Several years ago, Google took the world by storm announcing that it would be making coveted web analytics data available to website owners free of charge. Of course, Google was not all too altruistic with its intent — gaining behind the scenes data on millions of websites. Website owners were able to use this data, equally, to make informed decisions about how to optimize websites to drive additional sales and revenue. Universal Analytics is the next step down the road to online success. You Need Universal Analytics Right Now because it offers the following value ads: Offline Analytics, Referral Exclusion, Expanded Custom Variables, Dimension Tracking and Anonymous IDs!
Using the “Measurement Protocol,” Universal analytics enables companies to push that data back to Google Analytics from offline environments. Of course, only web developers and technically inclined individuals will be able to set this up; but, in the end it will provide your business with access to details on online activity at checkouts, kiosks, tradeshow booths, retail storefronts. The Measurement Protocol bridges the gap between online analytics and events occurring in the real world.
Exclude Referral Traffic
Universal Analytics simplifies this process of excluding referral sources from GA data. Within the admin panel under “Property Settings,” you can simply specify domains that you do not want to include in analytics reports. For example, many small websites report hyper inflated data due to visits from free website crawlers such as seamalt.com. Often, such crawlers can distort data by as much as twenty percent. Using Referral Exclusion, website owners can get a clear picture of how the website is used by a real visitor.
Custom variables enable websites to track or segment website visitors based on their relationship with the business. Using custom variables, you can push GA beyond static definitions such as Existing Visitors and Returning Visitors and view sessions in terms of a pre-existing relationship with the business: newsletter subscribers, account holders, and high value customers (in excess of $10,000). Because Universal Analytics now provides 20 custom variables, it is possible to gain a better understanding of how users interact with the website based on the way you collect data. To utilize this technology, the way you think about websites needs to change — from static brochures to functional tools that give rise to enhanced quality user experiences.
Dimension Widening may be one of the most exciting features of Universal Analytics. For example, typically a web analyst or search engine marketer might review a blog post to gauge the effectiveness of content and then use a host of other tools to break this data down to specific writers and categories. Dimension Widening enables the same blog post to include additional information such as author, category, format and date of the post. These additional dimensions mean that business owners can gain a better understanding of the contribution provided by various writers and content categories. Of course, the key is to have both a long term strategy as well as short term understanding of your customers’ interests.
The massive expansion of mobile apps sold on Google Play is disrupting markets. Websites are being replaced by “tools” that enable customers to buy insurance, bank, and download games onto hand held devices. Universal Analytics has incorporated new technologies to provide app developers with tools to analyze key metrics such as, namely, number of installations; devices and networks used to access an app; special content like video; the geographic location and location spoken by visitors; the order in which visitors move through screens; the number of screens per visit; as well as in-app purchase totals. Mobile applications have become a convenient way for companies to encourage customers to interact with online properties in “real world” environments.
Universal Analytics enables businesses to assign an anonymous User ID to customers who take an action such as logging in or clicking an email. This uniquely anonymous ID can then be tracked across sessions as well as devices as shoppers are floating seamlessly from mobile phones, to tablets and desktop computers. Businesses need this information to provide flexible, scalable experiences that are in line with the way customers shop and live.
You need Universal Analytics because not bothering to do anything is like saying no to radio, television and email. It just doesn’t make sense. Of course, installing it won’t change your life immediately. As the data percolates, however, digital strategists can gain a better understanding of how your business works and set revenue based goals that will resonate with you. Universal Analytics is an important addition to the field of web analytics. It’s so good, you really should be paying for it! Request a Free 10 Minute Consultation to find out if Universal Analytics is right for you.