On April 2nd, Google announced that the Universal Analytics product was moved out of Beta and ready for primetime.

Yes, like Deion Sanders but also completely different…

Is Universal Analytics really ready for “primetime”?

Here at CRI, previous to this announcement, we were hesitant to instruct clients to upgrade to the latest version of Google Analytics because it was missing a critical component for Search Marketers – Remarketing.

The move of Universal Analytics out of Beta was part of Google’s Phase 3 (of 4) for the rollout of Universal Analytics. This phase included Remarketing; with this release it is safe to say that not only Search Marketers but all Marketers should feel comfortable with migrating their existing Classic Analytics to Universal Analytics. For new Accounts being created you are forced to use Universal Analytics as Google will no longer allow you to choose between Classic Analytics or Universal Analytics during the creation process. So, this is the future of Google Analytics and it is here now.

How do I enable GA Remarketing in Universal Analytics?

This is going to be the next question on everyone’s mind; now that it is available, how do I get it?

In Classic Analytics Remarketing (or Display Advertising, as it is called in GA documentation) was enabled by updating the JavaScript file reference to point to a DoubleClick hosted file. This time around Google did it right. It uses a “require” command of ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’). This command should be placed after the “create” command and before a “send” command, for example:

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXXXX-XX’, ‘example.com’);
ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

Full documentation from Google at https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2444872?hl=en&ref_topic=2611283.

What else did we get?

  • With Display Network Support enabled, Marketers will find that the Demographics Reports (in Audience) will show data.
  • Some lingo changes – “Visits” are now “Sessions” and “Unique Visitors” are now “Users”
  • The User ID feature is also being slowly rolled out. This is really good stuff; as it will allow you to create an unique ID for a user that can be used to tie multiple sessions back to that user.
  • Timezone-based reporting. This is based on your set timezone in GA and not Google’s Pacific Time (unless that is what you have it set to).

How do I Upgrade to Universal Analytics?

Google has kept the Universal Analytics Upgrade Center recent and it has all of the details/walk-throughs you would need to upgrade the backend of GA reporting and the tracking script deployed to your website.

Or, reach out to the CRI Analytics Team and we can give you a hand.