In today’s world, a typical consumer uses multiple devices to surf the web and may interact with your business in many unique ways based on the device they are using. For most businesses, this has created an amazing opportunity to leverage rich data to gain a better understanding of their customers and deliver more value to the relationship.
What we’ve found in the real world is that large businesses are buried in heaps of disconnected and unstructured data, which can be difficult to manage and interpret. Meanwhile, small businesses often find it difficult to know where to start looking for performance data and how to glean actionable insights from it.
With Google’s public release of Universal Analytics, marketers and business owners now have the technology to move beyond simply counting site traffic into a broader system - measuring the effectiveness of advertising, sales, product usage, support, and retention. This is the real data gold mine, and is what will separate the winners from the losers in the coming years.
What is Universal Analytics?
Simply stated, Google’s Universal Analytics is an upgrade to the data collection and measurement protocol Google Analytics has used since it purchased Urchin Software back in 2005. The new measurement structure provides an opportunity for more data collection customization and a user-centric view of customer behavior, rather than the previous “visit” or “session” based view.
Why is this important?
- Your customers use multiple devices: Mastering the data on your website is no longer sufficient – our clients are increasingly asking for a cross platform view of their web data. The new tools powered by Google’s Universal Analytics measurement protocol allow you to seamlessly send your internal data as well as third party customer and business data to your Google Analytics account from any digital device. This can help you see how customers interact with your brand from multiple touch points - phones, tablets, laptops or more - in one place.
- The world is mobile: Mobile Internet use is positioned to surpass desktop Internet use in the near future. Universal Analytics now enables you to measure your marketing more holistically by integrating this data within your Google Analytics account.
- Cross-channel measurement is essential: As customer interaction continues to get more complicated and involve more touch points (such as social media), cross-channel information is more important and diverse than ever before. Universal Analytics lets you sync your own data across various marketing channels, so you can discover relationships between the channels to drive more conversions.
- Every business is unique: Every business, website or campaign offers a different user experience, and depending on your business objectives and goals, you may want to learn more about how your customers are interacting with specific areas of your business. With Universal Analytics, you can integrate your own data and customize the metrics that matter to you - beyond website visits. Now Google Analytics can provide the custom metrics you want in the same interface.
Ready to upgrade?
Well, not so fast. Upgrading to Universal Analytics requires changing every line of Google Analytics code installed on your website(s). Aside from this, any customizations you’ve made within the existing Google Analytics platform will need to be recreated and potentially reconfigured for the new measurement protocol.
With this in mind, we recommend most businesses work directly with a qualified digital marketing professional to migrate to Universal Analytics. You will need a planned approach and a certified Google Analytics professional can ensure the migration process goes smoothly.
If you manage a relatively straightforward site installation and have not customized Google Analytics beyond the creation of event and goal tracking, then it might makes sense for you to upgrade on your own. If that’s the case, visit Google’s official site and follow their instructions.