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Benefits of User ID & Data Import for Google Analytics

This year’s Linkdex Think Tank ‘Going Beyond the Data’ held in the swanky One Alfred Place was a delight to attend with fantastic speakers on a variety of topics. The core theme of the day was the ever increasing amount of data that is at our disposal and how we can get the most of it. The talks varied from how to track, analyse and to the presentation of your findings.

One of the core themes of the day was how to harness the power of GA , something we’d all love to know. The answer is simple, and that is to spend time and lots of it exploring and experimenting.

The main talk I will discuss was from Dara Fitzgerald I’ve written about Dara’s talks in the past and that is because they are always jam packed with so much useful information. Here are a few more gems about Universal Analytics. I’ve used Dara’s talk along with blog posts from Justin Cutroni and Google Developers guide to help gain a well-rounded understanding of these new features.

User ID Cross Device Reporting:

Note: User ID’s have to be set manually and sent to GA (customer login data is stored on a server which is used when customers login to the website).User ID view has to be set up and a User ID view needs to be created. Read about how to set this up at Justin Cutroni blog

Based on cookie data it is possible to attribute cross-device user sessions into one session. This means if a user accesses your website from a laptop, a mobile and a tablet (logged in) then this will be counted as one user, instead as 3 different users. The reason why this is an important change is because it gives us a better understanding when it comes to the customer journey on conversions and transactions. However, the user will need to be logged in, therefore this has great applications in e-commerce website such as Expedia etc.

If for instance, that the ID cannot be retrieved then GA will revert to the default method of assigning a client ID (different for each device) therefore one user over multiple devices will be counted as many users. However, there is a feature called Session Unification that can help work around this issue. This allows GA to stitch together auto-generated client ID together into one, as long as those hits happen within the same session.

Data import:

This allows us to import offline data into GA. There are two types of data import, there is Account linking i.e. linking your AdWords account to give impression and cost data from Adwords and the last method is Data import is one that I will talk about.

There are two was to import data, (1) Dimension widening and (2) Cost data import. Data import can include offline marketing and advertising cost data. Importing data is much like User ID cross-device reporting in that there will need to be a common denominator in both sets of data, a key. Cost data is adding non-Google advertising such as Bing and Yahoo

Dimension widening allows you to create custom dimensions such as adding ‘loyalty scheme customers’ segment, say for instance you stored whether customers have signed on to a loyalty scheme. You will be able to segment if these customers had higher conversions compared to other sources of traffic. Once again there needs to be a common denominator when uploading the dimension, in this case you will use the key for the user ID. After uploading you will be able to get a greater understanding of all advertising spend.

The two features I have discussed will help us gauge a better understanding of our marketing efforts. It helps put the data we have into a better context and they give us valuable knowledge into how a specific user interacts with our website. You will be able to see how many ways in which a user interacts over several devices and see the revenue associated with those devices. By creating detailed dimensions that are specific to your business allows you to gain greater understanding into the data that you already have. These are advanced features and will take some dev time, but once they are set up and firing you’ll be thankful for added insight.



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