Hacking Universal Analytics – Tying Caffeine to Productivity
Articles,  Blog

Hacking Universal Analytics – Tying Caffeine to Productivity

Universal Analytics is a game changer,
it takes Google Analytics from a tool that measures interactions with websites and mobile
apps to a tool that can measure just about anything. It moves from being a tool that
measures interactions on a per device or per browser basis. To a tool that can
track the same user as they access a site on their work PC,
their mobile, their home PC or in our case, as they identify themselves using
an RFID key when they make a coffee. But it can do much more. Over the last few months, the analytics
team here at Loves Data have been tracking everything we can! When Universal Analytics was announced, we quickly realised we could literally
measure anything with Google Analytics. Consistency across multiple screens is
just the start, there’s no reason why our coffee machine
and our time tracking software can’t be tracked consistently so we can
accurately tie coffee consumption to billable hours! Shortly after we got access
to Universal Analytics, we bought a bunch of sensors, a few Arduino boards
with wifi modules, and held a Universal Analytics hack day to really explore the possibilities
of what we could track. So this is one of the tracking modules
that we built. We’ve got two RFID readers here,
one for tea, one for coffee, and everyone in our team has an RFID
keyfob. We make a coffee, we swipe the fob,
and this little Arduino module registers the event with Universal
Analytics. This tracks the Fridge. Scan your RFID key, and this flex sensor
knows when the Fridge was opened. This module tracks movement and distance.
So we’ve got it in front of our company dashboard. When it detects movement, it logs
a pageview, when someone comes closer it logs a different pageview, and if they
stand there long enough that we think they’ve engaged with it, it logs a third pageview
that we’re tracking as a conversion. Apart from tracking whatever we could, we wanted to produce actionable metrics. So we decided to track ourselves! Making
coffee, going to the fridge – and also indicators of productivity – hours logged,
code commits and tickets solved. Universal Analytics allows us to track
users with an ID from our system. But in this case we’ve got a bunch of
different IDs. So what we had to do was build an
ID broker server that takes any of these IDs and translates our
calls to use a consistent ID. So we’re doing this with email, with our RFID
chips, with our Bitbucket usernames, CRM IDs and so on. So we swipe this here to register a coffee. And we see it come through in our realtime
reports straight away. And if I go in and log a code commit in Bitbucket, we’re
seeing another event coming through, but it still knows that it’s just the one
active visitor. Same deal if I update the ticket system. And if I open the fridge! And with our time logs tracking into
Universal Analytics, I can look at all these events in the context of hours logged,
tickets solved and code commits. Realistically we’re not all going
to start tracking our fridges. So what are the real-world business
applications for this technology? The RFID keys we’ve used here could
be used as customer loyalty cards – both offline and online purchases can be
tracked and associated with the same person. With offline and online purchase
behavior tracked into one place, we can start conducting integrated
consumer behavior analysis and use these insights to optimize our
marketing and customer offers. We could also use physical buttons
to track offline conversions! Or integrate with a CRM to track leads
as they convert into sales! And we can track physical presence through
to online engagement – artworks at exhibitions, or display
booths at conventions. Talk to Loves Data about what
Universal Analytics can do for your organization. For details visit


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