Standard vs. Universal Analytics

Google Introduced Universal Analytics a while ago now and with new features appearing in the system recently, it’s time to make some changes to your Google Analytics account. And here’s why and how.

What is Universal Analytics?

Universal Analytics is the new operating standard for Google Analytics. According to Google themselves it will soon become a requirement to use it. There’s no reason to panic yet, but it’s good to consider your options now.

As a tool, Universal Analytics offers some industry redefining features. First of all it moves from the traditional, visit-based reporting methodology to visitor-focused approach. This is a huge (positive!) change in collecting and analysing data. This approach gives you access to the actual reach and engagement metrics for your site, with no duplications. With this, Universal Analytics also introduces multi environment tracking. This will allow you to collect and send incoming data from any digital device to Google Analytics. That means that you can add call centre or CRM data to your account. By introducing user ID Universal Analytics this allows the tracking of the same user between multiple devices and browsers. This feature does require additional coding (so you can’t just ‘switch it on’), but will prove invaluable in the future when implementation becomes much simpler – hopefully!

Features

So there’s definitely a lot in the new system to be getting excited about. At the moment, not all of the Standard Analytics features are available, so before you make any changes to your account it’s good to review your current account setup. This handy summary shows you the main differences between the two options:

universal analytics

As Universal Analytics requires a new tracking code and property level setup, there are two options available for users who wish to upgrade now.

Upgrading to Universal Analytics

Creating a new property, specifically for Universal Analytics is the option we here at NZDMI decided to go with. This allows you to keep your current Analytics account intact and continue to collect data like you always did. Keeping in mind that Standard and Universal tracking methodologies are completely different (visit vs. user), data merge between the two systems will never be possible. Setting up a new property means that when you’re ready to switch to Universal Analytics as your primary system, you won’t be starting with an empty account.

Under the Admin panel in your Analytics account select ‘Add new property’:

google analytics new property

In the next step chose Universal Analytics as your tracking option and implement the new tracking code to your website. Google currently supports running Standard and Universal tracking codes side by side, so there are no issues with managing the two properties separately.

If on the other hand you’re confident the new tracking system is what you and your business require and you want to upgrade to Universal Analytics fully now – it couldn’t be easier. In the Admin section of your account select the transfer option and wait a day or two for Google to process your request. Once the transfer is completed, you will be provided with a new tracking code, which should be implemented on your site replacing the old Analytics code.  Here’s the upgrade procedure suggested by Google. When the transfer is completed, the status of your Property will change:

universal analytics transfer completed

We encourage you to start using Universal Analytics now to get used to the system and new metrics. We will be updating you as soon as new features are released and changes made. And if you or your team are interested in advanced Google Analytics training, covering Universal Analytics too – we’re always here to help.

By | 2017-03-09T09:11:44+00:00 March 14th, 2014|Categories: Attribution Modelling, Ecommerce Analytics, Google Analytics|Tags: , , |

About the Author:

Agata is the Data & Analytics director at NZDMI, with real passion for anything numbers-related. She spends most of her time sieving through endless amounts of data to find answers to the bigger and the smaller questions.