Universal Analytics was rolled out in late 2012 primarily to support the move from “devices” to “users”. In other words, tracking is about the people using the website, regardless of device. So the key features of Universal Analytics are flexible cross-platform/device tracking, custom dimensions to support more highly customized reporting and a new measurement protocol to import data from offline and online devices.
Here are 4 of the most important reasons that you should upgrade to Universal Analytics:
- Eventually you will be required to, but for now, do it for the advanced features that are currently available and knowing that most of the new features will be for UA (not Classic).
- UA gives you 20 custom dimensions that are available in all your reports. This is a big step up from the custom variables and reporting limitations of GA classic. Setup custom dimensions to identify visitors by various demographics, pages visited or other activities and you can segment them within your reports just like any of the other standard GA dimensions.
- The introduction of UserID is probably the most important feature of UA as it simplifies a complex work-around that many GA developers were using of assigning anonymous IDs as custom variables that could be matched to user information on back-end systems, thereby adhering to Google’s policy of protecting privacy by not allowing personally identifiable information (PII) within GA. Now you can analyze user behavior across devices and sessions much more effectively with respect to their full set of activities prior to purchasing your product, requesting more information or any other conversion point.
- The data collection and integration protocol that Google introduced with Universal Analytics is what allows you to integrate external data with your GA data. This is exactly why Beacon developed Its GAFUSION product, to establish a standard method of importing in-store transaction data, admissions applications conversions, enrollment data, call center transactions, and much more, into Google Analytics (without creating a separate adhoc method for each). It allows you to bring all your important data into Google’s powerful analytics engine and match these offline activities to online sessions (and marketing). This has been especially valuable in connecting inbound phone calls to the online activities (marketing channels, pages viewed, events, etc.) that may have precipitated the call.