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January 26, 2014

Universal Analytics – The next generation for Google Analytics

When working with clients, one of the highlights for them is the fact that as well as growing sales online, their online presence also boosts their offline sales in their physical stores. We knew this to be the case from anecdotal evidence. However the real benefits of online to offline were very subjective and there was no real effective way to measure how increased engagement online would result in higher offline revenues. We were just relying on the experiences of our clients speaking with their customers. While this feedback is better than nothing, it was difficult to get a clear and accurate view. Quite simply, there were no real numbers to measure the effectiveness. That was until now.

The next generation of Google Analytics is known as Universal Analytics. The objective of Universal Analytics (UA) is to give a holistic view of the results from your entire marketing spend. UA will enable conversion to be measured across many different marketing channels…..

The benefits of this are clear. Rather than having to individually ask people about their browsing history, you can now track their actions. These actions can be systemised, measured and improved upon over time to make the buyer experience more efficient and improve overall conversion.

For example you could measure the effectiveness of:

  •  A special offer on your website aimed at driving people to purchase in-store.
  • Instructional information online aimed at informing people before you close the sale over the phone.

Also, it is the case that it is highly unlikely that your customer just uses one device to browse your site. It will usually be a mix. Imagine a prospective customer does the following; they research the products on your site with their mobile phone while sitting on the train on the way to work. They then check your products again on their desktop during their lunch break and then they finally buy using their tablet at home. Up to now the analytics systems would not have been unable to track this behaviour. It would accentuate the conversion from the tablet and underplay conversion from mobile and the desktop. It would also appear that there was a greater variation in the market – many visitors who just browsed and did not buy while a few visitors bought very quickly. UA should help you close this open loop. UA seeks to enable you to make more informed business decisions with higher quality information.


UA seeks to enable you to make more informed business decisions with higher quality information.

Paul Montwill  /  CEO of Magico

How will it work?

The key is to get all of your other marketing and data gathering sources to speak with your analytics system. Information will have to be sent in a standardised format for UA to be able to pick this information up. This method of sending information is called a “Measurement Protocol”. Once the data is in the right format, Universal Analytics will be able to accept this data. This means that data can be gathered from a wide array of systems including call centre systems and point of sale systems in your physical store. UA will also assign a unique identifier code to the user when they are browsing for your products online. By focusing on what the user is looking at rather than numbers of visits to the site and by combining this information with the offline information, UA should be able to give you a much clearer and more comprehensive picture.

We are very excited about these recent changes and we believe that companies that embrace these new changes will achieve crucial competitive advantages against the ones that do not. This is another part of getting a better understanding of your customer.


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