Google Analytics is dead, all hail Universal Analytics!
Over the past year we have been working with Universal Analytics (a more advanced version of the classic Google Analytics (GA)). This is produced by Google themselves and therefore we have been surprised at the lack of people that have heard of it!
The new, big announcement is that Google now provide an upgrade path (http://ow.ly/qlDE1) so that you can take advantage of the new features such as:
- Custom dimensions and metrics enabling more sophisticated reporting
- Simplified tracking code that can reduce page load times
- Better cross-domain and cross-device tracking support
and combine it with your historic GA data so that you no longer have to look at two systems.
What do you need to do?
Over the next few weeks a new tool will become available in your Property Settings:
This will enable you to transfer all your Google Analytics data into Universal Analytics, at which point you just need to change the tag on your site and you're away! N.B. Data will still be collected by the old tag while the tag changes take place and it is important that you run the upgrade before changing the tag or you will lose data.
If you do nothing, eventually your properties will be auto-transferred (in Phase 2 of Google's release plan), following which Google have promised to process all data from the Classic tag for up to 2 years. However, we think this is a wonderful opportunity to review your analytics and take advantage of the new functionality that is becoming available in the new Universal Analytics!
Up until now, the recommendation has been to run both, side by side, as there were still some things in GA (particularly related to the integration with Google AdWords) that were not available within Universal Analytics. N.B. If this is true for you, then you should seek advice and probably wait until Phase 3 of the Universal Analytics Upgrade when it will be out of beta and all features are promised to be supported.
Finally, to date, we have achieved the currently required dual tagging using the Google Tag Manager to minimise the work required by the web developers as that allows us to make tag changes without needing to worry them and we have found this very effective. As you need to be changing the tagging at some point anyway, we strongly advise that you move to the Google Tag Manager when you do so, to minimise future web development costs.