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Evolve to Universal

Universal Google Analytics is all the craze right now. We hope you’re planning to attend our Evolve conference in October,  because we are going to cover it and cover it well!

GoalsNot only do we have the sessions, but we’re also having a Fireside Chat with Justin Cutroni, Google Analytics Evangelist, and he’ll be providing answers to all your “burning questions”. You all should know Justin, an avid speaker and blogger and thought leader in our industry.  So bring on your questions!

If you’re still not sure about what’s all involved with Universal Analytics and the impacts it has on your organization, follow the following 5 tips and you’ll be in a good shape.

Tip #1. Don’t panic! You don’t have to rush, you still have time. Legacy (or Classic) Google Analytics isn’t going away soon. According to Google’s Universal Analytics Upgrade Center,  “Data collected from the deprecated features will be processed for a minimum of 2 years”. So if you are using ga.js, urchin.js, customer variables, etc., you’ll have data for a couple of years from when Universal was announced out of beta (April 2014).

Tip #2. But don’t wait too long. You know from Tip #1 that you have time.  You procrastinators out there may take full advantage of the 2-year ride, but the longer you wait, the longer you’ll miss out on all the gems that Universal offers (and won’t be available on Classic). At Evolve, we will cover case studies and how practitioners are leveraging Universal Analytics capabilities for actionable insights.  If you want a quick glance of what Universal Analytics offers, move on to tip #3!

Tip #3. Leverage what’s available. Understand and familiarize yourself with the new features of Universal Analytics. This will aid in making a decision in your implementation and the type of reports you’ll be getting.  Such capabilities include:

  • Collect more data that is relevant to your business using the additional Custom Dimensions and Custom Metrics
  • For eCommerce site owners, analyze users experience and purchasing behavior with Enhanced eCommerce
  • Enable a 360-view of customers and authenticated users across channels and devices
  • Advanced Mobile Tracking
  • The Measurement protocol to track other digital devices, offline activities where raw user interaction data can be sent directly to Google Analytics servers, from any environment (ex. checkout our test for this – we uploaded WorldCup 2014 data into Universal Analytics!).
  • And for the technically inclined, Universal now allows more simplified configuration options for changes we used to do at the code level, including capabilities such as  session and campaign timeout modifications.

Tip #4. Plan your objectives for migration from GA Classic to Universal.  Your migration checklist will be your savior!So now you know what features will be deprecated.  You know what new capabilities are at your fingertips. What do you do next? Don’t jump into coding and javascript yet! Huddle with your marketing and business stakeholders first. Plan your migration to Universal Analytics to audit the data you are collecting.

For example:

  • What additional data (that doesn’t exist in GA) do you want to capture? Map your 5 Custom Variables to the new Custom Dimensions (keep in mind instead of 5 slots in GA legacy, you now have 20 slots to store all sort of relevant data)
  • For eCommerce sites, you can now track product views, adding/removing from carts, and merchandising capabilities such as affiliate codes, product coupons and internal campaigns
  • If you have an authenticated user-experience, such as members, or logged in customers in a SaaS business, etc., tracking user behavior across devices is now available. Decide what visitor segments are important for you to report on.
  • 3rd Party System Considerations
    • Data Integrated into GA: Many marketing platforms integrate with Google Analytics. You’d want to inventory what you’ve deployed and ensure it’s compatible with Universal Analytics. For example, if you are using a B2B personalization system such as Demandbase or Marketo/Inisghtera make sure these systems are configured for Universal.  Same goes for qualitative/Voice of Customer solutions.
    • Data Exported out of GA: you’d also want to ensure your report automation tool and data visualization tool support the Universal features. For instance, if you reported on “author name” in a Custom Variable (in Classic GA) and now have the same data migrated to a Custom Dimension (in Universal), your reports will break. A good check and planning ahead with the vendor will ensure your amazing dashboards continue to work amazingly.
  • Last but not least, if you haven’t deployed Classic Google Analytics in a Tag Management Solution (TMS), this definitely would be an opportune time to upgrade.  Kill 2 birds with one stone and while you’re upgrading to Universal, adopt a new (and cleaner) way of deploying marketing tags and get a TMS in place. Budget is not an issue, since you can leverage the Google Tag Manager.

Tip #5. Solid implementation for reliable data! The next step is Implementation, and it gets technical, so here is where you need to get IT on your good side! :). We have a session at Evolve on implementation and migration best practices.  Meanwhile, check out this convenient Universal Analytics resource kit to guide you through Implementation.

This doesn’t end here! Find out more at the conference! There will be the aforementioned sessions, E-Nor Consultants and clinics to answer all your questions!  See you there!

By: Feras Alhlou, Principal Consultant, E-Nor

September 12, 2014 - 4:00 pm

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