I’m old school enough to remember when website analytics first came along, what a revelation! It was all quite basic back then: number of visits, busiest hour of the day, maybe the most popular page, if you were lucky. When Google brought out their offering this all changed and the game was officially upped(!) and now almost every site has Google Analytics (GA) or the new Universal Analytics (UA) installed. Of course the fact it’s a free tool is very attractive and the kind of valuable insight you get at a very basic level is enough for the untrained marketing pro to take something useful away. But what else could you be doing and why should you bother?
Is it worth upgrading to Universal Analytics?
In short, yes it is, and soon you’ll have to anyway, so how about I tell you about the new features.. it might help if you’re still a little unsure of the benefits.
Collect behavioural data across multiple devices
Ever wonder how your web traffic behaves on the mobile version of your site compared to the desktop? If you have an ecommerce site, surely the questions is, can you afford not to know this? Apart from the useful information you learn from analysing anything, this can also highlight issues that can often be easily rectified…if only you knew about them!
Multiple domain tracking
This is made so much easier in UA, no more complex rules and development requirements, just select the Auto Link Domains option.
More control over variables
Exclude certain search terms, set the specific timescale you want to track visitor sessions by changing from the old standard 30 minutes to whatever you need.
Set custom dimensions and metrics
Now you can set up dimensions that can tell you behaviour of things, like logged in users versus non logged in users, and create your own metrics to measure how beneficial or valuable a visit has been by creating a scoring system of your own.
Enhanced ecommerce tracking
Use the Enhanced Ecommerce reports to analyse your visitors shopping and purchasing behaviour, the success of your internal and external marketing efforts, and the economic performance of your products. If you have an ecommerce site and aren’t using any kind of ecommerce tracking at all, make this your absolute top priority!
Track activity of specific users on your site
User privacy, in terms of identity at least, has been a challenge to date for marketers but now UA allows tracking of users via a user ID and so if you have a site where your users have an account for example, this is now a lot easier to track.
It’s quite likely that you’ll need some help with these more technical elements of UA but there are still lots of fab features that the less technical can get a lot out of. Here are some of my favourites:
- Dashboard Creation – add your favourite reports to your analytics dashboard so you can view all your key info quickly in one place
- Automated Report Generation – set up automated reports that are emailed to you once a week/month or whenever you need.
- Behaviour – In Page Analytics – See where users are clicking on your site by viewing click reports in situ.. quite fun and addictive this
- Interests – what are you site visitors interested in, are they movie lovers, geeks, sports enthusiasts
- Real Time – Overview -Who’s on your site right now – love this feature!
- Device Overview – check out how much your mobile traffic has grown, use the custom date tool to see this trend over time
- Acquisition –Channels – find out where the majority of your traffic is coming from, natural search, paid for search or referrers
- Acquisition – Search Engine Optimisation – you need to have Google Search Console enabled to view this data but it’s invaluable, telling you which search queries people are using to find your site.
These are just some features I like personally and there is lots more to like. If you find yourself completely baffled, get in touch, it might be that a quick tutoring session is all you need to get you going, or we can upgrade analytics and set the whole thing up for you of course.