Google Universal Analytics isn’t Linking Offline and Online User Properly

In this post I am going to show you GUA isn’t working to link offline user and online user unless we fire an offline event within the same session(30 min). After Google Universal Analytics beta version was announced by Google my head filled with new ideas and with new products. We started to build systems and programs to solve our day to day web analytics problems such as offline conversions and call tracking. So we did a small test to check the measurement protocol. As our test we figured out that GUA don’t link online and offline user sessions, unless we don’t fire an offline event within the same session(default 30min). This leads us to do extra work to link users who don’t convert(offline) within the same session.

Test 1: Fire an offline event within 30 min after online visit

  • Visitor came to the site trough Google organic using “keyword 1”
  • Our system extracted the user cid from GUA Cookie that was 343083239.1368612720
  • After 10 mins we fired an event as below

v=1                                                     // Version.
&tid=UA-XXXX-Y                                 // Tracking ID / Web property / Property ID.
&cid=343083239.1368612720          // Anonymous Client ID.

&t=event                                            // Event hit type
&ec=conversion                                // Event Category. Required.
&ea=play                                          // Event Action. Required.
&el=holiday                                      // Event label.
&ev=300                                          // Event value.

Result

GUA captured the event and linked with the online visit. When I select the “keyword” as the secondary dimension to the event, It showed me ” keyword 1″ So I succeed with the linking offline and online customer to same session.

 

Test 2 : Fire an offline event after 12 hours after online visit

  • Visitor came to the site trough Google organic using “keyword 2”
  • Our system extracted the user cid from GUA Cookie that was 804722253.1368616888
  • I fired an event after 12 hours using the same cid

v=1                                                     // Version.
&tid=UA-XXXX-Y                                 // Tracking ID / Web property / Property ID.
&cid=804722253.1368616888          // Anonymous Client ID.

&t=event                                            // Event hit type
&ec=conversion                                // Event Category. Required.
&ea=play                                          // Event Action. Required.
&el=holiday                                      // Event label.
&ev=300                                          // Event value.

Result

GUA captured the event and didn’t link with the previous visit. When I select the “keyword” from the secondary dimension to the event It showed me ” not set”. Again I selected the secondary dimension to “visitor type” it showed me the event as a new visitor.

Conclusion

GUA match offline event  with previous session(online visit), if and only if the offline events are sent during the 30 minute(default time) session. As a alternative method we can use custom dimension to link users so we have to store cookie id’s in our server and need to generate the custom dimension to each visit or you could increase session time to 4 hours(max).

I would be happy to know a solution and feedbacks. So just drop a comment or use contact us page.

 

 

 

 

 

Niroshan Niroshan (25 Posts)

Interesting about web analytics,AB testing, Affiliate marketing and anything that generate traffic.


8 comments on “Google Universal Analytics isn’t Linking Offline and Online User Properly

  1. -

    Hi there, we have experienced somethign similar, however I am not sure if this is something that is officialy supported now by UA?

    • - Post author

      Thank You PedroCZ for your question. Cross device tracking isn't available yet so you can't tie CID using two different computers to track offline conversions. Google Analytics Advocate confirmed this.

  2. -

    Hi Niroshan

    Are you saying that the GA cookie is over written if a call is made after 30 minutes?

    What if i create my own cid with everycall which would be a unique identifier that we use for the user which is stored in a cookie and expires afeter 24hrs

    Thanks

    Varun

  3. - Post author

    Hi Varun,

    Now it is working, If you send a offline event after 30 min GA will take it as a new session. You can only get traffic source related dimensions. dimensions like browser will sent to (not set)

    • - Post author

      We were able to link offline action through as you did with measurement protocol but the problem is that those sessions are not included in demographic and age report.

      Rather looking those report I used them to do segmented analysis E.g. pages they have look at, sources they used to come also I used it with attribution model to understand best channels to drive more conversions.

      Yes you can use CID as a user ID but I haven't tried it with offline tracking. Share the result with us.

      • -

        Did you come up with a solution?

        I am trying to implement this with the "transaction" hit type. Currently when a the measurement-protocol-url is called after the user's session has run out (30 minutes), then the landing page for the user is automatically set to (not set).

        • - Post author

          Thatz the nature of the GA, I have setup session timeout to 4 hours sent data within 4 hours.

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