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Upgrade to Universal Analytics - Google Analytics Conversion Tutorial

***UPDATE - 6/30/14 - I've yet to see official confirmation of this anywhere, but as far as I can tell, Google has begun auto-upgrading existing accounts to Universal Analytics. This of course means you'll want to update your GA code to the new Universal Analytics code, which you can find under the Tracking Info>Tracking Code section. Keep in mind that this is unique for each property, so you'll need to do this for each site separately.*** If you've set up a Google Analytics account at all in the last several months, then you already know that GA has dropped "Classic Analytics" as an option. For new accounts, Universal Google Analytics is now.... er.... Universal. That's right, after over a year of testing with many "Classic" GA features missing, Universal got the full feature set and became the new default (and only) Google Analytics option after coming out of beta a few months back. Analytics Advocate Justin Cutroni has details, as well as a breakdown of all of the latest features, many of which we'll touch on in individual blog posts soon.

If You Like Your Classic Analytics, You Can Keep Your Classic Analytics.... For Now

As of right now, if you have an old "Classic" GA account, Google is allowing you to keep it. But if history is an indicator - I can cite example after example (after example, after example, after example) of Google phasing out old versions - mandatory adoption of Universal GA is probably just around the corner. Don't get duped by another empty "if you like it, you can keep it" promise and find yourself scrambling to adapt at the last minute - upgrade today! Here's how...

Universal Analytics Upgrade Instructions

Assuming you have full "edit" permissions on the account you'd like to upgrade, the following simple walk-through should help you get the job done. You can find Google's more detailed instructions here. 1. Log into Google Analytics and navigate to the Admin tab. From here, click on the "Transfer not started" link under the Property>Universal Analytics Upgrade section: Google Analytics Admin 2. The next step couldn't be more obvious - click the big blue "Transfer" button: Google Analytics Universal Upgrade 3. Google then gives you one final chance to bail out: Google Analytics Universal Transfer 4. Now comes the hard part - the waiting. After hitting the transfer button you're returned to the previous screen with this message:
It takes 24 - 48 hours to transfer to Universal Analytics. When this process is finished, you’ll get a new version of the tracking code that you’ll need to implement to get all the benefits of Universal Analytics. Visit the Universal Analytics Upgrade Center for details.
There's also an unclickable grayed out "Get tracking code" button. The button will be clickable only after the transfer is complete, at which point Google highly recommends that you do update your code:

Step 2: Update Tracking Code (optional)

  • Replace existing tracking code with new Universal Analytics tracking code.
  • A developer (or person with technical knowledge) should complete this step in your development environment (web pages, SDKs, etc.).
  • The time it takes to update your tracking code will vary depending on your current implementation and your tracking needs.
  • When this step is completed, you will have access to the full benefits of Universal Analytics, including new reports and features.
  • After completing this step, your full upgrade to Universal Analytics is complete.
5. As I mentioned, after the transfer is complete, the blue "Get tracking code" button becomes active again, and when clicked it takes you to the Tracking Info>Tracking Code section, which now has the new Universal GA code for you to copy and paste into your site's pages: Google Analytics Universal Tracking Code Keep in mind that this code is completely different than any earlier version, so rather than try to modify your existing code, you need to replace it completely. It's really that easy - a few clicks, wait for 24-48 hours, and then replace your code with the Universal GA code... With a few caveats. If you have any sort of custom tracking set up before the upgrade, you'll want to review GA support documentation to see if you need to make any modifications. A good example of how the upgrade might impact your tracking would event setup. I recently taught you how to set up event tracking in classic Analytics, but the instructions change considerably when you're using Universal GA. Whether Universal GA will still track events properly with the old link tagging - and for how long - is anyone's guess, so this is one item you would want to address as soon as possible to avoid any lost data. For more details and to get a better understanding of the impacts of upgrading, visit the Universal Analytics Upgrade Center, and if you need assistance - please contact us or post your questions in the comments below.