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Universal Ga Have You Implemented It? Pros And Cons..

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#1 DJKay


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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:47 PM

In fairness, I have posted this query in other groups and forums but I am trying to collect information and I think this will be a good discussion, either way around.  That said, I am getting around to delving into Google's new Universal Analytics. That said, other than the posts by the Google Analytics blog, the promoting via Justin Cutroni's and or Avinash's posts on their blogs, I have not seen much in the SEO/Analytics community in regards to pros and cons with articles.

So, community, has anyone implemented it? If so, what have you experienced? What are the pros and cons? There seems to be a lot of great stuff there, that said, I have to balance off the requirement of dev resource time across all our our sites. I have seen Gemma's article and will be commenting there.  Gemma over at Koozai has an article on it she posted today in the Google Analytics group, http://www.koozai.co...rsal-analytics/


I am really looking for web masters, marketers and site owners who have deployed it and can speak to its pluses (+) and minuses (-) Thanks in advance. DJKay

#2 Jill


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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:55 PM

I set up a new GA property and added the code when it first came out, but honestly, I don't know how to use it.


The article you linked to is good in that it helps explain what it all does. But it looks to me from the Developers Guide (linked to from that article) that in order to even use the extra things you get, you need to send specific (confusing) variables to Google Analytics first.


Well beyond my capabilities and understanding. 


I think that might be why we haven't heard much about it yet. Nobody knows how to truly implement it. 


The article says you need to assign a unique client id to everyone who visits your website, but it doesn't say how that's done!

#3 DJKay


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Posted 09 April 2013 - 09:19 AM

Yes, you are right.  Its more a promotional article about the features available in the new Universal Analytics.


Justin Cutroni has had subsequent posts on his blog about the new universal analytics but you are also right in that its another level of development in regards to analytics configuration.  Almost all of our current google analytics implementation have at the bare minimum, cross domain tracking, custom variables, event tracking, social, some ecommerce.  Specing out and implementing those is no small task as there are about 70+ installations of it.


Its not a small deal to convert to Universal Analytics, especially when you are talking about sites that have complex GA installations.  Other than the developers guide and the information on Avinash's & Cutroni's site, I don't see many articles in the way companies talking about actually implementing it and where the rubber meets the road.  If you read Cutroni's post, he comes right out and says that some parts of it have yet to be developed. 


As far as the benefits, for us, having a user id so we can see what a user does across devices is a huge plus as we have traditional [desk top] and mobile/device configurations of our online products across the board.  


I am in the process of researching this and I am happy to share any findings I have.  Of course, anyone out there that has implemented it, I would love to hear from you.


Best Regards,





Are you running the new Universal Analytics code in addition to your current GA configuration?  Its unclear from the documentation and what I have read whether or not you could have both scripts running at the same time on a site.


Thanks in advance.  DJKay

#4 Jill


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Posted 09 April 2013 - 10:07 AM

Are you running the new Universal Analytics code in addition to your current GA configuration?  Its unclear from the documentation and what I have read whether or not you could have both scripts running at the same time on a site.

Yes. I now have 2 different analytics IDs running. It's not a problem in the least.
The thing with having to use the new code is you only have data from the date you added it. So do NOT get rid of your old profiles. Use it in addition to them.
Because most people are barely looking at what they already have in GA, it's hardly going to be worth it to get even more information. This is going to be for hard core analytics users who know what they're doing. But until some developers come out with software that interacts with it and makes it do whatever it is that it is supposed to do, it's not much use to most of us at this point in time as far as I can tell.

#5 DJKay


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Posted 09 April 2013 - 10:14 AM

Good to know.  That makes me feel better about testing it. 


As far as whether its worth it, that is what I am trying to determine for our 70+ installations of GA, which by all accounts can be classified as very advanced implementations.  I think what its going to come down to is me developing an analytics road map for my org, mapping out what functionality/features we get with each version of GA and the new server side analytics platform we are also implementing.

