Universal Analytics: Google Slowly Solves Marketers’ Pains

In the world of multi-channel universal-analyticsmarketing, there are many different places where a prospective buyer or customer can interact with a company. With this environment comes many different technologies that measure one channel really well (maybe 2 or more). The reality is that not every measurement solution can capture every piece of unique data. In comes Google Universal Analytics.

In my previous post, I asked Google to give us a cost input. They’ve answered my call (probably not, but I will pretend they did it because I asked). This has multiple benefits for measuring return on investment. You cannot calculate ROI without cost data. Although importing cost data does take some programming. Basically you have to create a file that imports the data into Google Analytics through API (application programming interface). For you developers out there, here is some helpful documentation on how cost data import works. If you’re a marketer reading this, just forward the documentation link to your developer or refer to this service that has already developed a solution.

Inputting revenue in Google Analytics is easy. You either create a Goal and attach a revenue figure to that action, or you can use e-commerce tracking. Both are fairly simple to implement.

Now all you have to do is subtract revenue from cost and divide by the cost. Voila!

This is where it gets really interesting…..

Say you want to track sales from a point of sale system at a physical store. You can now import this data from the POS software and slice and dice the data in Google Analytics. Depending on what type of information you collect from your customers, there are many benefits to importing this stuff.

If you collect zip code when someone makes a purchase, you can see which zip codes are the most valuable by product line, product category. And this is just one way you could do it.

If you sell via e-commerce and a physical store, you could see which types of customers are more valuable to your business. Some of the questions you will be able to answer:

  • What is the average purchase value for online vs. in-store?
  • What is the 3 year value of customers who shop solely through online vs. solely through in-store?

Implications for social media return on investment calculations

Granted you are already importing online analytics data into your customer relationship management software, you can start importing anonymous customer records into Google Analytics. The way you structure this type of data is something you will have to work out with a programmer. Once you get the data back into Google Analytics, you will be able to slice and dice magnificently!

Next, you will be able to import cost and revenue data for your social media efforts. If you tag your shared links correctly on all social media platforms, you will be able to implement Nichole Kelly’s Measurement Approach. (By the way, her book, How to Measure Social Media, is excellent and explains a lot of what inspires me every day as an analytics geek).

This is just the beginning

While I’ve only explained a couple of ways that marketers can use Universal Analytics, there are many more options for customized reporting. Fragmentation is clearly on Google’s mind, and they are helping address this problem.

Here is a link to sign up for the beta of Universal Analytics. Have fun!

Are you excited about what’s to come in multi-channel analytics? I sure am….

image credit: google analytics blog

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About Nick Robinson

Nick Robinson is the Director of Client Services for Social Media HQ. He has a strong background in web development, marketing, and entrepreneurship. His professional experience with the web dates back to 1997 when he coded his first Geocities website. When not burning the midnight oil, you can find him on the lacrosse field, playing or coaching. The best place to interact with him is Twitter - @socialrobinson or Google+.
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