March 25, 2013

Google opens Universal Analytics beta to public


Google's new Universal Analytics does away with the standard Google Analytics cookies and instead uses universal tracking IDs. This means a business can now follow customers from the first time they visit the store’s website all the way to their first purchase and beyond.

Last October, Google announced the limited beta of Universal Analytics, an effort to bring new features like cross-platform and mobile app analytics, as well as the ability to incorporate data from offline sources, to Google Analytics. Today, it is opening up Universal Analytics to all Google Analytics customers.

As Google argued when it first announced this change, “measurement today is evolving from technology that counts site traffic into a broader system that measures your effectiveness in advertising, sales, product usage, support, and retention.” Universal analytics is meant to help business owners “to understand the changing, multi-device customer journey,” as Analytics product manager JiaJing Wang writes in today’s announcement.

Universal Analytics, which uses a different collection method and hence involves the setup of a new code snippet on the businesses’ sites, focuses on giving online businesses a better understanding of how their customers interact with their sites across multiple devices. This new JavaScript code snippet, Google notes, is more flexible than the old one and gives users more options to customize their data. Businesses will also have to set up a new web property in their Analytics accounts to get started with using Universal Analytics.

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