Google Analytics is one of those services that we frequently set and forget on our websites. That is, if we're receiving the tracking data, then we don't worry too much about how it is configured. After all, if it isn't Universal Analyticsbroken, don't fix it, right?

You've probably missed Google's transition to a new service known as Universal Analytics, although it's been available to the public for several months. Your web properties are likely still receiving tracking data and providing you with statistics in your dashboard, because Google hasn't deprecated the old Google Analytics yet. At some point, however, they will, and if you haven't transitioned your properties by a certain undetermined date in the future, Google will 'flip the switch' for you.

Why the change?

Well, Universal Analytics contains a lot of improvements to how Google collects data, and what data it can give to you in return. You also will have more granular control over your analytics data. For example, you can set custom metrics, sync online and offline data, add different search engines, set up exclusions for specific referral sources and search terms, and much more. Ultimately, there will be increased value for you as you can have more data for your marketing purposes.

So, what do you next?

The first step is to transfer your web properties to Universal Analytics. This can be done directly from your Google Analytics dashboard, and we've posted a brief video to help walk you through the process. While this is as easy as clicking a button on your end, the change can take up to 48 hours to complete on Google's end, so check back later. Once the property is transferred to the new Universal Analytics, new tracking code will need to be added to your header. This is a short Javascript snippet generated by Google and available on your dashboard, which needs to be copied and pasted into your site just before the closing head tag. We've shown you how we did this as part of our video, as well, but remember, this should only be done by a web developer or someone with coding experience. A little Javascript can do a lot of bad things to your site if it's put in the wrong place!

Technically, Universal Analytics is still in 'beta,' which means Google is stopping just short of declaring it an operating standard. That will happen at some point, though, and remember, Gmail was in beta for'_well, for a really long time. While there are other analytics tools available,Google's tools are among the most widely used. Google continues to improve at what they do best: giving you the data that you need to effectively operate the online presence of your business. Universal Analytics promises to be a worthwhile tool for your marketing strategy.

 


Carolyn Bowers
By Carolyn Bowers

A full-time Atlanta Braves fan, and the Digital Marketing Analyst at CommonPlaces. She enjoys spending time with her family and pets, and has a goal to attend a game at every Major League Baseball park before the age of 40.

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