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Google Universal Analytics – What You Need To Know

March 28, 2014 Digital Media Solutions

Google Universal AnalyticsBack in March of last year, Google opened its Universal Analytics (UA) beta to the public with the intention of helping businesses better understand how their customers interact with them across multiple devices. Now, a year later, UA is being seen as a “game changer” for higher ed, according to University Business.

What is UA, you ask?

Essentially, it’s Google Analytics (GA) 2.0. In addition to the power of GA, UA comes equipped with:

  • Tracking of users across multiple properties, including websites, mobile applications and other web devices – like gaming consoles
  • Integration of offline data, including calls to unique phone numbers placed on a website

Why do you need UA?

Americans – including your prospective students – have dramatically changed the way we consume digital content. According to Socialmedia Today, 90 percent of Americans use multiple devices sequentially throughout the day. This includes smartphones, desktop computers, TVs, eReaders, tablets and more. So if you’re not tracking across multiple platforms, you may be optimizing performance against significantly limited data.

What do you need to know to get started with UA?

Google provides a great overview to help you set up UA for your properties. Here are some additional tips:

  • You will need to create a clever mechanism to track a single user across multiple devices. Some options include: user profiles, unique promo codes and visitor IDs that must be utilized during every visit on any device
  • Offline conversations will also require a unique user ID
  • Tailor the user experience to be more interactive in order to encourage cross-device log-ins
  • If you have a comment system, create a rich experience to encourage commenting and force users to log-in
  • Offer rewards for repeat visits

Once you have transitioned to UA, you’ll be able to easily track conversions across multiple devices, with even phone calls tracked back to an initial site visit. The potential for this data to change the way we look at our holistic marketing and brand presence is enormous.

Although UA is still in beta phase, Google is slowly transitioning their support away from GA to better support UA. In fact, some updates and new features are being promised only to UA. And though there is no published timeline for GA’s sunset, Google has already warned that businesses that do not upgrade to UA on their own will be auto-transferred “in the future.”

In an industry that is still neglecting its mobile audience (70 percent of schools in NJ and PA are lacking a mobile presence according to University Business, Google’s Universal Analytics provide the needed catalyst to transition to a multiple-platform way of thinking.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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