For many years Google Analytics focused on website metrics — things related to site performance and site visitor behavior.

But a broad scope of data influences — both in number of sources and, consequentially, complexity — has arisen. Google Analytics has changed to account for data from sources other than a standard laptop and yet associated with visitor metrics.

One change is blending data through an import protocol. Google offers this feature in the Measurement Protocol for Google Analytics.

Understanding Users

Measurement Protocol permits developers to import user interaction data into Google Analytics servers. This allows Google Analytics to be a central interface for investigating how users interact with business offerings from a number of environments – from outdoor kiosks to sensor-enabled products. 

Thus an analysis can include user-selected metrics alongside Google Analytics dimensions and metrics instead of relying upon pre-selected measurements.   

Measurement Protocol differs slightly from another Google Analytics import, called Data Import. 

Data Import also allows data uploads from external sources into Google Analytics, but does so on a singular basis rather than through calls to the Google Analytics server as Measurement Protocol does. 

So managers should see measurement protocol as a resource when analysis is dependent on streamed data.

Installation Basics

Implementing the protocol require adding modifications to the analytics tag, but business users can still provide guidance as to what parameters should be included. 

The developer must send either a POST or GET HTTP request to a Google provided server endpoint.

The request includes four data parameters, called a payload:

  1. Protocol release version
  2. Tracking ID, which represents the GA property or the account to which the data is associated
  3. Client ID for a unique user
  4. Type of data being sent or “hit type," which gives an indication of the type of interaction collected for a particular user. 

The fourth parameter supports text, Boolean, integer or currency data types.

Tell Me More!

The payload is a basic starting point for the protocol. More parameters can be added based on the data needed. Google describes the entire list of optional parameters here

These parameters cover digital marketing aspects such as traffic sources, system type and content information.

The optional parameters are an opportunity for business managers who understand analytics but not programming language to work alongside developers.

Managers and developers can share an understanding of available parameters and label syntax. For example, content information refers to where content is hosted.

Thus managers can plan and provide a list of digital content that will be available on sites that include the Google Analytics tag.

Developers will have to validate the protocol functionality through reviewing the declared protocol in the Measurement Protocol Validation Server.

A developer forum is available for diagnosing and sharing validation concerns.

Incorporating Measurement Protocol extends usability of Google Analytics to incorporating offline and offline data.

Such integration is highly valued as retailers and businesses are rapidly deploying Internet of Things (IoT) environments to create a customer experience.

Transforming analytic solutions into a data integration platform allows managers to make meaningful analysis and strategic decisions faster from IoT environments.

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