If you are using Google Analytics on your website, you should stop what you are doing and read the rest of this article.
Here is the scoop…Google is upgrading to Universal Analytics and if you do not upgrade the code on your website you will stop collecting data altogether.
Why is This Important?
Well, for anyone that uses Google Analytics regularly you will understand the value it brings in terms of seeing how your website is performing online. If you do any type of online marketing such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising, Content Marketing or Social Media Marketing then Google Analytics should be your best friend. In a nutshell, you can gain extremely valuable insight into your website, including:
- Increases/decreases in traffic
- Top traffic sources (organic, PPC, Facebook, direct, etc…)
- Increases/decreases in page views
- Forms (aka leads) submitted on the site and where they came from
- Purchases made on eCommerce sites and where they came from
- Top pages
- Top performing keywords
- And so much more
All of this data essentially will lead you to make logical decisions on whether your site is performing well or not, if you need online marketing help, and to which online marketing activities you should ultimately be investing in. In other words, it is going to measure the ABC’s:
What Is Universal Analytics?
Universal Analytics was introduced as a beta in October of 2012 and became available to everyone in April of 2014. Universal Analytics introduces a set of features that change the way data is collected and organized in your Google Analytics account, so you can get a better understanding of how users interact with your online content. It also streamlines data collection.
What are the Key Features?
While there are many positives and wonderful features coming from Universal Analytics, for the sake of keeping it simple we will focus on only a few.
If you have multiple sites behind one master domain (i.e. a main website, a blog and a mobile site) you no longer need individual tracking codes and web properties in your Google Analytics account. The same Universal Analytics code will track them all.
Track Users Across Devices
It’s no secret that mobile search and mobile web usage are increasing every day. (Side note: If you don’t have a mobile ready website yet, you should probably make that a 2015 priority). The new Universal code will let you track users across multiple devices. So now you can see if someone came in from their smartphone on a mobile search but ended up converting from the laptop later on. This is a pretty big deal. It allows businesses insight into the device usage behavior of their buyers.
For online retailers, Google has now taken your store data to a whole new level. You will be able to gather and act upon data sets including:
- How the design of your website is impacting sales (for better or for worse)
- How and why people may abandon carts & the shopping process
- How users navigate your site to end up adding products to the cart, and where they may be getting lost along the way
- Revenue, conversion rates and even refunds you issued
- How users view, interact and ultimately use promo codes and coupons offered on the site
How do You Upgrade?
Let us first say that this change is MANDATORY. We believe that Google will probably require all sites to be upgraded by the end of Q1 2015, since that would be one year since it came out of beta. (Disclaimer: We are not Google). Either way, you should upgrade and do it soon. Here are step-by-step set instructions:
- Login to your Google Analytics account
- You will see a box at the top of the page that says clearly “You Need to upgrade to Google Universal Analytics”
- Click the link and follow the instructions
- You will be walked through setting up a new online property for your site that will then generate the Universal Analytics code.
- Take this code and replace the existing Google Analytics code on your website
Here is what the new code looks like. The fastest way you can tell that this is Universal Analytics code is that is has I.S.O.G.R.A.M in the very first line of code. We affectionately and appropriately refer to this code as the “new Isogram code”.
Here is what the OLD Google Analytics code looks like. You will see that I.S.O.G.R.A.M is not present.
If you are not sure if you have upgraded or not, here is a quick way to find out.
- Go to any page on your website
- Right click
- Select VIEW SOURCE CODE
- CTRL+F to search for “google”
- It should bring you to the Google analytics code (if you have more than one Google product on your website it may take a few clicks to get there, but you will)
- If you do not see I.S.O.G.R.A.M then you have not upgraded
We hope this helps. Happy upgrading!
Jennifer Rae Schulman, President, Fortune Web Marketing