19 Key Insights into Universal Analytics

by Sharon Hurley Hall

Last updated on April 3rd, 2018

A couple of months ago, we published a quick-start guide to Google’s public beta release of Universal Analytics (UA).

Now that people have had a chance to test it, how does it stack up? I scoured the Web and put together a roundup of the 19 most insightful articles and identified the key takeaways.

Read on to see what’s great about UA and how it could help improve your marketing efforts.

19 Recent Insights into Universal Analytics

Setting Up and Using Universal Analytics

1. Want to know what makes UA unique? Try Google Universal Analytics in a Nutshell from Boxcar Marketing. This article highlights seven new features UA offers, along with some examples of how they work.

Key takeaway: UA gives you everything you’ve grown to love with Google Analytics … and adds a whole new set of customizable features that give you a better understanding of your visitors’ behavior.

2. Next up, Lindsay Hittman of Acceleration Partners provides An Inside Look at Google Universal Analytics. Here you get even more details on the  new, key features and see what they add to the wealth of analytics tools available today.

Key takeaway: Expect way more flexbility and customization. You can drill down deeper, and discover new insights about your visitors not possible before with Google Analytics.

3. Want to set up your own trackers within Universal Analytics? Check out the Universal Analytics Cheat Sheet from Nick Blexrud on Swellpath. Nick has taken all the info there is on UA and made a handy reference guide.

Key takeaway: If you’re serious about your analytics (and are technically inclined), UA has a lot to offer. You’ll want this cheat sheet. It’ll save you a lot of time and trouble.

4. Warning, this next one comes with a “tech-geekery” alert. I’m as geeky as the next gal – and it made MY head spin! Blast Analytics Marketing provides Universal Analytics – Now Properly Namespaced. It walks you through eliminating tracking conflicts with UA’s new namespacing feature.

Key takeaway: Conflicts with your tracking code — and even having to run a separate tracker on top of your Google Analytics — is a thing of the past. UA lets you run multiple trackers without any issues.

Tracking Customers with Universal Analytics

5. Google Universal Analytics Review – Part 1 from PointMarc shows how UA abandons cookies for tracking visitor information, something marketers will be happy with in a multi-device, multichannel world.

Key takeaway: UA is device agnostic. It tracks events across a broad spectrum of devices, including mobile phones, tablets, gaming consoles, computers, and more.

6. In The User-Centric Approach – Google Universal Analytics vs. Mixpanel Shay Sharon compares these two tracking tools, examining the new UA features and asking whether these make UA more user focused.

Key takeaway: So far UA provides a much-needed update to free analytics. And while still not on par with Mixpanel, it does a good enough job for 80% of website owners worldwide.

7. Ian Andrew of Movable Online has seen a positive difference with UA. In Why you should set up Google’s new Universal Analytics ASAP, he explains why UA provides a much better representation of the traffic that lands on a site.

Key takeaway: Run both Google Analytics and Universal Analytics to get a better understanding of the mix of direct, referral and search traffic.

Marketing and Universal Analytics

8. In Google Universal Analytics: Understanding online visitors, not just visits, Amy Gahran of Knight Digital Media Center discusses the relevance of UA as a data management tool for publishers.

Key takeaway: This could make it easier to find new ways to engage your audience.

9. Mike Rowan of the Swarm Agency outlines 3 Reasons Why Google’s Universal Analytics is a Game Changer. He says that in addition to the integration of offline data and better conversion tracking, it includes the ability to measure the impact of mobile applications.

Key takeaway: UA lets you merge offline data with your analytics. This data can come from things like cash registers, loyalty cards, call centers and more.

10. What are the benefits of UA for businesses and marketers? In Universal Analytics – A new take on data Simon Phillips of Dejan SEO looks at the possible benefits for data analysts, customers and brands. He says:

“Detailed insight into a significant element of their business (the customer) is surely a win for any forward thinking, data driven organization.”

Key takeaway: You can use UA data to create a better experience for your customers, resulting in better brand positioning.

11. The Australian Business Review’s Google Universal Analytics: ‘Customer Centric’ Data is a good read. It gives examples of how businesses can integrate data from store webcams or loyalty cards to get a more holistic picture of their customers.

Key takeaway: Because UA can integrate offline and online data, businesses can be creative as to how they use their data to improve customer loyalty and retention.

