Universal Analytics Upgrade
Articles,  Blog

Universal Analytics Upgrade

PHILIP WALTON: Hey everybody. I’m Phillip. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: And I’m Nick. PHILIP WALTON: And
today we’re here to talk about Universal
Analytics, which, as you might have heard, just
recently came out of beta. And we’ve had our public launch. And we’ve taken a
bunch of questions from users and the community. And we wanted to just take
some time to answer them. And just give everyone
a general overview of what Universal Analytics is. So Nick why don’t you
talk about just what it is for maybe people
that haven’t heard yet. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Yeah,
it’s a great question. So Universal Analytics is
a huge fundamental shift for Google Analytics. Really came about with
the fact that today users are using more devices than
ever to research and learn about businesses. Now for in the list, this is
becoming really difficult. In the past, when you just
looked at your website, it was easy to just
have web tracking. But now as users are interacting
with your business across all these touch points,
we needed to rethink how analytics works to allow
customer businesses to actually understand all the
different touch points that users
are interacting. As well as understand
how users are ending up across those touch points. So Universal Analytics
is really to solve that problem of how we can
provide a better view of all the touch points users are using
to interact with your business. PHILIP WALTON: OK. And so what are some of the
differences between Universal Analytics and maybe what we’ll
call classic analytics, what it was before
Universal Analytics. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Well
what it really comes down to some fundamental
technical things. One of the technical things
was that, in the past, when the web was the
center of the world, it was that cookies were
using to persist information. And so all your campaign data,
and all of your visitor history information, like how
many sessions you’ve had, that was all stored
in the cookie. So as soon as we start taking
that environment out of the web and start talking about mobile,
and tablet, and just devices, these cookies didn’t
really translate well. So what we did is we
actually ripped out a lot of the information,
all that state, that were using the cookies,
and we pushed it to the server. So now with Universal
Analytics there’s a very easy way you can
send data into the platform, regardless of the
device you’re on. In fact, all you need is an ID
that identifies a user, as well as the information
about that interaction, and you can now measure
any sort of touch point, regardless of it’s mobile, a
tablet, kiosk, game console. It’s all available to measure
now with Google Analytics. PHILIP WALTON: Right. Because before, if I had
a cookie my web browser, but then I went and
used my phone later, there would be no way to know
that it was the same person. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Right. PHILIP WALTON: So now we can
solve that problem, the cross device– NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Well,
it’s a good question, yes. So the first thing
is we can actually send the data from
these different devices. PHILIP WALTON: Right. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: The second
part of Universal Analytics is this feature we
call user ID override. And stability, if you
have a logged in user, that you could
actually explicitly set the ID of that user. So if they’re
logged in to the web and logged into the
mobile application, you could explicitly
set the same IDs, so now we have the ability
to actually measure this user across
multiple devices. PHILIP WALTON: So it was in
beta, and now it’s not in beta. Now it’s been publicly launched. So what does that mean? What are the differences? What can the users expect
now that’s no longer beta? NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Right, so
this change took a lot of work. From a lot of engineering
effort to actually move all our systems to use
Universal Analytics. So that took some time. With the public and
the launch, which we announced a
couple weeks ago, we announced a couple
really key big things. First, it was
completely out of beta, so it’s publicly
available for all users. The second thing is we
now achieved 100% feature capability. So all the features that we
didn’t support in the past, we now support. For example, re-marketing,
audience reports, all these double click
integration features are now natively supported
with Universal Analytics. PHILIP WALTON: And
to be clear, these were things that were
supported in classic Analytics, were not supported in the beta
phase of Universal Analytics, but now that’s out of beta
these things are supported. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Exactly. PHILIP WALTON: So everything you
could do in classic analytics, you can now do– NICK MIHAILOVSKI: You can now
do in Universal Analytics. PHILIP WALTON: Great. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: There’s a
