Universal Analytics (UA) is no longer the default for Google Analytics. Now they are using data streams in what they are calling GA4. There are advantages to GA4 in that it has better click attribution and will now automatically collect data like scroll depth. Yet, there is still a need for UA when it comes to things like WordPress plugins. You can still install UA even on brand new websites.
I will show you how.
I am launching a new website at Suzza.dev. We will set up Google Analytics for this property.
Adding Universal Analytics to Google Analytics
Head over to Google Analytics.
Click on the “Admin” link on the left sidebar.
Click on “Create Account.”
Fill out Account details and click “Next.”
Click on “Show advanced options.”
Move the slider on the “Create a Universal Analytics property” so it turns blue which means it is on. Enter your URL and click the radio button for “Create both a Google Analytics 4 and a Universal Analytics property.” Then click next.
Fill out the “About your business” section and click “Create.”
Accept the Terms of Service.
Add the Google Site Tag to the header of your website if you want. You may not need to if you are using a WordPress plugin. We will get the UA identifier in the next step.
Close that window. Click the area where the GA4 number is located. This will give you a drop-down where you can select the UA property.
From the drop-down select the UA property.
In this example, my Universal Analytics ID is 199829685-1. This can be used in WordPress plugins that require UA.
You can now see Suzza Dev along with the Universal Analytics and GA4 properties under my Accounts.
The Future of Universal Analytics
I wouldn’t expect Universal Analytics to be around for long. I imagine it will be phased out over time like its predecessors. This is why I suggest that you select create both a GA4 and UA property during the creation process.
You should familiarize yourself with the new features of GA4 and get used to how it operates. It is now the default for setting up new accounts. It is also the feature that Google plans future developments for.
One thing that I have found helpful is this Google Analytics code checker. It will tell you if you have successfully added the tag to your website. This can be very helpful for troubleshooting if your Google Analytics is not recording any data.
Are you liking the changes to Google Analytics? I’m not quite used to it and still prefer the views that UA gives me. What I would like to know is how effective it is for apps! This is something I might try when I turn my portfolio website into a React App.