Google has been testing its Universal Analytics (UA) platform in beta and it's finally available for everyone. It combines many of the current features of Google Analytics Premium with some very interesting new upgrades.
We are in a world where data gathering and analysis is important for driving the direction of our digital business strategy. Tools such as Google Analytics provide us with insight to the direction of visitors to our website, a generalisation of audience journey, algorithms, direction from referral of traffic. This type of useful information that can help make important decisions, such as moving over to a responsive design, when it is clear from device access analysis that many are accessing the website via a mobile device.
UA offers advanced features with a much broader and specific audience analysis for those willing to pay the extra. It is now available as an upgrade for current Analytics Premium customers. Small adjustments that could prove really useful, include time zone recognition, which removes the current delay in retrieving data if you are not based in the Pacific time zone.
New features of Universal Analytics
The game-changing move from Google is the implementation of an individual audience analysis; moving away from audience generalisation of ‘racking’ a visitor, to tracking a visitor anonymously. Instead of seeing statistics and conversion rates from a single visit, it tracks that specific visitor, meaning it will give UA users information on all their visitor’s online and offline interaction with the business or campaign.
UA has taken analytics to the next level by introducing offline and online data kolaboration. It has managed to create that vital link across all platforms that was not available before, combining digital and physical analytics. This means it is now possible to link offline loyalty cards with online shopping behaviour, or to link an online newsletter subscription to offline, promotional sales. Google has managed to encompass the whole picture and make it available to all.
The cross-platform tracking and individual user behaviour analysis will give UA users more specific insights into the success of their campaigns and strategy. When physical objects like loyalty cards are used, the customer behaviour will be tracked and the user information will be logged by UA anonymously. This feature is also reflected in internal intranets, useful for universities or larger businesses. Although it may take longer to set up these features, they could be beneficial in the long run.
Complete customisation is another feature addition, meaning the user can tailor the analytics to pick up confined results for a campaign instead of a general overview. It is also a lot easier to implement tracking of other domain names involved in a campaign- originally a sticking point in Google Analytics. The complexity of UA would benefit from a dedicated team member to oversee these elements and would need developer-like understanding.
So, who will benefit from using UA?
The new updates appear to be aimed at larger entities and institutions that have complex websites, staff portals, physical and offline integrated elements; NHS, GOV.UK, Tesco, Amazon, and Universities for example.
The new functionalities come with a price. There is danger of data overload meaning a greater understanding of analytics is required, along with familiarising yourself with the capabilities of the platform, therefore your ability to analyse the data is essential for making it worthwhile. It is no longer just an analysing platform, but a measuring tool best utilised when planning ahead and setting goals for business.
Want to understand more about your analytics?
As we know, retaining a customer is far easier than acquiring a new one, and in an age when customer retention is a critical and often hard-fought battle, we need to use all the tools we can get our hands on. Google Universal Analytics is one such new technology that will be key to embrace if you’re serious about understanding your customers and their behaviour. In some cases, other analytics tools may be more relevant for gathering information but this is something we can help you to determine.