couple of small other things that we did. One is the new experience
for all new properties is that you’ll always be
Universal Analytics by default. So that was a big thing. The other thing we also rolled
out, which is really nice, is a feature we call time
zone based processing. That gives you the ability so
that the data analytics account is now processed with
the time zone that’s configured for that view. In the past, it was all
Pacific time and now it’s view. So customers in
Japan and Australia are really loving
this, because now they actually get fresher data. The other thing is we
announced that we’re going to start publicly rolling
out the user ID override feature, which we’ve
talked about for a while, but we’ll now actually
start rolling out. And then the last part
of our announcement was the ability in the
measurement particle– again this is the way
you actually send data from any device– to override
the IP and user agent fields. This was a huge developer
feature request, and allows you to now
proxy data from a server, so you can now do server
to server communication. So with Universal Analytics
it’s not just about devices. It’s also about servers,
because they actually have a lot of important data. We can now properly measure
that within analytics. PHILIP WALTON: Let’s go
to some user questions. The most common
question that we got was what will happen to
my data after I upgrade? There’s a little bit of fear. I am I going to lose some of it? Is there going to be down time? What would you say
to those users. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: So
that’s a great question. The upgrade has
actually two steps. And the first step is that you
actually transfer processing from classic to
Universal Analytics. The second step is then you
retag from the classic gajs code to universal code,
which is analytics js. PHILIP WALTON: So
where do you transfer? You said the first step. Where you do that first step? NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Right. So in the admin
interface, there’s a section under the
property, and if it’s still a classic property, you can
actually go in, and manually go through the
process, and say you want to upgrade and
start to transfer the processing from classic
to Universal Analytics. PHILIP WALTON: So do it
on the Google Analytics– NICK MIHAILOVSKI: On the site. PHILIP WALTON: –website. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Yeah. And so when people actually
take their classic property and transfer processing
to Universal Analytics, we see a barely– we worked
really hard to make sure that there was no
data inconsistencies. So people see potentially less
than 1% change in that one day, but longer term
we still maintain all of your visitor history. So if we know the user came
back to your site five times, we still remember that. And we still remember all
the campaign information. So it’s a very small
change when you actually transfer processing. PHILIP WALTON: So that
step anybody can do. Anybody with access to–
with authorization to go in and manage their
analytics account– NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Anybody
with admin access. PHILIP WALTON: –can change it. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Correct. PHILIP WALTON: So you said
there’s a second part. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: The second
part of the upgrade process is to actually retag your
site with the classic code, from gajs, to the new
universal code, analytics js. And so that process is
sometimes more involved. And so you can actually
continue– the way we’ve designed the systems
is that you could actually continue sending the classic
gajs data into Universal Analytics and we’ll process it. So that’s still works. PHILIP WALTON: So that segues
nicely into the next question that we got a lot. Do I have to change
the code of my website? And so it sounds like
the answer is no. You don’t really have to change
the code of your website. At least not right now. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Right now, you
don’t have to change the code. We’ve really designed
it work well. And we know that
re-implementing tracking code can be very difficult. So what we’ve
actually even designed is that you could actually
implement on the same website. You can partially retag. Part of the website
can be classic gajs and the other part
can be Analytics js. You can’t have the same page. But you can have them
on different pages sending data to
the same property. So if you can’t actually
get to your whole site, you can actually start
implementing analytics js and getting some of the
features of that new tracking code on this those pages. Now there is kind of
a broader story here, and what we announced
was the public launch of Universal Analytics. Our goal for this project
is to actually get 100% of Google
Analytics properties to be processing by
Universal Analytics. And that’s a huge goal. And we have a lot of great
people who are opting in. The other part of it is
