analytics will be successful in?

What information would you like to track that you never thought possible?

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