5 Reasons to Upgrade to Google Universal Analytics Now

Google launched its latest analytics update, Universal Analytics in 2012. Typical of Google, the platform was launched in beta and there was no pressure to upgrade from the familiar asynchronous version in use since 2009.googles-new-universal-analytics

In recent months, Google has been ramping up the upgrade pressure. Last October it launched a dedicated upgrade center with information and tools to make the process less overwhelming and more understandable.

Finally, in April, Google removed the beta designation from Universal Analytics declaring it ready for prime time. Yes, change is hard. Users can wait and allow Google to automatically port them to the new platform in August, or take the bull by the horns and upgrade on their own free will.

Here are five reasons you should do it now and not wait.

1. Remarketing is now enabled

This was a favorite excuse for many procrastinators. But with its release from beta, Universal Analytics fully supports all existing Analytics services including remarketing and audience demographics.

2. User IDs: Tracking individual users across all screens

In a multi-device world, this is huge. Imagine one of your customers shopping at a competitor’s store then price checking against your website. Your price is better and she decides to hold off on making the purchase. On her way home she calls her husband to check the colors on their tablet and finally she gets home and orders the item, in just the right color, from her desktop computer.
In the old analytics, Each of those visits would be seen as unique and reported as such. Now, if you track individual users on your site you can share this information with Analytics and see not three individual transactions, but a single customer interaction.

3. Capturing online and offline behavior

Universal Analytics ability to accept external data allows businesses to track offline conversions as well as online. In the example above, if the shopper called to order the product by phone, the existing web traffic could be associated with the offline conversion.

There are limits to data sharing, so please review the policy guidelines.

4. Advanced SegmentationDemographic_Segmentation2

Universal Analytics expands the variables that can be cooked into custom segments, allowing your data to be more user oriented and less visitor oriented. This is another valuable tool for teasing out specific user behavior and improving optimization.

5. Custom Dimensions

In the old Analytics, you were limited to tabulating the dimensions provided by Google. Now you are able to use whatever data you share with Analytics directly in the reporting interface.

Don’t hesitate, change is good!

You Have a Very Useful Web Analytics Tool, But Are You Using It?

Whenever I ask an online marketing manager what they are doing for Web Analytics, I get the same reply: “Oh, we have (insert product name here, usually ‘Google Analytics’)”.  This is a fine response, but it doesn’t really answer the question of “What are you doing (or not using) for Web Analytics”.  A better reply would be “I’m monitoring the bounce rates of my organic landing pages” or “I’m analyzing how people interact with different colors on my navigation menu” or even “I’m just spending fifteen minutes a day, usually while stuck in a meeting, to look for really big and obvious problems”.

But we don’t say these things because we really aren’t doing them.  At some point in the past, someone installed Google Analytics on the website and, for too many of us, that’s it.  But the point of any tool is not to have the tool, not to install the tool, but to use the tool.  Nobody goes to the hardware store because they need a quarter-inch drill bit – they go because they need a quarter-inch hole.  Likewise, nobody needs a Web analytics tool for the sake of having one, but we all need to know what’s going on with our website visitors.

I’m not talking about analyzing the small, subtle behavior patterns of your visitors or advanced statistical analysis.  I’m talking about big, gaping problems with your website that, if no one has been keeping an eye on the analytics, are almost certain to exist.  Things like the bounce rate on your web site has doubled since you redesigned it three months ago.  Or that not one person has clicked on that flashy “Request a Free Trial” button that’s taking up a third of your home page. These are big issues, revenue-killing issues that should be easy to spot in any analytics solution.

So, if you aren’t already using your web analytics tools, I urge you to spend fifteen minutes a day, possibly while stuck in a meeting, to look for really big and obvious problems on your website.  If no one at your organization has done this before, I can almost guarantee you’ll find them.

If you aren’t sure where to start, Nowspeed offers analytics consultation for Google Analytics, Omniture, and many other platforms that includes setting up Goal Tracking, Dashboards, or even implementing the web analytics solution if you’re starting from scratch.  Please contact us to talk it over.

5 Ways You Can Social Media Optimize Your Website Today

A few weeks ago I conducted a webinar entitled, "How to Social Media Optimize Your Website", where I provided a short list of ideas for enhancing websites by making them more social media friendly: