Amplifi Commerce Point of View | Google Universal Analytics Beta | January 2014

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In this POV from Amplifi Commerce's Digital Performance Marketing practice, we'll review our recommended approach to Google's Universal Analytics beta.

Google Universal Analytics offers compelling improvements over the current, asynchronous
(and legacy synchronous) versions of Classic Google
Analytics and is the way forward. We recommend that
properties begin the upgrade process as soon as is feasible to avoid the potential downtime, tracking issues
and missing data triggered by the automatic transfer of a
property to Universal Analytics by
Google.

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Amplifi Commerce Point of View | Google Universal Analytics Beta | January 2014

  1. 1. Amplifi  Commerce  Point  of  View    •    Google  Universal  Analytics    •    January  2014   1 POINT  OF  VIEW   Google  Analytics     Universal  Analytics   Published  by   Amplifi  Commerce     Performance  Marketing  
  2. 2. Amplifi  Commerce  Point  of  View    •    Google  Universal  Analytics    •    January  2014   2 OVERVIEW   Google  announced  a  new  Analytics  platform  known  as  Universal  Analytics  in  late  2012.     Recently,  Google  announced  that  current  Google  Analytics  (GA)  ‘Classic’  properties  will  be  automatically  upgraded   to  Universal  Analytics,  their  new  standard  property  type,  over  the  coming  months.    Google  has  already  begun   auto-­‐transferring  properties  in  certain  segments  and  in  early  2014  will  fully  transition  all  to  Universal  Analytics  (UA)   as  soon  as  the  dc.js  JavaScript  and  related  features  (Remarketing,  Google  Display  Network  Impression  Reporting,   DoubleClick  Campaign  Manager  Integration)  are  supported.  Brands  that  can  should  begin  proactively  addressing   the  changes  now,  especially  if  your  site  has  numerous  custom  variables  enabled.       From  Google:         Many  current  Client  GA  accounts  have  the  Universal  Analytics  Upgrade  Tool  enabled,  which  allows  site  owners  to   upgrade  properties  to  Universal  Analytics  in  a  2-­‐step  process.  For  brands  with  a  standard  (non-­‐customized)   installation  of  Google  Classic  Analytics,  the  upgrade  is  as  simple  as  using  the  upgrade  tool  within  your  current   Analytics  account  to  upgrade  to  UA,  then  retagging  your  property.  Brands  that  have  many  custom  variables  will   have  more  work  to  do.       We  do  not  recommend  using  the  upgrade  tool  at  this  time.  Instead,  we  suggest  creating  a  new  Universal   property  (following  the  approach  we  recommend  later  in  this  document)  while  continuing  to  run  your  current   Classic  Analytics  tracking  until  Universal  Analytics  emerges  from  beta.       The  Universal  Analytics  Upgrade  Guide  can  be  found  here:     https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/upgrade/guide     KEY  DIFFERENCES  OF  UNIVERSAL  ANALYTICS     Measurement  Methodology  Change  –  Universal  Analytics  is  based  on  capturing  discrete  user  activity,  not  site  or   page  visits.  Universal  Analytics  data  will  allow  retailers  to  better  identify  a  user  across  devices  and  even  channels  to   gain  better  insights  into  user  behavior  overall.         Offline  Data  -­‐  By  leveraging  the  new  API,  you  can  connect  POS,  CRM  or  even  call  center  data  to  create  a  more   holistic  view  of  a  particular  user,  enabling  omnichannel  measurement  that  retailers  are  pining  for.       Speed  –  In  Classic  Analytics,  data  was  stored  within  the  cookie  itself  and  passed  to  GA  for  each  page  view.    In  UA,   the  cookie  has  been  greatly  simplified,  and  data  is  stored  on  Google’s  servers  instead  of  being  passed  with  each   page  view.    This  innovation  will  increase  speeds  for  sites,  and  with  the  ubiquity  of  Google  Analytics,  for  the   Internet  as  a  whole.       Additional  features  of  Universal  Analytics  include  omnichannel  attribution  (previously  only  available  within   Analytics  Premium),  the  ability  to  import  cost  data  from  other  channels  (such  as  display,  social,  Yahoo,  etc.),  an   integrated  campaign  manager,  recency  and  frequency  reporting,  plus  the  ability  to  calculate  Lifetime  Customer   Value  (LCV).     “All  Google  Analytics  properties  will  soon  be  required  to  use  Universal  Analytics.  All  Google  Analytics   updates  and  new  features  will  be  built  on  top  of  the  Universal  Analytics  infrastructure.  To  make  sure  all   properties  upgrade,  Classic  Analytics  properties  that  don’t  initiate  a  transfer  will  be  auto-­‐transferred  to   Universal  Analytics  in  the  coming  months.”   A  key  difference  is  that  Universal  Analytics  is  based  on  users,  not  visits.  Due  to  this  shift,  brands  will  see  a   delta  in  metrics  between  Classic  and  Universal  Analytics.  
  3. 3. Amplifi  Commerce  Point  of  View    •    Google  Universal  Analytics    •    January  2014   3   WHY  NOT  UPGRADE  IMMEDIATELY?     Universal  Analytics  is  currently  in  beta  and  does  not  support  all  features  of  Google  Analytics  Classic.  However,   now  is  a  good  time  to  being  testing  Universal  Analytics  by  deploying  it  alongside  your  existing  implementation  in  a   separate  Web  Property.  Universal  Analytics  will  not  interfere  with  previous  versions  of  Google  Analytics.   Features  currently  unsupported  by  the  Universal  Analytics  beta  include:   ! Doubleclick  Campaign  Manager  Integration  (this  includes  DFA  and  Bid  Manager)     ! Google  Content  Experiments   ! Google  Display  Advertising  Integration   ! Google  Remarketing  Integration   ! Google  Analytics  Demographics  &  Interests  Reporting     ! Adsense   If  you  currently  utilize  any  of  the  features  above,  we  recommend  waiting  until  Google  announces  support  for   these  elements  before  fully  upgrading  to  UA.  If  you  are  not  using  these  features,  then  you  can  migrate  to   Universal  Analytics  as  soon  as  the  migration  is  available  following  the  approach  we  recommend  later  in  this   document.     OTHER  OPPORTUNITIES   Timing  is  never  ideal  for  tackling  a  project  such  as  this.  But  you  can  make  the  most  of  your  analytics  upgrade  by   getting  your  analytics  house  in  order:     ! Audit  your  current  analytics  integration.  Make  sure  your  data  is  accurate  and  that  no  measurement  gaps   exist.  First,  perform  a  full  site  pixel  audit  to  inventory  current  and  necessary  pixels;  identify  outdated  or   unused  vendor  pixels  and  remove  them  from  the  site.  Next,  determine  if  all  metrics  are  being  tracked   appropriately.  Does  each  business  unit  have  the  data  they  need?  Now  is  the  time  to  capture  this   information  and  build  it  into  your  analytics  and  reporting  infrastructure.  Trust  in  your  data  and  confirming   that  all  activity  is  tracked  (and  tracked  properly)  is  critical  to  ecommerce  success.     ! Document  your  implementation.  Documenting  what  you  are  tracking,  why  you  are  tracking  it  that  way   and  how  things  were  set  up  (especially  custom  variables  and  dimensions)  gives  you  a  guide  to  reference  in   case  you  add  or  lose  a  team  member  close  to  the  integration.  Clear  documentation  also  helps  eliminate   internal  heartburn  when  business  units  need  to  understand  what  data  is  available,  how  it  is  measured  and   how  to  access  it.   ! Consider  tag  management.  Google  Tag  Manager  and  other  popular  3 rd  party  tag  management  solutions   can  give  your  marketing  teams  increased  agility,  allowing  them  add  and  remove  tags  without  involving  IT,   which    encourages  more  active  testing  of  vendors  and  opportunities.  Additional  benefits  include  improving   site  speed,  stability  and  compliance.    Given  Google’s  new  focus  on  tightly  integrating  Analytics,  Tag   Manager  and  Doubleclick  Campaign  Manager  (which  contains  both  their  paid  search  bid  management  tools   as  well  as  DFA  for  tracking  and  ad  serving),  we  recommend  Google  Tag  Manager  as  a  viable  and  powerful   solution  for  managing  the  proliferation  of  pixels  required  on  a  growing  ecommerce  property.          
  4. 4. Amplifi  Commerce  Point  of  View    •    Google  Universal  Analytics    •    January  2014   4   RECOMMENDED  APPROACH   For  brands  contemplating  a  proactive  upgrade  to  Universal  Analytics,  we  recommend  the  following  approach:     ! Do  not  use  the  Universal  Analytics  Upgrade  Tool  to  transfer  your  current  Classic  Analytics  account  to   Universal.  Leave  your  current  Classic  Analytics  integration  in  place.     ! Deploy  Google  Tag  Manager  (GTM)  across  the  site  to  manage  tags,  including  the  new  Universal  Analytics   tags  you  will  create.  Using  Google  Tag  Manager  will  simplify  future  analytics  upgrades.     ! Create  a  new  Tag  Manager  container  for  your  property  within  Tag  Manager.     ! Create  a  new  Universal  Analytics  property  within  your  Google  Analytics  account.     ! Create  and  deploy  a  new  tag  for  Universal  Analytics  within  Tag  Manager  to  begin  tracking  using   Universal  Analytics  and  GTM.  Note  that  Universal  Analytics  will  not  conflict  with  your  current  Classic   Analytics  integration,  so  running  Classic  and  Universal  Analytics  side-­‐by-­‐side  will  not  cause  issues  with   tracking  or  site  speed.     ! Confirm  that  Universal  Analytics  is  working  by  reviewing  Real-­‐Time  reports  within  your  Google  Analytics   dashboard.     ! Document  current  customizations  within  your  Classic  Analytics  property  and  rebuild  these  within   Universal  Analytics  as  Dimensions.     ! Baseline  variations  in  metrics  between  Classic  and  Universal  Analytics.  Confirm  that  customizations  have   been  recreated  as  Dimensions  within  the  new  Universal  property  and  an  acceptable  delta  between  each   analytics  property  exists.     ! Once  Universal  Analytics  exits  beta  and  you  are  confident  that  your  property  is  tracking  correctly,  update   the  Universal  Analytics  beta  tag  in  GTM  with  your  legacy  tracking  account  ID  to  transfer  historical  data  to   Universal  Analytics.  You  can  then  remove  all  instances  of  Classic  Analytics  from  your  site  and  begin  using   Universal  Analytics  as  your  primary  account  going  forward.     CONCLUSION           CONTACT   Brock  Marion     Director  of  Performance  Marketing   Amplifi  Commerce   E:  brock.marion@amplifcommerce.com   P:  (972)  861-­‐5437   M:  (214)  334-­‐1787 Google  Universal  Analytics  offers  compelling  improvements  over  the  current,  asynchronous  (and  legacy   synchronous)  versions  of  Classic  Google  Analytics  and  is  the  way  forward.  We  recommend  that  properties   begin  the  upgrade  process  as  soon  as  is  feasible  to  avoid  the  potential  downtime,  tracking  issues  and   missing  data  triggered  by  the  automatic  transfer  of  a  property  to  Universal  Analytics  by  Google.       We  believe  that  integrating  Google  Tag  Manager  on  your  site,  creating  a  new  Universal  property  and   running  the  new  instance  side-­‐by–side  with  your  current  Classic  Analytics  integration  is  the  path  that   offers  the  least  risk  and  gives  site  owners  an  opportunity  to  recreate  customizations  while  setting   baselines  to  understand  variations  between  the  two  Analytics  types.    This  will  prepare  your  teams  and   properties  for  a  full  migration  to  Universal  Analytics  when  it  exits  beta  and  all  features  are  supported.      

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