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Google Universal Analytics

Google Universal Analytics (UA) is a new, and free, website traffic and monitoring tool that replaces Google Analytics (GA).  Universal Analytics has been completely rewritten and is a real game-changer because it combines the power of Google Analytics with a sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) software.  To you retailers this may sound like a bunch of abbreviations so I will try to break it down for you so you can understand the power of this new tool. 

Quick History

When we started building website in 1998 the rage for seeing who came to your website all dependent upon the number of "hits" and "page views" you received. This was later replaced with the number of "visitors".  You were mostly anonymous back then and typically only used one browser and computer to access the internet, which equated to one "visit" or "visitor".  This is far from the truth today!  Not only do you most likely have multiple browsers installed on your computer but you are also accessing the web from a variety of computers, tablets and mobile computing devices.  Each instance of these, whether it is from you using multiple browsers on your computer or using your computer and then phone, are all considered a different visit to someone's website.  Additionally, there was no way to tie these visitors together so it was really hard to understand how someone was using your website. 

Website Customer Relationship Management

With Google Google Universal Analytics you can now track shoppers across devices with the introduction of a new User ID.  This field is passed to Google and is a unique identifier for that visitor on your website, whether they are accessing your site from their computer, phone or tablet. Google UA allows you to see exactly how shoppers are using your website and how multiple screens play into their buying decision.  This is a radical shift in thinking which has transformed Google Analytics from a geeky piece of software into a great marketing tool for your business. 


The best way to implement Google is to use Google Tag Manager.  Modern Retail recommends you run Google Analytics in parallel with Google Universal Analytics to make sure the setup is correct and number both tools are reporting are consistent.  Modern Retail can help you implement the analytics.js JavaScript library into Google Tag Manager so you can start using Google UA on your website.  Whether you are using Magento or WordPress E-Commerce, Modern Retail can populate the new User ID filed used by Google Universal Analytics.  If your in-house developer is making these changes please make sure they are not using any personally identifiable information, such as email address, as the User ID. Instead, it should be the unique user ID from Magento or WordPress that has no personally identifiable information in the code.  You also do not want to use the same Web Property ID for both Google Analytics and Google Universal Analytics.

Google Universal Analytics also has a variety of other improvements like sub-domain tracking, much easier to define custom dimensions and the ability to connect really any device, even your in-store point of sale system, which is really an interesting concept because this would all you to track your customer's habits in-store and online!

Please submit a Support Request if you have any questions on how to implement Google Universal Analytics.

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