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  • Posted on 20 January 2014

Universal Analytics

by Marion Rouby

The introduction of Universal Analytics in 2013 was quite a big deal. The real difference between the old Analytics and Universal is that Universal tracks much more than just site visits. The old Analytics is based on a web statistics analysis program called Urchin, which dates back to 2005, so it’s no surprise that Universal offers more features and better insights.

Some of the most remarkable new offerings are:

User ID Control
Universal is based on users rather than visits. It will look at user’s overall behaviour rather than focusing on disconnected visits.

Offline Conversions
One of the components of Universal which is currently in public beta – the Measurement Protocol – allows developers to collect data from any device in Universal. This means it will be possible to link physical store transactions with PPC campaigns.

Custom Dimensions
It is possible to set multiple custom dimensions in reports (with a maximum of 20 for regular customers, and up to 200 for premium).

CRM Data
Universal can be given information from the client’s customer tracking database. This will give additional context to reports.

Advanced Segments
Thanks to the move away from visit-based analytics, it will be possible to segment multiple visits. For example, you can create a segment as complicated as: visitors based in Paris who arrived on the website at 2pm, came back via a remarketing campaign and spent over 20€.

Session Timeouts
The old Analytics gives a 30 minute non-customisable usage window – but with Universal you will be able to set session lengths of up to 4 hours long.

Add Custom Search Engines
Universal allows you to add custom search engines (yell.com for example) to the organic search segments.

Exclude Organic Search Terms
You can now remove brand/domain keywords from the organic search report.

These are only some of the changes introduced by Universal. Of course you can still use the old Google Analytics for now, but Universal will eventually become the new operating standard. As with the switch to Advanced Campaigns, it’s better to get in there early before the change is pushed automatically. You can upgrade without losing any data or changing your account settings.

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