Last fall, Google Analytics launched Universal Analytics in response to the evolving cross-device consumer journey. Today, it expanded its offering into a public beta, making the features of Universal Analytics available to everyone.
As the accessibility of data grows, analytics is becoming about a lot more than just site-side measurement. It’s being incorporated into a suite of tools whose ultimate purpose is to generate insights and determine whether or not our initiatives are satisfying business objectives. In short, analytics is growing beyond its foundations as a tactic and serving us more in constructing and evaluating strategy. From this, the demand for Universal Analytics was born.
Universal Analytics integrates Google Analytics across devices and enables more efficient, cross-tactical analysis. First, it introduces a new analytics.js tracking code and allows for more customization of data. The snippet officially waves goodbye to cookies and instead relies on universal tracking IDs. Ideally, this allows us to track consumers throughout his/her journey. This pairs well with another new feature – we can now collect and send incoming data from any digital device to the Analytics account, allowing us to track data from multiple devices – phones, tablets, laptops, etc.
Additionally, Universal Analytics allows for easier customization of configuration settings. We now have the opportunity to import other data sources into our Google Analytics accounts. The possibilities here are endless; we could include offline sales, call center data, third-party data, store visits. Another feature that Universal Analytics enables is the creation of custom dimensions and custom metrics to track data that Google Analytics doesn’t track automatically. The opportunities here are exciting; we’ll either be able to create new metrics and dimensions to better understand the data we import into Google Analytics or we’ll be able to create new dimensions and metrics based on the data that Analytics already tracks.
Google’s shift to Universal Analytics indicates that analytics departments should continue to be challenged to move beyond reporting and analysis. To learn how you can implement Universal Analytics, visit Google’s Developer Guide.