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The Art of Analytics: Should You Upgrade to Universal Analytics?



By Kate Alany | Sr. Manager of Digital Analytics | PBS Digital

Many of you have seen messages in your Google Analytics interface prompting you to upgrade to Universal Analytics. Universal Analytics uses a new tracking code to introduce some new features not previously available in GA, but with the upgrade comes the loss of current features you may not want to lose just yet. We’ve received questions about whether or not to upgrade, so we wanted to provide information to assist your decision.


An important note for joint licensees: Our friends in analytics at NPR Digital Services recently blogged about Universal Analytics to let NPR members (and, therefore, joint licensees) know that if you’re using NPR’s Station Analytics System, you should stick with Classic, since SAS does not support Universal just yet.


One specific question we received was how to use the new GA demographics and interests feature with Universal, which is currently not possible. Below is a guide to what is available with Classic vs. Universal. When you sign up for a new GA account, you now have the option of choosing between the two, and the table below shows you some of the basic differences.




Since Universal is still in Beta, consensus among many in the industry is that it’s probably best to wait a bit longer to make the upgrade. We recommend waiting until we have more clarity about how the new features work, how to use them, and how to ensure access current features is still available.

If you still have questions about Universal Analytics and whether or not you should upgrade, feel free to take a look at some of these resources and let us know if we can help!

NPR Digital Services’ blog post: “Should you upgrade to Universal Analytics? Not yet.”

Amazee Metrics blog post: “Google Analytics vs. Universal Analytics: Which one to choose?”

Google’s Universal Analytics FAQs