You may have heard that Google has rolled out a new update to Classic Google Analytics called Universal Analytics. Just like Classic Analytics, Universal Analytics is still a free tool, just with more features. So, what are the benefits of this shiny new toy? We’ve listed ten of the most important ones below!
- Data collection across a number of digital devices. When you transfer from Classic to Universal, you’ll be given three new versions of your tracking code: one for your website, one for your mobile app and one for other digital devices, such as game consoles. You can also implement cross-domain tracking if you want to track traffic across multiple domains.
- Introducing the User ID. This is a Universal Analytics feature that allows you to track a user’s journey across multiple devices and even in stores. By assigning each customer a unique user ID, you can better analyze the behavior patterns of the signed-in user. You can also import point of sale data from the sales that happen in-store. This is a perfect way to bridge the gap between the consumer who browses online but then goes to the physical location to purchase an item.
- Cross-device management. This is a new feature that allows business owners to determine the last five devices used by a visitor to their site. To track this data, you’ll need to set up User IDs.
- Enhanced search engine data. With Classic Analytics, Google automatically lists the most popular search engines bringing traffic to your site—but if your site is getting traffic from a smaller search engine, that traffic data could be showing up under referral traffic, rather than organic search traffic. If you know your target market is using a lesser-known search engine, you can add that search engine through Universal Analytics, and Google will begin recognizing that traffic as organic instead of referral. This could be especially valuable for businesses who are getting traffic from international search engines that Google doesn’t recognize.
- Custom metrics and dimensions. Universal Analytics allows you to collect and analyze custom data that Google doesn’t automatically track. An example of this would be setting up a custom metric for phone call tracking.
- New demographic data. Ever wanted to know a little more about your website visitors? You’re in luck! Audience reports are now available in Universal Analytics. In these reports you can see the age, gender and interests of many of your site visitors. This can be set up by adding a small line of code to your Universal Analytics tracking code.
- Time zone customization. Before now, all information was processed in Pacific Time zone. Having this data gives you a more accurate picture of the time of day when you’re seeing the most visitors, conversions, etc.
- Session length specification. By default, Google ends a session after 30 minutes in Classic Analytics. If your site is very content heavy or you expect your visitors to stay on a page for longer than 30 minutes, you can now specify how long you want your session to last in Universal Analytics. Campaigns also end after six months, by default. With the new analytics tools, you can make the campaign track for up to two years.
- Enhanced ease of use in excluding branded search terms. If you are getting a high volume of searches for your brand name or business name and are more interested in seeing the non-branded organic search numbers, Universal Analytics make it easier to get this information. You can now exclude traffic that came in under a specific search term from your organic search. This traffic will be counted as direct traffic instead. *Keep in mind that this has to be implemented at a Property level, and it does not include (not provided) keywords.
- Referral traffic exclusions. If you have multiple domains on which visitors bounce back and forth, the number of sessions can be a little inflated. Now you can exclude certain domains from being counted as “referral” traffic. When you exclude a referral source, the traffic that arrives on your site will no longer trigger a new session.
These are some of the exciting new features of Universal Analytics. Of course, since it is still very new, there is plenty more to be discovered. Not so sure about making the change? Eventually, all accounts will be required to migrate to the newer version, but no worries. You won’t lose any valuable data or statistics during the transition as long as you set everything up correctly. Have more questions about Universal Analytics? Contact us and let us help you better understand how you can utilize this powerful program in your business.