Last week Google rocked the Analytics community with the release of the long anticipated Universal Analytics. Universal Analytics is complex in implementation but enables marketers to track virtually any interaction either online or offline. This is big news!

The big difference between traditional Google Analytics and Universal Analytics is that the new version allows developers to programmatically send the platform any event they want. With the old Analytics platform it was only feasible to send data on browser page loads.

So what can we do with this new platform?

Below are the top five most exciting uses of Universal Analytics that the Launch Digital Marketing team is talking about. (Each of these are in the very early stages of development)


Product check-in

Now that developers can send Universal Analytics any data event they can think of, we now have the ability to track information about product use itself. This means if the product is a car, it is now possible to track (with a customer’s permission!) when the vehicle has been driven 3,000 miles and needs an oil change. With this data, the dealership can use personal e-mail marketing to send the user three available appointment times.

Physical Point Tracking

It is now easier to tie specific events to specific people. With the new improvements in Analytics is now easy to assign a unique identifier to an offline user (i.e. a license plate number) and associate it with their online activity (i.e. an IP address).

Imagine noting (again with customer’s permissions) the license plate number of every car that goes in and out of a dealership lot (this is possible today using OCR technology). This information could then be tied to a specific user record and be used to show how a user interacts with the dealership online, on the phone and in-person. Finally we as marketers are getting closer to the full picture.


Product Activation and Usage

A customer might buy a product but are they actually using it? With the today’s analytics it is possible to track the purchase of a new XM radio and actually tell if the customer is using it. This could help marketers figure out which demographics are more likely to buy and USE specific products.


Everywhere Becomes a Point of Sale

Instead of sales happening only at traditional computer or brick and mortar facility, it is now possible through mobile implementations for customers to buy from anywhere. This happens today with car owners through iTunes and Spotify but could be expanded to physical products going forward. Imagine a customer buying a new tire automatically the moment they get a flat.


Customer geo-location and demographics

The new version of Analytics can also be used to bolster traditional advertising efforts. Imagine tracking radio stations listened to, billboards passed and TV stations watched. This information could be used to radically optimize current advertisements campaigns.

Plus One More (Setting this up today is probably unfeasible but won’t be in the future)

Since it is now possible to track essentially any online or offline event, it has also become possible to react to this data.



Collecting data is not enough. It is only helpful if it is used. Universal Analytics helps with the first part but it is up to marketers and developers to implement the latter half. Luckily we are getting close.

Imagine knowing based on stored data, the moment a previous customer walks into a dealership and having their vehicle information and personal preferences automatically being loaded onto the dealer computers and in-store displays.

Take this a step further and you could in theory apply it to any advertising. (Remarketing taken offline!) Billboards could now have the ability to become smart and localized. This include changing ads based on who’s driving or walking by at any given time.

While these systems are not easy to set up today, they are now possible. Rest assured that the team at Launch and marketers all over the world are working to simplify these data collection tactics and hope to be using them to make marketing efforts even more effective going forward.

Meet Danny Dover

Danny Dover is the author of the best selling book Search Engine Optimization Secrets (Wiley 2011), the former Senior SEO Manager at AT&T and the former Lead SEO at SEOmoz. Danny has worked for many of the biggest brands in the world and spends his extra time completing his 150+ item bucket list.