Many of us have become familiar with the UTM cookies that are set by Google Analytics (GA) to track the activities of site visitors. Classic GA code tracks users' sessions, and ties different sessions together provided that the returning visitor is using the same device and browser, and has not cleared their cookies lately.
The hard truth is that most people have many different devices which they use to interact in different ways; so much research happens before a customer even sets foot in your store. Even online purchases may start on a mobile phone or tablet before finally converting on a PC. In short, in Google Analytics as it stands at the moment, the proliferation of devices breaks user visibility – we simply cannot see the real journey that an individual takes towards conversion.
The New Measurement Protocol
Enter Universal Analytics and the new Measurement Protocol that tracks users instead of sessions. The Measurement Protocol is a new API (application programme interface) that allows you to send data to GA from multiple platforms and events. Using a unique (yet still anonymous) tag for each user, we will be able to track an individual as they visit a site from their mobile phone, tablet, laptop, and even up to the point of sale in a physical store. Google employees even demonstrated how their employee tags (which are embedded with RFID chips) were able to send data to Google Analytics via the API, showing them as unique visitors in the real-time data window.
Universal Analytics also offers, for the very first time, the opportunity to upload data into Google Analytics, in the .csv format. This opens up the possibility of seeing the CRM status of your users in GA, such as “premium package” or “trial” customers, and being able to segment these groups for comparison.
What’s The Story So Far?
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear about a potential release date! In the meantime, you can read more here: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2012/10/universal-analytics.html