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Source: iStock Photo
Source: iStock Photo

Today, the digital analytics sphere received some very interesting news. Universal Analytics (UA), the expanded update to Google Analytics (GA), was released from Beta. For many months, Cardinal Path clients have been asking our service and delivery teams for details relating to the timing, features, and impact of UA. Uncertainty swirled regarding the features that might be present in the release, the length of time that the legacy GA implementation will be supported, and the cost of upgrading. Today’s announcement has answered a lot of these questions. Here is a quick update outlining some of the changes that are effective today:

  • All the features, reports, and tools of Classic Analytics are now available in the product, including remarketing and audience reporting.
  • The User ID feature is being rolled out to all accounts to help businesses understand the path that their users take through their business. This feature will give you and your team new insight into user behavior, device preferences, and even anonymous engagement activity.
  • Cross device reporting is being officially activated. These reports will show you how users use your businesses digital properties in both mobile and traditional environments.
  • Time zone based processing has been added so you can now insert time zone lags within your reports to make sure that your data captures the difference in time zones between users and actions.
  • User agent/IP override has been added. Specifically, Google added two fields to set the IP address and User Agent directly in the Measurement Protocol
  • Audience reporting is being expanded so you can get insight into more specific audience metrics, including gender and interests
  • Google Tag Manager (or GTM), will now fully support all UA features. This is important, particularly for clients who have already migrated or who are using GTM to do on site tracking.

Now that you have a better idea of some of the features, the next question that I am sure you are asking, is what you should do about it? It’s important to note that this release places no requirement on end users to migrate from their traditional Google Analytics deployment. However, based on typical product lifecycle evolution, this release should at least be the catalyst for organizations to start planning next steps. Check your readiness to migrate to Universal Analytics.

Nathaniel Payne is a senior data architect with Cardinal Path