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Why Do You Need Switch from Google Analytics to Universal Analytics?

Universal Analytics has launched in 2012 but got out of beta in 2014. I think it is time for everybody to switch to Universal Analytics for many reasons. I’ve always preferred Omniture to Google Analytics for enterprises for many features that did not exist in Google but with Universal Analytics they added so many new features that were part of Omniture for years. It looks like Google is catching up Adobe in analytics and that is very good news for all analytics professionals. Hopefully we will see more innovation on both sides.

Please see my other posts that compares Omniture (Adobe Analytics) with Google Analytics Premium. These are old posts so in the near future some of them might be irrelevant.

Let’s start with our subject:

1.Start doing visitor based analytics rather than visit

Google Analytics is a visit based tracking system which is now ancient way of reporting. I have started web analytics in 2003 with Web Trends but I started to learn more in 2007 with Omniture. Visitor based analytics was always core of my analysis and this was the biggest reason why I always preferred Omniture to Google Analytics. Why? Cause visit is not an exact metric with an absolute definition. I don’t know what to do with this metrics these days. Let’s see:

Page view: each time page is viewed, this metric is counted. We have an absolute definition and it is also very easy to count this metric exactly.

It is hard to count “Unique visitor” information due to cookies, different browsers but it has an absolute definition. # of people who visits your site at certain time frame.

But visit metrics is so vague, and with mobile native apps, I want to forget this metric. First of all most analytics solutions use 30 minutes as their visit definition. But what about your site’s visit definition? How do you define visit? There are sites which does not expire session for hours, and if you take 30 minutes as your visit definition, what happens?

2-Bring Offline Data into Google Analytics

The Measurement Protocol- another tool that Omniture offered for years (Data Sources) -is now available under Universal Analytics only. This tool lets you to send offline data to Analytics so that you can combine offline data with online. I am strong believer of combining online and offline data to be able to find great insights that might create significant difference in your organization.

3-Data Classification is Finally Possible

This is such a big feature I have been using in Omniture for years. Let’s say you are an e-commerce company and you track product ID or SKU. Products can be classified in many ways. For example a shoe can be classified as one of these: women shoe, size 37, red shoe, high heel, classic, Manolo Blahnik and etc..There is no way we can capture this tons of classifications during a transaction, yes we can theoretically but it would be such a waste of time and resources because that data is already defined somewhere in your internal database. Ideally you would like to feed this information by using common key such as SKU. This feature is so crucial for enterprises. Omniture SAINT and new product Classification Rule Builder has been matched as Dimension Widening. I have not used it yet so I am not sure if there is an automation like in Omniture but to be able to upload Excel data to Universal Analytics for classification is very good. We can’t complain especially if you are using free version.

3-Configure Campaign Expiration Period in Admin

Google Analytics is creating session and visitor data based on cookies. Universal Analytics is using a new method to set visit and visitor data. New method creates session data at the server level. What does this mean? This feature brings so many new features I love in Omniture. There are some admin configurations in Omniture that was done very easily such as defining campaign cookie expiration. In Google Analytics default campaign cookie is 6 months (no it is not 30 days, that is default in Google Adwords) unless you added JS code to the page to alter this. So with Universal Analytics you will not need to add JS code to the page and can modify this value in admin section without development. FINALLY!!

4-Define Referring Domains in Admin

Other important new configuration is to be able to define what is referral and what is not. If you have multiple domains or subdomains you might end up seeing one of these sites as a referral. This configuration lets you define what is referral for you. Another Omniture feature that is finally added.

Since Universal Analytics has so many new cool features that can be used for free, I plan to write more about Universal Analytics. Stay tuned..

sibel akcekaya

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