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Google Analytics

Web Analytics: Universal Analytics Goes Public

Universal Analytics: The New Operating Standard for Google Analytics

Google has announced the public release of Universal Analytics as the new operating standard for Google Analytics. This announcement means that the number one request from earlier beta adopters has been addressed: parity with the features, reports and tools available in Classic Analytics. “Bringing Universal Analytics out of beta means that all the features, reports and tools of Classic Analytics are now available in the product, including Remarketing and Audience Reporting”, Google announced on its official blog.

However, features parity was a mere catch-up requirement (albeit an important one for users accustomed to the robust set of features in Classic Analytics). This next-generation analytics tool is all about re-imagining Google Analytics for today’s multi-screen, multi-device world and the measurement challenges that come along with it. Resolving these challenges is essential to a comprehensive understanding of how customers interact with your online presence.

What’s Behind the Move to Universal Analytics?

Two dominant considerations underpin Google’s move to Universal Analytics.

Consumers today interact with brands from multiple touchpoints (smartphones, tablets, laptops and more). This new (multi-device) reality prompted increased calls from current users of the tool (Premium and non-Premium users alike) for a cross-platform view of their data in Google Analytics.

Understanding the full marketing cycle and the customer’s journey increasingly requires integrated datasets across multiple (online and offline) channels. A holistic view of users and their behaviors allows companies to build more tailored (user-centric) experiences for their customers. Universal Analytics lets customers integrate data from other sources with their Google Analytics account. These integrated datasets give companies a more comprehensive understanding of the entire marketing funnel.

Benefits of Upgrading to Universal Analytics

When you complete the upgrade to Universal Analytics, some of the benefits you get access to include the following:

Cross-Channel Measurement

Measuring the effectiveness of your cross-channel acquisition, retention, sales and loyalty programs is more important than ever before. Universal Analytics lets you import data from various marketing channels into your Google Analytics account. The resulting rich intelligence datasets allow you to discover relationships between the channels that drive conversions, actionable insights that optimize program effectiveness.

Cross-Device Reporting

With Universal Analytics, you can seamlessly send data from any digital device to your Analytics account. See how users interact with your brand via multiple digital touchpoints (smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops) – all in one place!

Note that this feature (User ID) is being “rolled out gradually”. Nevertheless, its importance cannot be underestimated. It will enable anonymous tracking of unique users across devices and sessions.

Without this feature enabled, a search on a smartphone one day, purchase on a laptop three days later and a request for customer service on a tablet a month later by the same visitor would be counted as three unique users in a standard Google Analytics implementation. With User ID enabled, Universal Analytics can determine if these actions were all by the same user. You get a more holistic and accurate picture of your users’ behavior, including cross device reporting that shows how users interact with your business across multiple devices.

Create Custom Dimensions and Custom Metrics Suited To Your Unique Business Needs

Your business is unique. Google isn’t all seeing and all knowing. Use custom dimensions and custom metrics to collect data that Google Analytics doesn’t automatically track. With Universal Analytics, you can integrate your own data and customize the metrics that matter to you. Based on the customized data you provide, Universal Analytics will incorporate these custom metrics in your reports, metrics with insights unique to your business requirements.

Simplified, More Accessible Configuration Options

Universal Analytics gives you more configuration options in your Google Analytics reports, so you don’t have to adjust your tracking code to make modifications.

From the Admin page in your account, you can now control these additional settings:

Organic search sources

Session and campaign timeout handling

Referral exclusions

Search term exclusions

Universal Analytics Upgrade: Timeline

Universal Analytics will become the de facto analytics platform for all Google Analytics accounts. There will be no opt-in/opt-out scenario. Your account will eventually roll over to Universal Analytics automatically.

Although no final date has been announced for the transition to Universal Analytics, it is pending. Per Google’s recent announcement in the Universal Analytics Upgrade Center: “All Google Analytics properties will soon be required to use Universal Analytics. Any properties that don’t follow the upgrade process will be auto-transferred to Universal Analytics in the future.”

Get Started with Universal Analytics

If you use Google Analytics today, get started with Universal Analytics by upgrading your account. Learn more about the upgrade process in the Universal Analytics Upgrade Center, including auto-upgrade process and the timeline.

If you’re new to Google Analytics, learn more about Universal Analytics in the Help Center.