Unless you measure something, any statement you make about it is just a guess. When it comes you your website, Google Analytics is how you measure it.  Google Analytics tells you what brings people to your website—and what drives them away.

Now Google has made major changes to analytics, resulting in Universal Analytics.   Even if you’re not usually an early adopter and are comfortable with the status quo, you should make the upgrade as soon as possible.

Lets discuss some of the reasons to upgrade.  Also be sure to check out the blog of Rob Bertholf for more information on the topic including a full presentation on Web Analytics: Data driven decision making.

6 Reasons to Upgrade to Google Universal Analytics

1. You can identify users and track their activity more accurately, whatever device they use to connect to you. If your site is able to assign unique user ids, Universal Analytics can aggregate all of a user’s actions across multiple sessions. You no longer see just a single contact with a user; you can analyze your relationship with the user. There is support for tracking across domains as well, so if you own more than one site, you can see what the user does with all your sites.

2. The new data collection methods are user friendly. There’s a javascript library for websites, software development kits for mobile platforms, and the Measurement Protocol which lets you collect analytics from any other device that can access the Internet.

On websites, the new analytics.js is more flexible than the older library, ga.js. You can customize the tracking object and set specific values that are sent to Google Analytics. If the same link appears multiple times on a page, Enhanced Link Attribution can distinguish which reference the user clicked on. Analytics lets you ensure that tracking data is received before the user is sent to their destination.

3. Configuration and management of Universal Analytics is simpler. The Admin screen lets you customize organic search sources to modify how referrals to your site from search engines are reported. You can set maximum time spans to limit how long a session or campaign can last. You can exclude sites from being treated as referrers (useful, for instance, to prevent third-party shopping cart customers from being treated as a new session). Another new feature allows treating certain search traffic as if it was direct access to your site.

4. Get the measurements you need with custom dimensions. Custom dimensions plus custom analytics let you tailor the analysis you receive and provides information on data that wouldn’t be automatically gathered. Any custom dimensions you create can be used in both custom and standard reports.

5. Use Enhanced Ecommerce reports to better understand how your marketing is working and how your customers are shopping. Reports let you see all aspects of the customer’s shopping behavior, from reviewing products, adding or removing items from the shopping cart, and completing or abandoning the transaction. Other reports help you understand the economic performance of various products as well as the economic performance of overall transactions. Marketing-related reports track affiliate sites, coupons, sales promotions, and product catalog lists.

6. You don’t have a choice. You will eventually lose the ability to track users if you don’t upgrade. Google is making Universal Analytics its new standard. Once it’s fully deployed, the old methods will be deprecated. After that, data sent by the old methods will not be tracked.

How to Upgrade to Google Universal Analytics

Upgrading to Universal Analytics isn’t highly complex, but some technical assistance may be required. The first step is to transfer your property to Universal Analytics. This is done from the Google Analytics page for the property. You can set the timeouts for sessions and campaigns as part of this step. No special technical skill is needed for this task.

The second step of the upgrade process is optional, but necessary to make use of the new features in Universal Analytics. Your site needs to integrate the new tracking code. This should be performed by someone with technical knowledge.

If the second step isn’t performed, Google will eventually stop tracking your data. If your site uses WordPress, the WordPress Analytics plugin by Yoast now uses Universal Analytics.

The features in Google Universal Analytics will help you do that. Upgrade as soon as you can to refine your data analysis and grow your business.

Need Help?

The better you understand how your customers use your site, the more effectively you can use your site to win new customers and keep existing customers.  If you would like to ensure your website’s tracking is configured correctly and have an analysis done on your data let us know.