Google recently unveiled Universal Analytics, the next version of their widely utilized web traffic analysis software. According to Google's Help documentation, "Universal Analytics introduces a set of features that change the way data is collected and organized in your Google Analytics account, so you can get a better understanding of how visitors interact with your online content."
Basically, Google has made a bunch of improvements under the hood so you get more accurate data and they've updated the interface so that your data is easier to understand and visualize. I'm sure that's all great, but it also means that there are some differences that existing users will have to get used to, including changes to terminology ("Profiles" are now "Views") and the organization of reports in the left menu.
In addition, existing users will need to upgrade each of their Properties to access all of the new features. Google also recommends that you upgrade your tracking code snippet, but that's not technically required (yet).
We're currently in the first phase of a four stage rollout plan. At this point, Universal Analytics is still considered to be in beta and the upgrade is completely optional, because some Analytics features are not yet available (especially those related to DoubleClick). If you are considering the upgrade, you should make sure you won't lose any critical functionality first.
If you don't wish to upgrade now, that's okay, because Google will eventually upgrade your account for you. However, you're still on the hook for updating the tracking code snippet on your web site, because the old snippets will be deprecated in the final phase of the rollout. According to Google, "data collected from the deprecated features will be processed for a minimum of 2 years" so you've got some time to update the code, but if you do nothing, your site tracking will eventually stop.
If you are ready to upgrade, here's a quick walk-through of the process:
Log into your Google Analytics account and click on the Admin link in the header. Then, select the Property that you'd like to upgrade. If you have Edit privileges and Universal Analytics has been rolled out to your account, you'll see "Universal Analytics Upgrade" as the top option in the Property column.
By clicking that option, you'll be directed to a confirmation screen. Press the blue Transfer button to initiate the upgrade. Note: the transfer will take 24-48 hrs.
Once the transfer is complete, you'll need to insert the new tracking code snippet onto your web site.
Although this step is technically optional, Google recommends that you insert the new tracking code snippet on your web site. The older tracking code snippet will continue to work for now, but you'll get the best results with the new code.
Once, the transfer is complete, you will be able to get the new tracking code from the confirmation page or on the Tracking Code page as usual.
The tracking code snippet needs to be present on every page of your web site, but implementing that will depend on your setup.
You can update your Google Analytics tracking code on your own with a few easy steps.
Once you've inserted the new code, I highly recommend that you log into Google Analytics and verify that the site is still being tracked.
The easiest way to do that is to access any of the Real-Time reports and then pull up the site in another browser tab. The report should show that at least one visitor is currently viewing the site.
You can also view the status of your property in the Admin section. Click on the Admin link in the header. On the following page, select the appropriate Account and Property. Then, click on Tracking Info in the Property column, followed by Tracking Code.
That's it! Happy analyzing!