Benefits and warnings with using the new Universal Analytics in Google Analytics by Yoast v5.0
Google Analytics by Yoast v5 was a major rewrite, and had some issues that affected all sites, but was quickly patched throughout the day, ending with v5.0.5 being automatically pushed out to all sites that haven’t turned off automatic minor updates. Let’s review the updates in Google Analytics now that we’ve had a few days to play with it on a number of live sites that we manage for customers.
Google Analytics by Yoast v5 Enhancements
For Google Analytics by Yoast, the v5 update includes these new enhancements:
- Universal tracking added
- Better link tracking
- New Universal demographics feature
- New menu items in the WordPress admin menu
The big item is Universal Analytics support, which is something Google added to it’s Analytics platform back in March of 2013 but hasn’t been widely adopted by many because it wasn’t built in to most plugins, nor were it’s benefits really understood either. Now that this widely popular plugin supports it, more people will be wanting to upgrade their Google Analytics account to take advantage of it, so here’s a few points to keep in mind…
Benefits of Universal Analytics
Connect multiple devices, sessions, and engagement data with the User ID.
The User ID is a Universal Analytics feature that you can use to associate multiple sessions (and any activity within those sessions) with a unique ID. When you send an unique ID and any related engagement data to Google Analytics, all activity is attributed to one user in your reports. With the User ID, you can get a more accurate user count, analyze the signed-in user experience, and get access to the new Cross Device reports. Learn more about the User ID.
Use simplified and more accessible configuration options.
Universal Analytics gives you more configuration options that you can control from your account Admin page:
- Organic search sources
- Session and campaign timeout handling
- Referral exclusions
- Search term exclusions
Implement Enhanced Ecommerce.
Once you’ve deployed Universal Analytics, you can then tag your site with the ec.js plugin, and then use the Enhanced Ecommerce reports to analyze your users’ shopping and purchasing behavior, the success of your internal and external marketing efforts, and the economic performance of your products.
Stay up to date with new features and updates.
With Universal Analytics, you can use all of the standard Google Analytics reports and tools, but you also get access to new features.
Universal Analytics supports data collection without browser cookies.
The Universal Analytics collection methods (analytics.js and the Measurement Protocol) can be implemented and used to collect user interaction data without cookies. Learn more about how to opt-out from Google Analytics.
Warnings when using Universal Analytics
Referrals are processed differently than in in previous versions of Google Analytics.
By default, all referrals trigger a new session in Universal Analytics. For example, if a user is on your site, leaves but then immediately returns, this user has logged 2 sessions. You can, however, modify your tracking code to exclude all traffic from specific domains as referral traffic with the referral exclusions.
Data sent via a Universal Analytics collection method can only be processed by a Universal Analytics property.