Insight into Google Universal Analytics

April 24, 2014 Mickey Rausch

Are you confused by Google’s recent upgrade to Universal Analytics? Are you wondering if and when you should make the move? Are you mystified over the new terminology in your Google Analytics’ dashboard? We were too! The good news is that we have done the research for you and wanted to share our insights.

In early April, Google Analytics made the announcement that Universal Analytics is out of beta. This upgrade introduces a set of features that change the way data is collected and organized in your Google Analytics account, providing you with a better understanding of how users interact with your online content.

This migration has also changed the way that Quill Engage works to derive data from a user’s Google Analytics profile, requiring us to make some updates to the application in order to generate reports properly. We have completed these data modifications and are in the process of updating Quill Engage to reflect the new Universal Analytics terminology. In the meantime, we thought we should inform our users of the Universal Analytics upgrade, highlight the benefits for migrating sooner rather than later, and also provide some definitions around the new terms you will see in Universal Analytics.

Why Upgrade?

Google is not forcing anyone to upgrade their GA accounts to the new Universal Analytics system – yet. Eventually, all Google Analytics users are going to have to upgrade, however the timeline for when this is going to occur is unclear. To read more on the specifics of how to implement the new upgrade and all of the details about the migration click here.

The main benefit of migrating to the new UA system will be the ability to track a specific user’s behavior across multiple devices: tablets, desktops, mobile, gaming systems, etc. As more of the web becomes mobile, this data will prove extremely valuable in how marketers target and interact with their customers. Also, new analytics features will only be released on the UA platform. So, if you are using the old system, you will not have access to new features as they roll out.

Additionally, custom dimensions and custom metrics are now available in all of your reports, giving you much more flexibility when it comes to determining the criteria important to your business. Universal Analytics also provides you the powerful ability to track data from any digital device, such as point of sale devices, barcode registers, call centers – you name it!

While all this sounds great, Google is recommending that some users postpone their Universal Analytics upgrade. If, for instance, you are running a re-marketing campaign or capturing Google Display impressions, Google recommends waiting until the third phase of the upgrade to begin migrating your accounts over to the new system. Learn more information about the timeline by clicking here.

New Terminology

Whether you have made the move to Universal Analytics or are still using classic Google Analytics, all users will notice new terminology in their Google Analytics dashboard. Of note, anything related to the person/user/visitor is now considered a User interaction. Anything related to the actions of the user is referred to as a Session interaction.

See Google’s explanation and read more here.

A Quick Summary

  • Visits now = Sessions
  • Unique Visitors now = Users
  • Pages per Visit now = Pages Per Session
  • % New Visits now = % New Sessions
  • Average Visit Duration now = Average Session Duration

We hope we’ve cleared up some confusion around the Universal Analytics migration. If you have any questions about migrating to UA, feel free to contact our support team. We look forward to gathering much more data from the Universal Analytics platform, allowing Quill Engage to provide even deeper insights into your digital marketing metrics.

For more information and to sign up for Quill Engage, visit Or feel free to email us with your questions and feedback.

Mickey Rausch is the Lead Support for Quill Engage Narrative Science. Connect with Mickey on  and Twitter.

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