#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:03 AM

I no longer use Google Analytics except when clients use it.  I have lost all faith in the product.

#7 DJKay


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Posted 10 April 2013 - 11:56 AM

Its not the only product I have used over the years, but the company I work at now uses it.  That said, we bought a new CMS, SiteCore, which have server side analytics and a digital marketing suite which we will implementing on one of our products this fall. 


I think companies should use a few different analytics products because different apps do different things.  At my job previous, I used web trends, GA, nettracker, conversion ruler and awstats.


I have also heard that Piwik is a free open source product that some use. 

#8 DJKay


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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:09 PM

Hi - I wanted to circle back as I have posted on several groups and compiled some information.  I have broken into what I feel are pros and cons.  We could debate til the day is long what a pro and what a con is, but that is not really the point.   Since HighRankings is my one true original forum that I am faithful to, I wanted to circle back and provide what I found.  I will include some links to some articles on it some people shared, so here you go"




Cross-device tracking, but that requires a user to be logged into a site, whether desktop or mobile. So again, that's not really anything you couldn't track before without some implementation work. Some "Google magic" cross-device tracking was hinted at, but no roadmap details were given.

Custom Dimensions and Metrics

They mentioned dimension widening in the webinar as well, but I don't think that's exclusive to UA. Essentially it's like Omniture's SAINT classifications.

You get 20 custom dimensions and 20 custom metrics.

Sounds like UA is where Google will be focusing going forward. So might as well get it and GA running in tandem now to learn the differences and help facilitate an eventual transition to UA-only.

You can run both on your site

Instead of using (4) cookies uses (1)

Server Side Configuration features – UA lets you change following server side configuration features via the account admin panel:

    Add/delete search engines
    Change session and campaigns timeout settings.
    Add/delete referral traffic sources
    Exclude search terms

In case of GA you need to add special tracking codes to all the web page on your website to change each of the aforesaid server side configurations.  UA has simplified changing these server configurations by providing easy to use controls in the account ‘admin panel’ which don’t require editing the existing tracking code on every web page of your website.

UA uses a new measurement protocol (a protocol is a set of rules) which let you send data from any device/system/environment (including smartphones, tablets, call center data, digital appliances, point of purchase systems or any online or offline customer contact point) to your Google Analytics account provided you have formatted your data according to the protocol. Through this protocol you can import offline conversion data into GA.




Basic metrics I've looked at (Visits/PV/visitors) don't line up between UA and GA. I haven't figured out the cause of this.
UA is still in beta, so isn't supported by an SLA if you're a GA Premium customer and there isn't feature/report parity yet. Sounds like that's on the roadmap for later this year.

You can only connect one profile for Google Web Master Tools

Referrals tracked differently. For example: let us suppose a visitor arrived on the website www.abc.com from www.xyz.com then returned back to www.xyz.com. When the visitor arrived on the website www.abc.com from www.xyz.com, it will trigger a new web session. When the visitor returned back to www.xyz.com from www.abc.com, it will trigger another new web session. So in total 2 web sessions will be triggered in UA

Google warns against collecting any personally identifiable data in your UA accounts. Google can terminate your analytics account if you breach this policy. You need to give your end users proper notice and get consent about what data you will collect via UA. You also need to give your end users the opportunity to ‘opt out’ from being tracked. That means you need to make changes in your privacy and data usage policies. Google recommends using Google Analytics opt out browser add on if you want to block Google Analytics.

In UA almost everything from cross domain tracking, event tracking to e-commerce tracking is handled differently and there is not enough support available from Google and other analytics users yet. If anything goes wrong you are pretty much on your own.

The user ID feature everyone raved about hasn't yet been added.

The API doesn't yet give you access to custom dims and metrics.

The API doesn't yet give you access to custom dims and metrics.

Site speed did go down 1 pt via Google’s site speed tracker.

Pan session user id has not been set up yet


Here are the links to some articles others posted:








One thing is for sure, this is not for the faint of heart and its for custom integrations of analytics. 


Best Regards,




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