Should you upgrade to Universal Analytics? Not yet.

Feb 4, 2014

Have you been seeing messages in your Google Analytics account pushing you to upgrade to Universal Analytics? If you haven't, then you probably aren't looking at your reports enough.  If you have, you can go ahead and ignore them for now.

a message from the google analytics reporting interface

The most basic reason for you to ignore these is that if you are using the Station Analytics System (SAS) tag won't be supporting Universal Analytics anytime soon. Here's why we've decided to wait:  

Not everything that is in your standard tag is available in Universal Analytics.  Remember the demographics data that we just added? It's great, right? Universal Analytics doesn't yet support it and there are other elements that haven't yet been built in to the new product. This lack of parity is the single biggest reason that we don't want to make the transition.  When Universal Analytics supports all of the functionality of the current tag, then we'll start to plan our transition.

The product is still in Beta. Ok, I know that lots of Google products stay in Beta for a long time, but it's still early and we just don't think this one is ready yet.  More importantly, Google doesn't plan to support the Premium SLA until the product is out of Beta.  This means that stations with GA Premium won't be able to convert until the third phase of the Universal Analytics rollout.  Currently, we are in the first phase of the rollout and there are currently no dates published for future phases.  Since one of the benefits of SAS is a Premium account, we won't move until timing of the third phase is announced.

The benefits aren't entirely clear. Google promises that Universal Analytics provides "set of technological innovations that improve the way data is collected and processed in Google Analytics." It allows for App data and Web data to be integrated.  It also allows for the creation of Custom Dimensions  and Custom Metrics to replace the current Custom Variables in ways that are better integrated into reporting.  Most promising is the addition of offline data. These are great improvements if you've been dying to have them, but the standard tracking is meeting our needs right now and we can still put resources toward the improvements that we really want.  

There are other small consideration but both of these will prevent us from transitioning to UA for the near future, so it is safe for you to go ahead and ignore those messages about upgrading.

For more information check out the FAQ from Google