What does Universal Analytics offer over its traditional counterpart?

Posted on September 3, 2013


Earlier this year, Google made Universal Analytics (UA) available as an alternative to its standard analytics offering. For some, the core differences between the two services may not be altogether clear, but many have predicted that UA will go on to become a game changer for marketers across dozens of fields.

In a nutshell, UA has brought about several new features that change the way data is processed in a user’s Google Analytics account.

The service aims to offer users a more in-depth – and ultimately, more useful – data set.

New features include JavaScript (analytics.js instead of ga.js) that provides greater flexibility for a higher number of customization options, and options in the admin interface that could previously only be accessed within Analytics’ development environment.

Perhaps most significantly for those looking to keep a tab on a site’s visitor traffic and conversion rates, Universal Analytics takes the emphasis from the visits and lays it on the visitors.

In the standard Analytics programme, when someone visits a site – whether that’s using their mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer – Google initiates a Client ID representing a single anonymous user. When that same user visits the site for a second time through a different platform, they’re again assigned a Client ID and count as a second anonymous user.

Google Universal Analytics has changed all of this with its new visitor tracking parameter – User ID. Now, one user accessing a site through several devices will be counted just as that – a single unique user.

This means companies seeking to boost traffic to their site – whether through publishing industry-relevant content or other search engine optimisation strategies – can see a figure that gives a more accurate representation of visitor numbers.

Richard is a Web Content Editor at Engage Web. He has had work published in a number of independent magazines and spends much of his spare time writing short stories.

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