FAQ: When should I invest in Universal Analytics?

universal-analyticsOver the last few weeks, the question my clients have asked more than any other is whether it’s a good idea to switch to Universal Analytics (UA). Of course, that question really means, “Should we switch from Google Analytics (GA) now and not in 2016 when Google switches it off for good? When should I invest in Universal Analytics? Is UA as good as the hype, or is it just a fancy renaming exercise?”

In short, yes, it is well worth switching as soon as possible. Why? As well as putting you in control, UA has a host of benefits that GA doesn’t have. They are so useful you’ll want to get your hands on them. But first a bit of background.

Has your Google Analytics account been upgraded?

If you haven’t already upgraded your Google Analytics account to Universal Analytics over the last few months Google may well have done this for you automatically. However there is nothing to worry about here as your old ‘classic’ GA tracking code will continue to work for approximately the next two years.

You have until April 2016 to make the transition to using the Universal Analytics tracking code, but you can get it set up now, and run a test account live alongside your original GA account. This allows you to check it’s working properly before changing over.

The sooner you do this, the sooner you’ll start to reap the benefits and enjoy the richness and depth of analysis, and new insights just waiting to be turned into sales-winning tests. So what are those benefits?

The Benefits of Universal Analytics

UA gives you data rich beyond belief

A Data Layer holds almost unlimited information about the page the user is viewing including page type, page category, product details (name, SKU, category, sub-category, price, whether the product is on sale). Although not unique to UA, it gives you incredibly rich and useful insights, especially when used with a tag management system.

Data designed for your business

One of the criticisms of Google Analytics was that it reported what it wanted to report i.e. you were stuck with its standard reports. The new GA feature of Custom Dimensions and Metrics allows you to report on what you want to report on, much more quickly and easily.

See customer behaviour by content category

Related to Custom Dimensions is another feature called Content Groupings. This feature is especially useful for grouping pages. Currently, in GA, the standard page report can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re looking at a bunch of URL structures which don’t mean very much.

An example Google Analytics dashboard
Google Analytics gives you lots of URLs

Instead, Content Grouping shows you real categories – such as site section groupings, page type groupings, ecommerce product groupings.

An example Universal Analytics dashboard
Universal Analytics gives you usable information that everyone can understand

See what your customers do leading up to a sale

Possibly the most exciting new feature of UA is Enhanced E-commerce, which lets you see nearly all the actions your customer takes before they actually buy the product. How many times did they view it? Did they add it to the basket then take it out again? Where exactly in the checkout did they abandon the cart?

It was possible to get this kind of information with GA, but only with a lot of manual setup and analysis in Excel. The UA reports let you see exactly where your customers are dropping out, so you can take steps to make it easier for them to buy.

When should I invest in Universal Analytics?… As soon as possible!

The, sharp, accurate and complete information that Universal Analytics gives you can help you optimise your e-commerce site for record-breaking sales.

{{cta(‘a7ecc65b-c8b3-4f30-9319-1d95f666c77f’,’justifyleft’)}} If you need more convincing about the shiny new benefits of Universal Analytics, download our whitepaper – Three Reasons to Love Universal Analytics – looking at some of the best features of Universal Analytics, and how to get them today!


How are you planning to use Universal Analytics? What has your experience of UA been so far? Have you found a benefit that’s not made it on to our list? What other Universal Analytics features would you like to see? Do you think UA outperforms other paid analytics tools? Please leave your comments.


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Posted in: Google Analytics

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