Universal Analytics is a version of Google Analytics that set a new standard for how user data is collected and organized. Introduced in the fall of 2012, Universal Analytics offers new tracking codes for websites and features that can more accurately measure user behavior (1). Both Google Analytics (GA) and Universal Analytics (UA) are available to users. However, Universal Analytics is the only officially supported version today. Google is encouraging all users to migrate their properties to Universal.
Both Universal and Google Analytics offer similar data to users, although UA gives the account owner more in-depth information about user behavior:
A user who visits a website using multiple browsers and devices will appear to be multiple users in GA. When UA introduced user ID, it enabled reporting of all activity as coming from a single person. Now businesses can assess their user count more accurately, follow the signed-in user experience more closely and access Cross Device reports (2).
UA introduced three new tracking codes to help users gather more useful insights about their website visitors:
The UA application protocol interface enables tracking from outside sources, including lead generation systems and even call centers. The business can now get a bigger picture of the customer's behavior by importing offline data, like point-of-sale transactions.
UA also gives businesses more ways to configure their accounts:
UA offers additional customization opportunities like the ability to collect data that's unique to your business and goals. You can also tag your site with a plugin that offers advanced ecommerce reports that will give you greater insight into the effectiveness of your internal and external marketing.
Universal Analytics gives people the opportunity to mold their reporting around the unique aspects of their business model and behavior of their users. It eliminates duplicate session reporting, while allowing you to import metrics from outside sources and get more insight into how well your website converts customers. By customizing your analytics to your business goals, you can gain a clearer understanding of how well your strategy is working, and optimize your overall business development.
1. "Google Analytics vs. Universal Analytics: Which One to Choose?"
2. "About Universal Analytics"
3. "Customize organic search sources"
4. "Session and campaign timeout handling"
5. "Referral exclusions"
6. "Search term exclusions"
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