Google wants webmasters to make the switch to Universal Analytics and it's offering more data for compliance.

Google’s Universal Analytics is out of beta, and website owners are being encouraged to make the switch. In a carrot and stick approach, Google gave a laundry list of benefits that come with the new system and it followed up with a warning that all accounts will eventually be required to make the switch. Although it does require some work on the front end, this is ultimately positive for marketers, because they will receive additional information about people coming to their sites and what they do when they are there.

New system & more features

When webmasters or admins migrate their accounts to Universal Analytics, they will be able to track visitors as they move across the web and use different devices. The way it’s explained in the Google Developers’ announcement, Universal Analytics will help marketers connect the dots to see that a mobile visitor also read brand content and clicked through to service pages to request a sales demo.

The addition of User IDs makes this possible, by assigning individuals who are logged in with an anonymous user ID that can be tracked as they make multiple visits to the site from various devices.

With the new content analytics system, marketers can also create custom dimensions and metrics to get the information that matters most to their unique companies in standard reports.

Step 1: Transfer your property

Before marketers can make the transition to Universal Analytics, they need to transfer their properties from the Google Analytics Admin page. Google advises waiting 24 to 48 hours for the transition to be complete and adding the Universal Analytics tracking code. After completing the initial steps, webmasters can customize their timeout periods and sessions to reflect the nuances of how users interact with their pages.

Step 2: Replace the tracking code

Then, website owners need to update the tracking code on all of their pages with new analytics.js code that gives them access to the new analytics library.

New terminology in classic analytics

Google even updated its classic analytics with new terminology.At the same time, the search giant has been making subtle changes to the terms it uses in classic Google Analytics reports. “Visitors” and “unique visitors” are now “sessions” and “users.” There has been no official explanation for the change, but one possibility is that Google wants to make the information more accessible to marketers, so they can make smarter decisions about their websites and the content they make.

Regardless of the exact motivation behind these changes, it’s becoming clear Google is taking a closer look at how it delivers content analytics information. Marketers should take note and consider a similar approach if they want to create content that propels them toward their business goals.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.