Universal Analytics Out of Beta and Into Our Hearts
We write about Universal Analytics all the time in this blog. In fact we’ve been talking about it since October 2012, which seems like an eternity ago. That’s when Google Analytics first announced that it existed. Now, close to a year and a half later, that twinkle in the eyes of several dashingly handsome Google Analytics engineers, has become a full, non-beta, reality. April 2nd, waiting to be sure to be clear of the horrendous world that is announcing things on April 1st, Google announced that Universal Analytics was officially, truly, no holds barred, out of beta.
It’s pretty great actually, because this isn’t just a release of something we’ve had our grubby little hands on for awhile. Sure certain parts of it we have, but April 2nd brought a number of things that we’ve been waiting for.
First? Feature parity. Up until now there were a number of things noticeably absent from Universal Analytics. Those that had been taking advantage of Remarketing and Audience reporting were stuck. They couldn’t upgrade because Universal didn’t have either. Now they do, with all previous aspects of the remarketing dc.js tag incorporated into Universal Analytics.
Second? That whole cross device thing. Until now User ID has been mostly talk and a beta that only the lucky few were able to participate in. How it’s being fully rolled out to everyone. Now, assuming you can identify your users through some sort of login, you can track the across devices. Now when a user checks out your website from their phone, but then later converts from home, you have the possibility to connect those visits together. We all have heard that people use multiple devices, sometimes lots of them, and now we’ll be able to see it in actual reports inside of Google Analytics.
Not to mention that with the Measurement Protocol updated to include User Agent and IP overrides we have even more ability to not just track things across devices, but off devices entirely.
And probably MOST important is that Universal Analytics is now covered by the Premium service-level agreement. For most of your freebie GA users you are probably wondering what that means, but don’t worry about it. That’s for the fancy people behind the red velvet rope where everything looks slightly cleaner.
So if you have been hesitant to move into Universal Analytics because it was still “in beta” or you needed that Remarketing data, or were waiting to be able to take advantage of User ID, wait no longer.
Universal Analytics is here. So quit slacking off and start upgrading.
About Sayf Sharif
Sayf Sharif is a Web Analyst, and expert in Usability and UX, who has worked with businesses large and small to maximize their online presence since the beginning of the Web, winning numerous awards along the way. Sayf has studied human tool use from the stone age (he went to graduate school for Archaeology) to the information age (he started programing on his father’s TRS-80), and is always interested in what goals people wish to accomplish using their tools, and how successful that experience was.