that, over time, we’ll be manually
transferring properties to Universal Analytics. And so once 100 people actually
move to Universal Analytics, we will then enter the next
phase of the upgrade process. And that will actually
be where we announce that Universal Analytics
is the operating standard for all customers. And at that point, we will
announce to deprecation gajs. And so what that
means is that we will continue to support
processing data from gajs, the classic code, for
a minimum of two years. PHILIP WALTON: So if I
do nothing right now, there’s a chance that
everything will just be fine for some
time to come now. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: For
like 2 and 1/2 years. PHILIP WALTON: You
probably should upgrade, but it’s not urgent
if you can’t. If you don’t have the
beans to do it right now. NICK MIHAILOVSKI:
That being said there are a lot of new
features that we’re adding to Analytics js. And actually the way we’re
developing product now is that all new features will
be Universal Analytics only. So over time, there
will be huge feature gap between old and new. So we do encourage
everybody to actually retag when they have the opportunity. PHILIP WALTON: So
the next question we addressed it a
little bit already, but I mentioned
that a lot of users asked during beta– some
users were recommended not to upgrade,
because certain things weren’t available to them. And right now is there
is any reason why somebody shouldn’t upgrade? NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Right now we
think everybody should upgrade. So the big thing was that we
didn’t have all the feature support. But with the public launch
we support all the features. Now is the best time
to start considering planning of how to upgrade. Again, it’s a 2-step process. The processing
part of it can just be done by the admin
with a couple clicks. The retagging, you can
still wait for a later time. But it’s definitely something
people should looking into. PHILIP WALTON: So you
mentioned that some people were going to get
automatically upgraded. So that might sound
scary to some people, maybe they don’t
want to upgrade. Should be worried about that. That’s kind of the next
question that was coming up. NICK MIHAILOVSKI:
It’s a great question. And so again, the
goal is that we want to bring great
features and products on Universal
Analytics to market. So the goal is to get
100% of all our properties to using Universal Analytics. We know some people
will upgrade, or some people will
do the transferring. But for the customers
who don’t, we will start auto transferring
those properties. And again, because we
have full feature support, there’s nothing to worry that
you will be missing features. Because we’re processing
all the classic data that you’re spending. Again, there will be
minimal data discrepancies. We actually have now
in the change log– in your analytics account
management change log, we actually show when
the transfer has started. So if Google has initiated
this for your property, you can actually see
this in that change. But the goal here is that
way because the impact is so small for doing
the transfer, we’ll just go ahead and
start transfer. PHILIP WALTON: And as
we already mentioned, because the old
code on your website still works in
Universal Analytics. If Google auto
transfers somebody and they’re not even
aware of it, it’s fine. NICK MIHAILOVSKI:
It should be fine. PHILIP WALTON: Nothing happens. So the next question is
when will this happen? When will people
start being forced that currently haven’t
made the switch yet? NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Right, so when
will we auto transfer people? PHILIP WALTON: Yeah. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: So we’re
working on a long term plan. There’s a lot of users. What we’ll be doing is for
sites that send us more data, we’ll be increasingly
transferring them to Universal Analytics. Our goal is then to–
certain customers have different integrations
with analytics, like AdSense, AdWords. So then we’ll go to that phase. And then finally, the last part
of it is our premium customers. We’re going to give our
premium customers the most time to actually go in
and manually do this or to make sure everything’s OK. PHILIP WALTON: Great. So some people have asked. If I upgrade a property
to Universal Analytics, will my automated
reports still work? NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Yes. Everything in the product
will continue to work. PHILIP WALTON: So the
API, just to be clear, the API has not changed,
just the way the data is being collected that’s changed. NICK MIHAILOVSKI:
The way we collect data and the way we
process data has changed. The actual reporting continues
to use the same process data. So that will all be transparent. All the scheduled reports
of the product, or the API, or even the reports [INAUDIBLE]. Everything will be consistent. PHILIP WALTON: And even if I’ve
written my own application that uses the API on some schedule
