We’ve been talking about Universal Analytics for a long time – over a year. In that time Universal has always been in beta because it was not 100% compatible with the existing version of GA. Sure, various parts of the Universal platform have rolled out, like the Measurement Protocol and Dimension Widening, but we were missing things like Remarketing and Audience data. But no more :)
I’m excited to say that as of today, April 2, 2014, Universal Analytics is out of beta!
Let’s run through everything you need to know about the announcement.
100% Feature Compatibility
Universal Analytics now supports all standard Google Analytics features. This includes:
Remarketing with Google Analytics. This is one of my favorite analytics features – and it made me very sad that Universal Analytics did not support it. But that’s in the past – You can now use the remarketing feature with Universal Analytics.
Audience reporting. The audience reports are an awesome way to understand who is using your site. They include data like gender and interest categories. This can be incredible helpful when trying to understand if the correct audience is using your site. Now you can use this feature with Universal Analytics.
Premium SLA Support. For all of those using Google Analytics Premium, all of your standard SLAs now apply to Universal Analytics. This includes data collection, data processing, etc.
Full Google Tag Manager support. Google Tag Manager now fully supports all Universal Analytics features, this includes audience data and the new User ID feature (discussed below).
I’ve said it many, many times – I’m a big fan of tag management. If you are going to migrate to Universal Analytics you might as well migrate to Tag Manager (or any tag management solution) now!
Universal Analytics is Google Analytics – and vice versa. Everything that Google Analytics can do, Universal Analytics can do – and more :)
Cross Device Measurement
In addition to complete feature compatibility, cross device measurement, via the User-ID feature, is now available.
As you recall, this feature lets businesses use their own User-ID to measure customers across multiple devices. This feature includes some awesome reports to help businesses understand which devices and behaviors generate value. Here’s a quick overview:
Device Overlap: This report can help you identify what types of devices your users use to access your service or content.
Device Paths: This report will show the last five devices that were used prior to a conversion. It’s a bit like the Multi-Channel Funnels report – but for devices.
Acquisition Device: This report shows revenue based on the device that generated the first conversion. It’s can help you understand if users on a certain device have a larger impact on revenue.
Understanding cross device measurement, and implementing it correct, is a huge topic – way more than I can cover in one post. I’ll be publishing a few other articles that explain cross device measurement in Google Analytics ASAP.
Time-zone Based Processing
In addition to the above features, there’s one more piece that is rolling out today. Google Analytics users can now specify the time-zone where their data is processed. In the past all data was processed in the Pacific Timezone (because that’s there Google is).
But now data processing will occur in the time zone of each data view.
While most people will not notice a big difference, this is a HUGE improvement for many users in Australia, Japan and other parts of Asia.
This also means that, for some users, automated daily reports will arrive on the correct day!
Do you need to migrate?
Ok, so that’s a brief overview of what’s happening today. But the big question that everyone will ask is, “do I need to migrate to Universal Analytics?”
No, you do not need to migrate to Universal Analytics – at least not now.
However, you need to start planning to migrate.
Universal Analytics is the new platform – all new features will be developed for UA. So if you want to use the new shiny things in the future you need to be on UA.
But migrating t can be a lot of work depending on your specific measurement plan. I’ll address that in another post.
Ok, that’s it for this post. But there is a lot more on Universal Analytics coming.