Sep 17, 2014

Upgrading to Universal Analytics

On April 2, 2014, Google officially released Universal Analytics, a new tracking code created to replace their Classic Analytics tracking code. According to Google, the Classic Analytics tracking code will continue to function for two years from the release of Universal Analytics; however, being proactive in upgrading will help ensure you don’t lose any Google Analytics data.

For in-depth details about upgrading to Universal Analytics, visit the Universal Analytics Upgrade Center.

Which Tracking Code Am I Currently Using?

Look for the Google Analytics Tracking Code on your website by searching for “ga.js” or “analytics.js” in your website’s source code. If you find “ga.js” your site is still using the Classic version, if you find “analytics.js” then you’ve already got the Universal Analytics code installed. I’ve included samples of each version of the tracking code below:

Classic Analytics

Classic Analytics tracking code.

Universal Analytics

Universal Analytics tracking code.

What Should I Do If I Still Have the Classic Code?

Upgrading is basically a two-step process:

  1. Upgrade to Universal Analytics within Google Analytics.
  2. Replace the Classic Analytics code on your website with the new Universal Analytics code.

How do I Upgrade to Universal Analytics in Google Analytics?

In most cases, if you haven’t initiated the upgrade, Google already has. Log into Google Analytics and go to the Admin page for your site. Within the Property section you will either see a “.js Tracking Info” link (for upgraded properties) or a “Universal Analytics Upgrade” link (for properties that need to be upgraded):

Example of an Upgraded Property:

Upgraded Google Analytics property.

Example of a Property That Needs to be Upgraded:

Google Analytics property that has not been upgraded.

If you see the upgrade link, click it and follow the instructions provided to complete the upgrade process. For more detailed information about upgrading see Google’s Upgrade Guide.

How do I update the Code on my Website?

After you have upgraded to Universal Analytics in Google Analytics, you will need to update the tracking code on your website. This update does not need to occur right away, as the old tracking code will forward your data correctly to Google Analytics for about two years (according to Google), but it is best to update the tracking code on your website as soon as you can to reap all of the benefits of the new tracking code and to ensure you don’t lose any website traffic data.

The exact process for updating the tracking code on your website will depend on how the code was originally added to your site. In general, simply replace the old tracking code with the new Universal Analytics code. You will find the Universal Analytics code by clicking the “Tracking Code” link in Google Analytics for the website Property in question.


Upgrading to use the new Universal Analytics tracking code is much easier than you might think. There may be some additional work to be done for sites that are using customized code or e-commerce sites, but in most cases it’s a simple two-step process.

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