12. Angelo Tsakonas of ifbyphone shares 3 Ways You Can Use Google Universal Analytics to Pump Up Data. This speaks directly to marketers with tips and examples using ecommerce, A/B testing for marketing promotions and tracking direct response calls.

Key takeaway: The opportunities to beef up your marketing data with UA are plenty. And we’re only starting to see what’s possible …

Analytics, SEO and Social Media

Analytics, SEO and Social Media

13. Campbell Wilson of BWired discusses Universal Analytics and SEO – When to Switch. As well as outlining some of the UA benefits, like visitor tracking for up to two years, he provides examples of who should switch and when.

Key takeaway: If you’re a relative analytics novice, you should wait until Google makes implementing UA more simple before switching over.

14. On Our Social Times, Andrew Bruce Smith asks What Does Universal Analytics mean for Social Media? He focuses on the tool’s ability to track visitors no matter what device they are using, an important asset when so many are using smartphones, stating that:

“according to Google, 90pc of all media interaction today is done via a screen – TV, PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone.”

Key takeaway: Marketers who want a better insight into how their audience is really using social media, will want to get their hands on UA.

Tracking Business Data

15. On econsultancy, Damion Brown shares Eight ways Google Universal Analytics will change the way businesses use data. For marketers, some of these benefits include a way to track offline conversions, integrate with CRM tools and better manage search.

Key takeaway: The introduction of UA is the most significant change in the industry. Analytics will eventually have an expanded organizational reach.

16. In Universal Analytics: The Future of Tracking Business, Phil Caines of 6S Marketing looks at the implications of multi-platform tracking for business.

Key takeaway: Marketers can now gain better insight into how visitors turn into buyers, as they interact across platforms.

Mobile Analytics

17. How Will Universal Analytics make an Impact on Omni-Channel Retailers?, asks Nick Charles, who looks at some of the implications for retailers wanting to use UA’s ability to track across devices.

Key takeaway: Increased information about consumer behavior will help retailers understand and target their market better.

18. Nan Dawkins asks Is Google’s Universal Analytics A Game Changer? In this article, you’ll get a closer look at how cutting-edge UA’s new features are, and what obstacles it faces for widespread adoption.

Key takeaway: While UA doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking when compared to existing paid services, it does offer a new degree of sophistication in the realm of free analytics.

19. Finally, it’s back to Damion Brown of econsultancy for Cross Device Measurement in Google Analytics will turn mobile marketing on its head. This article provides useful examples of cross device measurement, along with some ideas of what marketers can learn about customer interactions on different devices.

Key takeway: Digital marketing is increasingly data-driven and UA magnifies this trend.

Got any insights of your own to add?

Add your thoughts in the comments below.

If you missed it, read our first review of Universal Analytics.

And if you’re just getting started with Universal Analytics, be sure to check out Google’s About Universal Analytics page.

Images: James Royal-Lawson/ JN Ferree



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Sharon Hurley Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer, university lecturer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website.


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  1. Ramdav says:
    December 16, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Great stuff, Thank you for sharing such a informative post on universal Analytics

  2. December 13, 2014 at 11:23 am

    You’re right that now is a great time to revisit the upgrade to Universal Analytics if you haven’t already. I have additional resources that are specific to book publishers but that certainly apply to any business. Included at the below link are slides on 5 great reports, upgrade instructions and a sample letter to an external programmer or developer with the upgrade request since this is often hard for marketers or non-technical people to explain.
    Universal Analytics for Book Publishers

  3. December 12, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Much informative article for Universal Analytic.. day by day it updating.. Now a days mobile analytic tracking is moving ahead..

  4. September 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Great round-up on Universal Analytics. Thanks very much for including Boxcar Marketing.

  5. Mark says:
    August 3, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I actually just wrote a post around universal analytics and how you can customise it in a couple of not so obvious ways over at aberrant.me/cool-google-analytics-hacks-using-the-new-universal-analytics-js/

    I think the most exciting one is the ability to track what social networks visitors are also logged into when they visit your website. It helps paint a really interesting picture of what social networks you should ideally spend the majority of your time engaging with specific to your own audience.

Show Me My Heatmap

Taking @CrazyEgg for a test run @IndiciaNL. First Plus.. Smooth #TagManager implementation!

Rogier | is hier


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