An Easy Way to Upgrade to Universal Analytics

Last year we launched Universal Analytics, a new technology that allows you to measure customer interactions across platforms and devices. As we announced at the 2013 Google Analytics Summit, we’ve been working on a solution to help you upgrade your existing properties to the new infrastructure without losing any historical data.

Today, we’re announcing the Universal Analytics Upgrade Center, an easy, two-step process to upgrade your existing properties from classic Google Analytics to Universal Analytics.

Once you complete the upgrade process, you can continue to access all of your historical data, plus get all the benefits of Universal Analytics including custom dimensions and metrics, a simplified version of the tracking code, and better cross-domain and cross-device tracking support.

Getting Started

You can upgrade your classic Google Analytics properties into Universal Analytics properties by following these two steps:

Step 1: Transfer your property from Classic to Universal Analytics.
We’ve developed a new tool to transfer your properties to Universal Analytics that we will be slowly enabling in the admin section of all accounts. In the coming weeks, look for it in your property settings.

Step 2: Re-tag with a version of the Universal Analytics tracking code.
After completing Step 1, you’ll be able to upgrade your tracking code, too. Use the analytics.js JavaScript library on your websites, and Android or iOS SDK v2.x or higher for your mobile apps.

Universal Analytics Auto-Transfer

Our goal is to enable Universal Analytics for all Google Analytics properties. Soon all Google Analytics updates and new features will be built on top of the Universal Analytics infrastructure. To make sure all properties upgrade, Classic Analytics properties that don’t initiate a transfer will be auto-transferred to Universal Analytics in the coming months.

Upgrade Resources

To answer common questions, we’ve put together the Universal Analytics Upgrade Center, a comprehensive guide to the entire upgrade plan. This guide includes an overview of the process, technical references for developers, and a project timeline with phases of the overall upgrade.

We’ve also included FAQs in the Upgrade Center, but if you need more information, you can also visit the new Universal Analytics Google Group to search for answers and ask more specific questions.

We’re excited to offer you this opportunity to upgrade, and hope you take advantage of the resources we’ve created to guide you through the process. Visit the Universal Analytics Upgrade Google Group to share your comments and feedback. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Posted By Nick Mihailovski, on behalf of the Google Analytics Team

Improving Ad Rank to show more relevant ad extensions and formats

When people use Google to research and buy things, they're interested in the most relevant and useful results. Ad extensions help by providing more information to potential customers and additional ways for them to respond. For example, they can call your business number, see your business location on a map, or choose an even more relevant landing page that you're promoting with sitelinks. Ad extensions typically improve clickthrough rate and overall campaign performance because they make ads more useful.

Today, we're announcing improvements in the AdWords auction that let us more consistently show more relevant ad extensions and formats.

Ad Rank improvements

Our system for ordering ads on search results pages uses a calculation called Ad Rank. Previously, Ad Rank was calculated using your max CPC bid and your Quality Score. With this update, Ad Rank will also take into account a third component: the expected impact from your ad extensions and formats. In addition, we've increased the importance of Ad Rank in determining whether your ad is eligible to be displayed with extensions and formats.

Here are some more details and implications of these changes:

  • Ad extensions and formats can now influence the position of your ad on the search results page. If two competing ads have the same bid and quality, then the ad with the more positive expected impact from extensions will generally appear in a higher position than the other.
  • When estimating the expected impact of extensions and ad formats, we consider such factors as the relevance, clickthrough rates, and the prominence of the extensions or formats on the search results page.
  • Because Ad Rank is now more important in determining whether your ad is shown with extensions and formats, you might need to increase your Quality Score, bid, or both for extensions and formats to appear. 
  • In each auction, we'll generally show your highest performing and most useful combination of extensions and formats among those eligible. So there's no need to try to guess which extensions will help improve your clickthrough rate the most. 
  • You may see lower or higher average CPCs in your account. You may see lower CPCs if your extensions and formats are highly relevant, and we expect a large positive performance impact relative to other competitors in the auction. In other cases, you may see higher CPCs because of an improvement in ad position or increased competition from other ads with a high expected impact from formats.
  • For now, this update only affects search ads appearing on Google Search.

