10 Tips on using Google’s Universal Analytics

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If we don’t know where we’ve been, how will we know where to go? We love Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) because it’s giving us some insights we just weren’t getting before. So we set out to find some recent tips to help us – and you – understand the power of this new tool. Here’s the roundup.

1. Universal Analytics in Context

Rise Interactive’s One-Minute Explanation of Google’s Universal Analytics is a great introduction to the tool. It covers multi-platform tracking, the availability of more accurate data and the provision of analytics for mobile apps.


2. How to Set Up UA

Need to get started? Then SteamFeed has your back with a three part guide to setting up UA and beginning to extract useful data. Detailed explanations and screenshots make this a useful resource.

Key takeaway: using UA gives deeper insights into how you can improve your customers’ experience.


3. How UA Differs from the old GA

For a bit more depth, check out Koozai’s video post on Why You Need to Switch to Universal Analytics (don’t worry; there’s a transcript). It explains the different between the two analytics version and highlights some killer features of UA.

Key takeaway: you can integrate offline behavior into this online report, which is pretty nifty.

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4. Better Visualization

The Levers blog is in agreement that people should upgrade to Universal Analytics because of custom dimensions and metrics, forthcoming integration with new Google products, cross-domain tracking and more fine-grained data manipulation.

Key takeaway: “a complete picture of the past is incredibly valuable when looking to the future”.


5. Extreme Customization – Part 1 – Link Tracking

Geek alert: Blast Analytics Marketing gives insight into link tracking with UA using hit callback functionality. It provides the code to help you track downloads, external links, telephone link clicks and more. No takeaways, but there’s a useful example of the data you get after implementing this code.


6. Extreme Customization – Part 2 – Optimizing Search

There’s more code in an article from Antezeta explaining how to improve search engine recognition in UA. It includes the code you need to do it, as well as a list of suggested search engines not included in the default Google set.

Key takeaway: implementing this will improve reporting of referral traffic and may also improve keyword data. See our recent post on ‘not provided’ keywords for more context on this.


7. What Do Users Do?

Another key feature of UA, says Jono Alderson, is the ability to track interactions for a single user. His Slideshare presentation shows how UA can help enhance decision marking in marketing.

Key takeaway: you can use real data for single users to help with marketing strategy and trend spotting.


8. Tracking Blog Performance

What if you’re using WordPress? Noel Tock highlights some custom metrics you can use to check out the performance of your blog posts and see how length, age and comments play a role.

Key takeaway: with the ability to add many more custom metrics why not see what you can learn about interaction on your blog?


9. UA in Action

Digitangle’s introduction to UA ends with some real life examples of how you can use the code for tracking. Our favorite bit? “Identify your fish”. In other words use information you already have to enable tracking by customer.


10. “Tracking the Untrackable”

Finally, Search Engine Watch gives some UA inspiration with 10 Google Analytics Custom Events That Track the Untrackable. This article gives you examples of the tracking code you need.

Key takeaway: “custom events require equal parts strategy and technical know-how long before any opportunities for analysis present themselves.”

Have you got any favorite UA tips to add to this list?

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