The AMC television series Mad Men encompasses what many considered to be the “black art” of business: advertising. Back then, much of what was conceptualized was based on administered focus groups, experience and assumption. Technology today has demystified much of the user behavior by way of truly quantifiable results and more effective testing. And it just got even more data-driven with Google’s release of Universal Analytics.
Last October, Google announced a limited beta release of Universal Analytics, and today it is open to everyone.
So just what will it do? Here are 4 key components:
#1: Tracking behavior, not just clicks, including offline. Universal Analytics is designed to incorporate with your CRM, email lists and other 3rd party data, all while tracking across multiple devices. This is called Measurement Protocol, and while I quite frankly don’t clearly understand how it all works, it is definitely very exciting and pushes the envelope when it comes to measuring ROI for storefronts that do a great deal of online marketing.
#2: Excluding select search terms. Most all law firms appear well in searches for their own firm name. If you run TV ads or have an article in the newspaper, boom — all your traffic is coming from your name. Universal Analytics will allow you to exclude many of these types of searches so as you filter your results to see your site’s performance, you can focus and drill down on the terms that relate to your practice, rather than your firm name.
#3: How long a complex website takes to load. Currently Analytics will tell you what your sites average load time is, but that number is only determined when the site is fully loaded. If your site is video- or image-heavy, or has a responsive design which excludes certain “heavy” elements, your load time numbers are not accurate. The new Universal Anaylytics will allow you to see how long each element of a page took to load. Nifty.
#4: Bucket referring sites and directories into categories. Let’s say you spend money with different directory websites, like Findlaw, Lawyers.com, etc. Is it a waste? No, you’ll know more. By being able to group and measure these sites together to determine their effectiveness will be faster and easier rather than trying to sift through each site’s performance, or solely relying on the numbers the vendor gave to you.
I am most excited about the Site Speed part of Universal Analytics. That will be really helpful when it comes to understanding why a site is loading slow.