Google and Analytics for Businesses in 2016

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: March 8th, 2016 | Updated: July 26th, 2022

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The Web: Data at the Speed of Want

The worldwide web (www) offers a lot of interesting things to everyone—the novice and the experts, the seekers and the providers, even those from the system within Google itself. It has developed from the very first computer, which is a programmable calculator, created by German engineer Konrad Zuse and completed in 1941, that yields exact and single response to a single query, to having the SERPs (short for “Search Engine Result Pages”) by 2004 where a great number of yields per individual search is provided, to a more complex, intricate, yet interconnected world were ranking matters most. Now, companions within the network involves more than just the pages within a page, a website or a network of websites, but a truncated and systematic conglomeration of systems, including the hummingbird, which allows internet user experience more satisfying by providing related information based on several factors at a speed of want.

The Web: The World beyond Boundaries

A whole new world- this is what the web presents every time one steps into its threshold and immerse in the ever growing environment that supersedes every known boundaries, such as time and space.

A very interesting, engaging, and creative description of what Google, one of the best representations of the web, is provided for us in a piece by Laurie Berkner, and it goes like this:

On a spring day you can find your way

To a little flower garden where the Googlehead plays

You know they’re there by the clothes they wear

And their Googlehead faces and their Googlehead hair.

“Cause they’re the Googleheads

They shake their doodleheads

They’re the goo-ga-goo-ga-goo-gah Googleheads.


Yet, it’s more than just search

Google is more than just the search engine. Even though being that alone wouldn’t be too bad as it allows us to retrieve responses or data from the web to almost any question asked, as quickly as blinking our eyes. Today, Google consists of a great number of services ( like Gmail, Google Maps, Drive, Hangouts, Talk, Labs, Picasa, Catalogs, Answers, and so on. Others are more obscure, like Google Base, Google Page Creator, Google Writely or Google X, and even Google experts can have a hard time keeping track.

The Web and Google Analytics

One of these services is Google Analytics. What is Google Analytics? It is a web stats analysis application. Data is generated by including snippets of JavaScript in your website which allows it to collects data about your visitors, including his or her geographic location, using cookies. Google Analytics takes these data and analyses it, creating graphs and reports about your visitors’ trends.

Many users understanding of analytics software has not changed since the introduction of Analytics over a decade ago. However, a lot has changed since Google first launched the program in 2005. So even if you are familiar with its basic functions, working with it can sometimes pose a number of difficulties.

“GA (Google Analytics) is the eyes on your digital ecosystem and on your customer,” reveals Caleb Whitmore, founder and principle consultant at Seattle-based Analytics Pros. “GA is a platform that lets you restore some of that gap that’s grown between businesses and their customers in the digital age. It measures all of those digital interactions in an aggregate, anonymized way, but in a way that still can paint a very real picture of who your customer is and what they need or want from you, and how you can better serve them.”

Google and Analytics in 2016

Like any other Google features, GA faced a number of trying times. As such, Google tried to add desired user features to repair issues with classic Google Analytics (GA) until the various patches as well as fixes could no longer keep up with the demand. To address this concern, it released what is now known as the Universal Analytics (UA), which is an improved version of its original analysis software. By April 2014, UA exited beta testing phase and recognized as the “new and improved” version of GA.

After the UA launch, Google announced that it would be officially retiring GA as of April 2016 and replacing it with UA. To quote the Google, “Universal Analytics is the new operating standard for Google Analytics. All accounts will soon be required to use Universal Analytics.”

Modifications to the existing GA are as follows:

  1. Custom Dimensions and Metrics replaced Standard reports. GA provides an audience overview and indicates visits (unique visits, page views, bounces), traffic sources (referral, direct and campaign traffic), content (site content, speed) as well as conversion information in its standard reports area. These are all useful information, but does not address the requirements of all users.

With the UA custom dimensions and metrics for a number of properties (i.e., websites) may now be generated. Each property has 20 available indices for both custom dimensions as well as custom metrics. These allows UA dependents to define what is needed to be measured and how.

  1. URLs are replaced by content categories. In GA, the standard page report provides page lists of URLs followed by page views, average time on page, bounce rate, and so on. This “top down” view makes it challenging to determine which specific elements were influencing user behaviour during each page visit.

With UA, however, user behavior can be defined through individually created content categories like page types, product groups, as well as site sections, not just URLs. Such information is more usable as well as understandable.

  1. Enhanced Ecommerce replaced Ecommerce. This feature on UA provides a detailed picture of what buyers (and potential buyers) are doing on a website. Though this information could also be obtained through GA, it required significant setup and offline analysis.

With Enhanced E-commerce, a business owner of UA specialist can now evaluate individual product performance reports (by SKU, category, etc.) and learn how many times a product was viewed, added to the shopping cart, taken to checkout, abandoned during checkout, and so on. Moreover, with the UA installed, businesses can now focus on the buyer journey and analyse how many buyers viewed a specific product, added that product to their shopping carts, how many buyers went to checkout and purchased, etc.

Significant changes are happening with Google and analytics in 2016, thus it is also vital that you refresh your knowledge to everything related to it. Perhaps it is also a great time to update your objectives to keep up with the trends. Change is good and if we can keep up with it, we benefit most and will be able to keep our businesses running and en sync with the changing time.

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