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19 Mar 2014

Tying Online and Offline Data Together Using Google Universal Analytics

Tying Online and Offline Data Together Using Google Universal Analytics

This is a guest post by Jane Intrieri, a Search Marketing Specialist for IfbyPhone.

As Google continues to shift all analytics users to Universal Analytics, marketers are becoming increasingly interested in the different ways the tool can be used to benefit their own businesses or their clients.

Traditional Google Analytics first enabled marketers to look at everything happening on their website, from form fills to page visits to content downloads. Now, with Universal Analytics, marketers have the ability track online and offline interactions, and they can even take it a step further by attributing online behavior to offline actions.

Being able to tie online visits to offline actions through Universal Analytics provides marketers with the unique ability to demonstrate true ROI of their marketing. For example, an in-person purchase may be the result of an online search, or a phone call to sales might have been triggered by a PPC ad. But if you aren’t tracking online and offline conversions in Universal Analytics, how would you know that an in-store purchase was triggered by a Google search, or that your PPC ad actually drove a customer to call your business and make a purchase over the phone? You wouldn’t, and you wouldn’t be able to use that intelligence to make better marketing decisions.

Below are three ways marketers can use Universal Analytics to tie online visits to offline behavior and improve the reporting of ROI metrics.

Tracking Phone Calls as Conversions

A study by analyst firm BIA/Kelsey reported that inbound sales calls convert to revenue 10 times more often than web leads. It’s why phone calls are considered by many businesses to be the most valuable lead type. Customers who call a business are often further along in the buying process, and are closer to being ready to complete their purchase. It’s why inbound calls are the leads marketers most want to generate, but also struggle hardest to track.

That’s where call tracking technology and Universal Analytics comes in. If you aren’t already tracking phone calls your marketing campaigns and website generates, you know you should be. The next piece is integrating your call tracking data with Universal Analytics. This integration enables marketers to view call data alongside online web data. Now you can view the number of visitors who surfed your site in a day, along with the number of calls generated, for example. You can even view the specific landing pages that callers visited before deciding to pick up the phone to talk to you. This data helps marketers better understand how their website is performing at generating phone calls vs. web form downloads. You can also test which landing pages work best at generating phone calls.

tracking phone calls with universal analytics

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Online Visits Turned to In-Store Visits

Say a customer clicks on one of your PPC ads and then decides to pick up the phone and call you for more information or to make a purchase. First, using call routing, you can make sure the caller immediately gets routed to the closest store location to where they are calling from. Once the store agent picks up the call, the caller’s Universal Analytics ID along with the web page they visited before calling can be automatically stored in your CRM.

Say the customer asks a question about inventory and then comes into the store to complete their purchase. You will be able to tie the PPC ad directly to the store visit and the purchase made in- house. This way you can track the true ROI of that purchase in Universal Analytics based on the cost of the paid search click and how much the customer actually spent in your store. Universal Analytics gives you a unified interface where you can see all data on marketing ROI.

Your business can use this data to calculate how much money is actually worth your while to spend on paid search campaigns because you have conversion information from online and offline purchases.

tracking phone purchases with universal analytics

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Testing and Improving User Experience

Let’s use the marketing agency as an example here. Say you hire an agency to build your website and then drive demand generation. The agency tracks all of your website traffic in Universal Analytics, along with calls, and also uses call routing to make sure calls get to the right agent as quickly as possible. But they find that people aren’t converting on your website at the rate they had planned for. They are driving plenty of leads, but the leads just aren’t converting. Using visitor flow charts in Universal Analytics, the agency can view exactly where visitors are dropping off your website.

This data can help them figure out if there is an issue on a certain browser or device. It can also help determine the best ways to convert visitors into high quality phone calls by seeing which pages generate the most (and fewest) phone calls to your business.

Universal Analytics introduced the ability for marketers to track various interactions over time to the same user. Marketers are now using this data in creative ways to improve ROI. What creative ways is your business using Universal Analytics? Leave your responses in the comments section below to continue the discussion.

And if you wish to learn more on the topic, you can watch this recorded webinar on call tracking and Universal Analytics.