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What is Universal Analytics?

The way in which the web is used has changed. The main window into an online world in the past was through a desktop computer, but with the advent of mobiles, tablets and the vast array of other internet enabled devices (Nest central heating anyone?!), things have changed. With this comes exciting opportunities that will revolutionise the way in which the world works. However, it also brings about some obstacles. One of which is tracking.

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Google has recently released the latest version of its Analytics code, called Universal Analytics. It is currently in open Beta and it completely redefines the way in which we can track users. It also opens up a whole world of possibilities within analysing the data that it provides.

The Google Analytics code, that has become the staple of tracking online, is based on tracking visits to a website. Admittedly, it’s a little more advanced than this and has come a long way from the original Urchin code. However, this new code allows us to significantly improve the data we can collect and has the potential to redefine what we currently see as “tracking online”. This is purely because we can collect so much more information, allowing our insights to move from merely online to providing meaningful data to those throughout the business including, but not limited to, how products are used, the support that’s needed, and great gains in customer retention.

Sounds great, right? But what does all of this actually mean and how’s it going to influence you?

  • Well to start with, we can now collect data from any device – this includes the mobile traffic currently coming in (smartphones and tablets) but Universal Analytics can also take account of games consoles and now digital appliances!
  • You can track both on and offline data – we are now able to track all customer contact points. Want to know if customers that use the web are also popping along to your brick and mortar shop? We can track that!
  • Track what Analytics can’t – if there’s anything that Analytics doesn’t already track then we can set some custom dimensions and metrics, getting you that information!
  • Track mobile apps – we are now able to see application specific user data and integrate this with all of the other data being collected. Insights are changing!
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It is an exciting time within tracking and Analytics. More features are likely to be released by Google, and innovative uses of the tools by SEO companies are sure to follow. Google really seems to have “future-proofed” this code and now we just have to get out there and explore the options it presents!

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