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Bring on- and offline together with iBeacons and Google Analytics

Measuring the online world is what we do every day, so why not measure the offline world? To accomplish this we worked together with Fosbury and their iBeacon Management tool. Together we build a solution to connect our offline iBeacons with Google Analytics to get real-time insights in the offline visitor behavior. This is a small first step to get Omni-Channel insights by combining online and offline analytics in one tool.

The Basics

Google Analytics provides a Measurement Protocol which can be used to send user data via HTTP requests directly to Google Analytics via almost any environment with an internet connection. So the only thing we needed to do was making an HTTP request when someone came near an iBeacon. Fosbury has a “Webhook” functionality which we used to send the Google Analytics HTTP request:

Webhook fields

The basic URL of the HTTP request is http://www.google-analytics.com/collect. Besides the base URL different parameters can be added to the URL to define what you want to measure in Google Analytics. The following four parameters are required:

Name Parameter Example Description
Protocol Version v v=1 The protocol version. The value should be 1.
Tracking ID tid tid=UA-123456-1 The ID that distinguishes to which Google Analytics property to send data.
Client ID cid cid=xxxxx An ID unique to a particular user.
Hit Type t t=pageview The type of interaction collected for a particular user.

Depending on the “hit type” some more paremeters are required. The hit type “pageview” requires the Page Path parameter (dp) as a paremeter for example. So a basic pageview would look like this:

http://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&tid=UA-123456-1&cid=12345&t=pageview&dp=%2Fpage1

By using the url above in the webhoop field of Fosbury a pageview will be measured everytime someone enters the range of an iBeacon. The result in Google Analytics will look like this:

Beyond the basics

The example mentioned above is very basic example, but when using the right parameters you can get even more offline insights out of your iBeacons. By sending an event to Google Analytics when someone enters and leaves the range of an iBeacon you can measure via Google Analytics how many people entered and left the iBeacon range and how long your offline visitors stayed in the proximity of the iBeacon:

Example of an HTTP request when somebody enters the region of a beacon (notice the "Hit type", event information and session parameters):

http://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&tid=UA-123456-1&cid=11111&t=event&ec=iBeacons&ea=Enter_Beacon&sc=start

Webhook url for when somebody exits the region of a beacon:

http://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&tid=UA-123456-1&cid=11111&t=event&ec=iBeacons&ea=Exit_Beacon&sc=end

What are your ideas?

These are just a few examples of how you can connect your beacons to Google Analytics. We’d love to hear your ideas!