From checking in hotel guests to people walking into a store, Google Analytics is showing up in some unusual places. Two years ago Google released Universal Analytics, an upgrade to the Google Analytics software for measuring website traffic.
The “universal” tag is more than a marketing line – the program can collect data from a host of online and offline sources and mix them together. The reports then show the impact of one input on another.
Here are some of the less obvious uses of Google Analytics conducted by analytics geeks.
1. Coffee vs tea productivity test. Analytics specialists Loves Data connected RFID readers to the office hot beverage machine and measured the number of coffees and teas drunk each day by staff. When employees swiped a diagram for their hot drink at the machine, Google Analytics then measured their productivity while using the company’s business applications.
“We wanted to see if there’s a relationship between coffee and tea to productivity,” says Benjamin Mangold, director of digital and analytics.
2. Finding the best guests. A hotel can connect Google Analytics to its e-commerce, check-in and billing systems. Analytics assigns a non-identifiable number (or cookie) to every online booking, and when the guest checks into the hotel the Analytics software can measure how many guests found through an AdWords campaign turn up and fulfil their booking.
The next layer of analysis will filter guests by the amount they spend in the hotel restaurant, minibar and in-house services. “One AdWords campaign might show that $50 creates five sign-ups or bookings. But we might find that guests booked through a $100 a day AdWords campaign spend $1,000 at the hotel, while the $50 sign-ups don’t spend any money,” says Nico Minelli of Web Analytics Demystified. “That’s when you can see where you should be spending your money.”
3. Cleaning schedules. One company connected a Raspberry Pi micro-controller to reed switches to measure how often people opened doors to its staff rooms. They could then monitor the volume of traffic through each room with Google Analytics. “One of my old companies wanted to know which staff room is used the most and which should be cleaned the most frequently,” says Christian Bartens, director of Datalicious.