Google is preparing to axe Universal Analytics properties in July of 2023, but in the meantime there are still reasons to create and primarily use a Universal Analytics property over a GA4 account.
Shopify, for example, only natively integrates with Universal Analytics at the moment and not GA4. There are a variety of ways to implement GA4 on your Shopify store but today we’re looking at the old-school way. We’re focusing on Universal Analytics as it’s more straightforward to integrate with most website platforms than GA4, and it’s far easier to get access to your data.
How To Create A Universal Analytics Property
By default, Google Analytics will create a GA4 property for you when you start a new Google Analytics account. To create a Universal Analytics property, click on the Admin button at the bottom left of your Google Analytics account.
In the second column, click Create Property.
In the panel that appears, you’ll be prompted to create a GA4 property. Enter your property name — usually something like Your Website Name UA — and set your reporting time zone and currency. This is important because your results will report against your timezone so, for ease, make sure to set your timezone as your head office’s (or reporting office’s) timezone.
But we don’t want to just create a GA4 property. Under the Property Details box, click on the blue Show advanced options text.
This will open a Create a Universal Analytics Property option. Click on the grey circle on the right hand side.
By default, Analytics will get you to make a new Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics property at the same time. If you’ve already got a GA4 property, just click on the ‘Create a Universal Analytics Property Only’ button.
Then, click Next.
Pick your industry category, business size, and business category. This is just for Google’s internal reference and it will help any of Google’s specialists steer you in the right direction in the event that you need their help in the future.
Make sure to tick relevant boxes about your objectives. Google will use these to help provide you with automated tips and tricks for getting the best out of your Analytics account.
Then, click Create.
Congratulations — you have a fresh new Universal Analytics Google Analytics property.
How To Integrate Universal Analytics Into Shopify
Shopify’s lack of a Google Analytics 4 native integration is likely why you’ve made a new Universal Analytics property to begin with. Integrating a Universal Analytics property into Shopify to better understand how to measure what your customers are doing across your online store is easy.
First, navigate back to the Admin section of your Universal Analytics property. This button is in the same place as in GA4, down in the bottom left of your window, but it looks a bit different. See below.
Inside Admin, in the Property column in the middle, click Property Settings.
In the Basic Settings section at the top, copy your Tracking ID. It starts with ‘UA-’ and contains a string of numbers with hyphens.
Now head back to Shopify. Under the sales channel section on the left-hand side, click Online Store. Then, click Preferences.
About halfway down this page, you’ll see a Google Analytics account section. Into this box, paste your Tracking ID. If the Enhanced Ecommerce option appears, check that box.
How To Turn On Enhanced Ecommerce In Universal Analytics
Enhanced Ecommerce features in Google Analytics are a powerful way to record how your online store is tracking outside of Shopify’s notoriously unreliable ‘Sales Attributable To Marketing’ panel.
If you don’t see the Use Enhanced Ecommerce button, that’s because your Google Analytics view doesn’t have Enhanced Ecommerce options turned on. Turning them on is easy.
To turn Enhanced Ecommerce on inside Universal Analytics, head to your Google Analytics account. Click on the Admin gear in the bottom left corner.
In the View column on the right hand side, click on Ecommerce Settings.
Note: because you’re adjusting the View’s settings, not the Property’s, not all of your Views will populate with Enhanced Ecommerce settings. Ensure this is turned on for each of your Views if you have a multi-View Analytics setup — like for managing multiple sales territories.
Inside your View’s Ecommerce Settings, click the Enable Ecommerce button to on.
This will populate a new button called Enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting. Turn this on too.
With this done, head back to your Shopify Online Store sales channel’s preferences. If you’re just changing tabs, refresh this page so that it knows that your Enhanced Ecommerce settings are turned on.
Then click the box next to Use Enhanced Ecommerce to turn this native Shopify integration on.
Now enjoy reliable, accurate ecommerce reporting straight from Shopify to your new Google Analytics Universal Analytics property.
For more information about GA4, find out what the inevitable end of Universal Analytics means for Shopify merchants.