Things to know before upgrading to Universal Analytics

Upgrading to Universal Analytics is a straight-forward process, divided in two steps. Once your account becomes eligible, a link called Universal Analytics Upgrade will appear in your Google Analytics Property.

More and more users are now invited to upgrade to Universal Analytics. The invitations are sent for each property, gradually. This is the main reason why some of you are not able to upgrade at this time.

Depending on what features you currently use, the property migration may involve massive code changes or losing some reporting capabilities.

Things you should know before migrating to Universal Analytics

The main drawn back is that many tracking plugins from WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and other CMS don’t support this method yet. Few months ago I tried to implement Universal Analytics on one of my Joomla websites but for some unknown reasons the tracking just didn’t work.

Advanced advertisement tools like DFA and Remarketing are not currently supported by Universal Analytics. If you use dc.js for Remarketing tracking you should delay the upgrade until this feature will be supported by Universal Analytics. Regarding Adsense, I managed to link my accounts with no problem, on one of my websites (on which universal analytics is enabled), using a secondary analytics property.

Custom Variables no longer exist and are now replaced by Custom Dimensions and Custom Metrics. This is another thing you should consider before migrating, because you will also have to change your custom variables tracking code or to find a plugin that supports this new method.

Upgrading to Universal Analytics in two-steps

1. Transfer your data and reports to Universal Analytics

2. Implement the Universal Analytics tracking code

At this time, you need to receive a message from Google Analytics, before being able to upgrade from Classic Analytics to Universal Analytics. The invitation message looks like this:

Universal Analytics main benefits:

1. Custom dimensions and metrics are now available

2. More reporting features like: organic search sources, session and campaign timeout handling, referral exclusions, search term exclusions

3. More configuration options without the need of modifying the tracking code

Using Universal Analytics you will be able to:

– separate traffic that arrives on your site through a search engine result from traffic that arrives through paid advertisements

– exclude referrals (for example, customers coming back from a PayPal payment page won’t be counted as a new visit, if you add this domain in your exclusion list)

– make irrelevant search terms (like your domain name, company name) to count as direct traffic and not as search traffic.

What happens if you don’t upgrade to Universal Analytics

If choose not to upgrade, your account and all your properties will be upgraded automatically in the near future. If you don’t change your tracking code, you can still track visits using the old data collection method, for two more years!