There are many reasons why upgrading to Google Universal Analytics will benefit you. With a variety of new features and functionalities, simply upgrading your Analytics profile and code will open the doors to more insightful analytics.
1. New and Flexible Tracking Code
For updated tracking functionality, Google is providing users with three different versions of the code depending technical needs:
- Websites - Use the analytics.js JavaScrip Snippet. This new tracking code is similar to the previous one, ga.js, but it offers more flexibility for developers during implementation.
- Mobile Apps - Use the Google Analytics SDK (v2.x or higher).
- Other Digital Devices (i.e. game consoles or information kiosks) - Use the Measurement Protocol. This tracking code will allow developers to measure user activity in new environments, tie online to offline behavior and send data from both the web and server.
These new tracking methods detailed above are more flexible and developer friendly. The implementation and customization is much easier. In addition, this new code is much easier to set up for cross-domain and/or subdomain tracking. If you have done this in the past, you will know that this did not used to be an easy process, especially when implementing the code on complex websites.
2. New Configuration Options
- Organic search sources - Google Analytics automatically recognizes the most popular search engines, and attributed traffic to these sources gets reported under the organic search traffic report. Traffic that from other sites not included in the default search engines list, appears in the referral traffic report. Now, you can consolidate search traffic to one source, remove search engines from your list, add a specific search engine that may not be on the default list (i.e. a specialty engine specific to your industry), and reoder the list to modify how organic search traffic is attributed your account and how the data appears in your reports.
- Session and campaign timeout handling - On the classic analytics, sessions end after 30 minutes of a user being inactive and campaigns end after 6 months. Now, with Universal Analytics, the length of a session and campaign can be customized as needed depending on your site and/or business. For example, if you have a news site which contains lengthy content and expect users to be engage for a long time, you can lengthen the session time, and vice versa. Please note: a session cannot be less than 1 minute or longer than 4 hours, in adition, a campaign cannot last longer than 2 years.
- Referral exclusions - With Universal Analyitcs, you are now able to exclude specific domains from your referral report. A common use for this new feature is for any e-commerce site with a third-party shopping cart. After a purchase, some customers return to the site to review additional information/products - excluding this site will prevent customers from being counted as a new visit from referral traffic. Please keep in mind that this will affect your analytics data - when you block a referring site from being recorded, a visit from that particular website will not trigger a session and a visit will not be counted.
- Search term exclusions - Essentially, this feature allows you to exclude any keywords from your organic traffic report and instead show those visits as direct traffic. This is an interesting functionality for Google to add as a new feature to its Analytics reporting as they are no longer passing keyword data to website since September 2013. All keyword information from users using Google Analytics to arrive to your site is "not provided". This will now affect Yahoo! traffic as well, as they have followed in Google's footsteps and switched to a secure service that is not passing keyword information.
3. Associate Multiple Sessions with a Single ID
Built right into the tracking code, the new Analyitcs User ID works accross all subdomains so you no longer have to do a lot of customization to track visitors between subdomains. Any engagement data that is related to a unique ID will be attributed to one user in your reports. With this feature, you are now able to get a more accurate visit count, analyze the signed-in user experience and get access to the new cross device reports.
Not sure if you have already upgraded? Simply sign in to your account and navigate to the Admin page. If you have upgraded, you will see a message under your Property settings saying " Universal Analytics Upgrade - Transfer Complete":
If you have not upgraded yet, you will be prompted with the following message: