New Simpler, More Powerful Google Analytics: Beyond Visits, Beyond Web

We spent two mind-blowing days earlier this week at the Google Analytics Partner Summit.  By the afternoon of the first day, we’d lost count of the number of announcements.  Some of the announced features are already available, some will start showing up any day now and others will be available sometime early in 2013.

Rather than recap all the tools and features, here’s a summary of the most important changes for marketers and analysts:

  • From Visit-centric to Visitor-centric Analysis
    • A significant change that drew cheers is the change to visitor-centric analysis from visit.  Currently, tracking significant actions from visit to visit requires special additional tagging with Custom Variables.  And with only 5 available in the Google Analytics standard, decisions on what to track often involve difficult compromises
    • Advanced Segments are evolving to Unified Segments.  Advanced Segments currently segment by visits. Available either Q4 2012 or early 2013, Unified Segments will allow visitor behavioural characteristics to be used for segmentation.  Exciting stuff, and let me repeat my tweet, this would be a really nice Christmas present from Google  :)
  • No Longer Just “Web Analytics”.  Digitally track offline touch points
    • Google Analytics is no longer just web analytics.  Send digital data from any device or system to Google Analytics.
    • At the Summit, Google demo’d sending data from RFIDs to Google Analytics, in real time.  You’ll be able send data from call centres, kiosks, point of sale systems or other ‘offline’ touch-points.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) reports will be available in 2013 to help you estimate the future value of a customer.  This inform your decisions about how much to spend on future acquisition or loyalty campaigns by customer segments, to boost revenue.
  • Recency, frequency and monetary value (RFM) reports (2013) will help prioritize marketing spend and enable faster trigger-based decisions to prevent permanent customer attrition through timely re-engagement campaigns.
  • Custom Dimensions and Custom Metrics
    • Custom Dimensions are next generation Custom Variables, definable primary dimensions.
    • With visitor-centric Google Analytics, you’ll be able to import cost and customer data from offline sales, CRM or other databases into Google Analytics based on an anonymized visitor IDs or other Custom Dimensions.  The rule of no Privately-Identifiable Information (PII) in Google Analytics still applies.
    • Google Analytics Standard accounts will have 20 Custom Dimensions, while Premium accounts will have 200 Custom Dimensions.
  • Simpler Campaign Tagging
    • Strings of utm_ tagging will be replaced by a single ‘cid’ parameter.  Seems similar to the ‘gclid’ parameter that autotags Adwords campaigns.
  • New Google Analytics code – Universal Analytics
    • Although we’re focusing on the important improvements for analysis, we must point out that enabling many of these new features requires installing a new, different version of Google Analytics, Universal Analytics.  A new Measurement Protocol with server-side sessionization is enabling many of the changes.
    • Unlike previous upgrades to Google Analytics where you were able to change the code while retaining the same account, to deploy Universal Analytics, you will have to get a new Google Analytics account number and install a separate code.
    • Many sites have existing custom code and tagging.  These snippets will have to be assessed. Migrating to Universal Analytics won’t be as quick an upgrade as the migrations from Legacy to Traditional to Async.  So get your project management team involved to scope out a plan.
    • To make managing your tags easier, you might take this opportunity to use Google’s newly-released free tag management tool to save time and tagging resources in the future.  Read our earlier post on Google Tag Manager.
    • Remarketing using Google Analytics is not available at this time with Universal Analytics.  If you’re interested in maintaining this capability in the short-term, we recommend you keep your current Async Google Analytics code working on your site, along side with Universal Analytics.

Awesome! A big leap forward. Yet just the start of many more changes to come.

For more detailed information from Google, check out:

3 thoughts on “New Simpler, More Powerful Google Analytics: Beyond Visits, Beyond Web

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  3. Pingback: Universal Analytics Out of Beta - Simpler, Faster Google Analytics

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