Google began its rollout of Universal Analytics back in 2012 and has slowly but steadily been adding new features to the platform, but it was only at the end of 2015 that it completed the rollout, and automatically upgraded all users of the analytics platform from Classic to Universal Analytics.
All webmasters should have had their properties upgraded. If you want to check whether it has happened to you, then you can log in to your Analytics account and look at the tracking code section. If your account was upgraded, then you should see a message that says “Property transfer complete”, and that shows a link to the Universal Analytics Upgrade Center.
What’s New in Universal Analytics?
Universal Analytics gets its name partly from the fact that it offers unified cross-device tracking. Each visitor can be assigned a user ID, which means that you can follow that user as they move from device to device. This is great for tracking longer conversion chains, since it means that you can follow the whole customer journey as the user does product research on one device, adds something to their cart, then thinks about the decision and returns to the website using a different device later in the day.
The new platform also supports search term exclusions, which can be used to stop branded keywords from counting as organic search. This will help to provide a more accurate idea of how your website is doing with the searches that really matter. After all, people who know your brand well enough to search for it by name should not really be counted as organic visitors.
Referral exclusions are another useful new feature. Using this feature, you can exclude traffic referred from specific domains from appearing in your overall traffic statistics, and ensure that traffic which would normally count as a new session (such as someone being referred back to the website after completing a PayPal payment) would no longer be mistakenly attributed in that way.
You can also control the duration of sessions, making them anything from one minute long to up to four hours long. This feature is aimed at sites which have longer than average ‘time on page’ figures and will help to ensure that such visitors are not over-counted in your overall traffic statistics.
These features are available only to websites using the latest tracking code. So if you have not upgraded, do so now.