Why Upgrading to Universal Google Analytics Matters

By January 14, 2016 July 21st, 2017 No Comments


Need help upgrading to Universal Google Analytics? Or Updating your Event Tracking?

Universal Google Analytics offers features that can help you more accurately track user behavior on your website and additional reporting features. These are some of the key features and capabilities associated with Universal Google Analytics. For a complete list of features, visit Google’s Analytics Help site.

So why would you want to make sure you are Upgraded to Universal Analytics in 2016?

1. Be Set-up for Omni Channel Data Collection

The term omni channel refers to “a significant shift: marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. Consumers can now engage with a company in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, through a catalog, or through social media. They can access products and services by calling a company on the phone, by using an app on their mobile smartphone, or with a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. Each piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary.”


In order to track a consumer across multi devices in Universal Google Analytics, you need the cross-device tracking with user IDs and measurement protocol in place, features that you can use with the proper Universal Google Analytics set-up.

Cross-device tracking with User IDs

User IDs allow for multiple sessions (and the user actions that occur during those sessions) to be connected to a single ID per user. This single user ID will serve as the link between an activity that starts on one device, but is continued on another. This provides a much more accurate user story in reporting, since you can track a user’s activities across multiple devices. Consider how many times you may have been shopping on your desktop, but then completed your checkout on your mobile device while waiting in line at the grocery store.

Measurement protocol

For some businesses, consumers interact with the business through non-computer devices, such as game consoles or point of sales terminals. Universal Google Analytics allows for developers to send raw, offline user interaction data into your Google Analytics account. This feature allows organizations to connect offline and online data to get a better understanding of user behavior. This data can inform intelligent business decisions that you make on your web property or on an offline device in a physical location.

2. Advanced SEO Filtering

SEO experts are often trying to get the most clean and accurate data possible from Google Analytics. New capabilities are unlocked with Universal Google Analytics that can help SEOs better manage the data and how it’s reported, or filtered out of, Google Analytics.

Search term exclusions

Although I don’t often find myself messing with the Search Term Exclusions list, it can be helpful to bucket brand terms that should be considered direct traffic instead of organic traffic. Exclude at your own risk!

Referral exclusions

This feature allows you to remove referral traffic from your reporting. It’s a very handy way to filter out self-referrals (after doing your due diligence to make sure there’s not an underlying cause to referral traffic). Referral Exclusions are a great way to exclude traffic that might be counted if a user has to link off to a 3rd party site for a payment and then return to the website to complete the activity. You would not want that traffic to be considered a referral, since the user needed to complete their task on a third party site before returning to your domain.

Session timeout

Universal Google Analytics allows session expiration to be custom set to match specified requirements (anything from one minute to four hours). This feature can be beneficial for sites that have heavy engagement and need to increase the session timeout setting to allow for a longer than average time on page for users to complete their tasks before the session times out.

3. Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting

The Enhanced Ecommerce reporting with Universal Analytics allows you to analyze individual product performance reports by SKU, category, etc. along with buyer behavior. This means you can learn how many times a product was viewed, added to the shopping cart, made it to checkout, or abandoned during checkout. This is very helpful information when determining barriers to checkout and which products may need an additional incentive for consumers to purchase.

I am upgrading to Universal Google Analytics. What do I do?

1. Log into your Google Analytics account.

2. Locate the tracking code on the Admin page, then click Tracking Info under the Property column.

3. Add two additional code snippets to the code to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Universal Analytics upgrade. These two extra snippets in the screenshot below are for (1) Enhanced Link Attribution and (2) Demographics and Interest Reports.

4. Are you an ecommerce site? Add ecommerce tracking. Learn more from Google.

5. Enable enhanced link attribution for proper in-page analytics reporting in your Property Settings under the Admin section of your account.

6. Enable demographics and Interest reports under display advertiser features in your Property Settings under the Admin section of your account.

7. Enable on-site search tracking if you have search functionality on your site.

8. Add the code to every page you want to track on your site.

9. Make sure the code is firing correctly by viewing Real Time analytics.

Please Note: You may need to update your event tracking script in order for your events to continue firing to GA. How do you know if you need to update your event tracking script?

Look at the screenshot below, does the second snippet of code look familiar? If so, you are going to need to update your event tracking script.

If you are using the gaq.push script, then your event tracking will no longer fire event data properly to your Google Analytics Account. The code will need to be updated to the ga method in order to continue tracking event


In summary, upgrading to Universal Google Analytic means you will be set-up for Omni channel data collection, cross-device tracking, advanced search engine optimization filtering, and enhanced ecommerce reporting.

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