Google Analytics Summit 2012

Each year Certified Google Partners are invited to attend the Google Analytics Partner Summit in Mountain View. This event is a chance for Google to announce a range of new tools, features and plans for the Analytics product, and partners to meet. FIRST is one of only two Google Certified Partners in New Zealand, and this year I was lucky enough to represent FIRST at the event.

The Analytics team have been working hard, with the main focus was around making Analytics more powerful, while staying easy to use. This year a huge upcoming change was announced – a full overhaul of how Analytics tracks. Currently, at its lowest levels Analytics is still based on the Urchin system, which required large amounts of client side data retention and limited visitor level tracking as a result. A number of other tracking providers overcame these issues by doing a lot more of their processing server side, and Google is finally making this shift as well.

Google are calling this next generation of the service “Universal Analytics”. This means the new release of Analytics can be built into or bolted on to any device or system. Google has identified that the majority of businesses who use their systems are not just simple online only setups. Conversions happen across multiple devices, on and offline, and in a range of different formats. By creating a system that can also be integrated into other systems, like CRM setups, they can begin to track far more of the whole image than just what happens on the site.

An example: imagine you work at a bank, and you are in charge of AdWords for the home loans division. Conversion rates would be almost non-existent – nobody completes the full conversion process for something as complicated as a home loan just through the website. By integrating Universal Analytics into your CRM you can trigger goals or conversion points as their status is updated in internal systems. When a user completes the home loan process in their local branch, its tied back to their original AdWords click through their customer ID, and the conversion can be correctly attributed.

There were a range of other features that were announced, including the ability to import other visitor level data into custom dimensions and metrics, and platform flow analysis.

The speakers and topics raised throughout the Summit were fantastic, especially Avinash , and its great to be in the presence of so many people who are on the cutting edge of the Analytics and Web tracking scene.

Google Analytics Summit - Avinash

A chance to explore Google’s home town of Mountain View and to see the campus (from the outside – still weren’t really allowed in), and the Bay Area added to a fantastic couple of days.

Simon at Google HQ

I learned a huge amount not only from the speakers, but the other attendees, and can’t wait to see what the next 12 months brings for our favourite web tracking system!