to get new data every once in awhile, that
shouldn’t change at all. NICK MIHAILOVSKI:
That won’t change. PHILIP WALTON:
Won’t be affected. Great. So one question we had was
that Classic Analytics supports features like custom variables. Now in Universal Analytics,
we don’t have custom variables anymore. We have something called
custom dimensions. Do you want to talk a
little bit about that? And are those things being
automatically transferred? Or how does that work? NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Right. So custom variables was
our original feature that allowed you to bring
your custom business data through the tracking code. Custom dimensions is the next
evolution of that future. And unfortunately,
these two features, we’re not able to make them
compatible with one another. So the way it works
in Universal Analytics is that when you transfer,
or if you are using Analytics property, you can still
send custom variable data with the classic tracking code. It will continue to process
that just as we did in the past. But if you start using Analytics
js, the new Universal Analytics tracking code,
that does not have support for custom variables. It only has support
for custom dimensions. So there is a trade off
between when should you start moving from
custom variables to customer dimensions. And again, this is
something that we tried really hard to figure
out, a migration path. And it just didn’t quite
work with the new model. And of course the
new model’s more flexible for a bunch of
things that we’re working on. But longer term, we
would love for people to come up with a
plan on how they can move from variables
to dimensions. PHILIP WALTON: Great. So are there really any reasons
at all why somebody shouldn’t upgrade to Universal Analytics? If somebody came in here
and they were skeptical, they had the most
customized site possible? What would you say
to that person? NICK MIHAILOVSKI: Right,
so we’ve tested it. We have 100% feature support. We really think at
this point everybody’s ready to start doing
the upgrade process. So if anybody hasn’t
done it already, it’s definitely something
to take a look at. And of course, for people
who just don’t have the time or is not really using
Analytics anymore unfortunately, we’ll be auto transferring
those properties over the next coming months. PHILIP WALTON: OK. So if people had questions,
wanted more information, where should they go? NICK MIHAILOVSKI:
It’s a great question. So we’ve really tried. With these big platform changes
there’s a lot of questions. So we have a couple great
resources for people to use. The first one is if you don’t
know what Universal Analytics is, we have a help center
that can help articulate all the features and benefits. If you’re specifically looking
for information on the upgrade, we actually have a
whole upgrade center that really talks you through
the benefits, the time lines. We’ve actually published
the whole timelines that we’ve talked about. It also has specific migration
guides that actually talk you through what code changes you
need to do when you retag. Finally, for people who
still have questions,– there’s always people
who have questions– we actually have a public Google
group for upgrade that people can actually ask questions
and our engineers take a look at them to make sure
if there’s any bugs, that we’re actually
addressing them. PHILIP WALTON: Well thanks
everybody for watching. Hopefully you learned something
about Universe Analytics. Once again, if you
have some questions. The resources that
Nick just mentioned are great place to look. And once again,
my name is Philip. NICK MIHAILOVSKI: And I’m Nick. And I hope you
have a great time.


  • Innocent Djiofack

    Analysis is getting more and more accurate, this should be a good new for marketers. what about privacy? check it out here!

  • Adam Powell

    Google should rethink the G+ comment integration user interface (as it shows in the comment list below)…I'm glad a gazillion people shared this on Google+, but those pings/trackbacks shouldn't displace actual comments.

    I have comments, concerns, and a question which hasn't been addressed in the Google Product Forums but it looks like it'll get buried under a million "share" notifications so I'll take it elsewhere.

  • Exiled Solutions LLC

    i was getting 1000 views a video and you fucked that up wtf now its 324 go back to the old view system

  • Oliver Eighteen

    How to configure rollup reporting in Universal Analytics? I have been hitting around but no luck. Can you please point me to the correct solution? Thanks.

  • Chicamod. com

    Interesting overview.  However the analytics page has a message that "The Google Analytics tracking code has not been detected on your website's home page. For Analytics to function, you or your web administrator must add the code to each page of your website." , even though the code has been copied.  On the other hand, there are some notes on automating this, but it doesn't seem to work.

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