We've updated our Help Center articles on topics including ad extensions and how we rank ads to reflect these important changes.

Recommendations for using extensions

Extensions make your ads more useful and can improve your campaign performance. So you should add extensions that make sense for your business type and campaign goals. With these improvements to AdRank, our systems will do even more to automatically serve extensions in the contexts when they're most beneficial.

For example, consider someone downtown searching on a mobile phone for "auto repair." In this example, the user might be most likely to respond to your ad when they can click to call a phone number or tap a link to get directions to visit in person. So we may show a combination of call and location extensions with your mobile search ad.

Now imagine if someone were searching for "auto repair" on a laptop computer in the suburbs. Say your ad earned the 3rd ad position above the organic results in this auction. We might show your seller rating and sitelinks because that's the highest performing and most useful combination of extensions that could be shown with your ad in this particular auction and ad position.

We're always looking for ways to make ads more relevant to a user's intent and context. After months of testing, we're confident that these AdRank changes help achieve that goal by more consistently showing people the most useful combination of extensions and formats.

Posted by Chris Roat, Staff Software Engineer

Introducing Shopping campaigns: a better way to promote your products on Google

Everyday, people search on Google for the best products from retailers large and small. With Product Listing Ads (PLA) on Google Shopping, people can browse a wide selection of products, finding high-quality imagery and relevant product information like brand and price.

To make it easier for you to connect with these consumers and promote your products on Google, we’re introducing Shopping campaigns, a new campaign type for PLAs. Shopping campaigns streamline how you manage and bid on your products, report on your performance, and find opportunities to grow your traffic from Google.
Key benefits

1. Retail-centric way to manage your products

Shopping campaigns allow you to browse your product inventory directly in AdWords and create product groups for the items you want to bid on. For example, if you’re a fashion retailer, you’ll see what types of shoes are in your data feed and how many boots you can promote. You use the product attributes derived from your data feed such as Google product category, product type, brand, condition, item id and custom labels to organize your inventory into product groups. Custom labels are a new, structured way to tag your products in your data feed with attributes that matter to you, such as ‘margin’ to separate your high- and low-margin products. To see all the items you can bid on, the Products tab will show you a full list of your approved products and their product attributes.
2. Advanced reporting to measure product performance

Regardless of how you choose to structure your product groups, Shopping campaigns offer the unprecedented ability to view your performance data by product or product attribute. Since performance metrics are associated with the item and not the product group, you can filter and segment data by your product attributes. This includes Google product category, product type, brand, condition, item id and custom labels. For example, you’ll see which Apparel & Accessories categories drive the most clicks, without having to break out your clothing category into a separate product group.
3. Competitive data to size your opportunity

To help you optimize and scale your PLAs, Shopping campaigns provide insights into your competitive landscape. In the Product Groups tab, you can add benchmark columns to see the estimated average CTR and Max CPC for other advertisers with similar products. The competitive performance data you see is aggregated and averaged, so all performance data is anonymous. Coming soon, you’ll have impression share columns to help you understand the opportunity lost due to insufficient bids and budgets, and a bid simulator will help you estimate the amount of impressions you’ll receive as you adjust your bids.
How to get started

Shopping campaigns are currently available to a limited number of advertisers. It will be rolling out gradually in the US, with full global availability by early next year. API support will come in 2014 as well.

You can learn more about Shopping campaigns at some upcoming events. Join us at our Learn With Google webinar for Shopping campaigns on November 20, 2013, and find us at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago on November 6, 2013.

We've built Shopping campaigns with retailers in mind, and if you'd like to be an early adopter to share your feedback, you can express your interest here. We'd love to hear from you!

Posted by Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Google Shopping

Handwriting input comes to Gmail and Google Docs

(Cross-posted on the Gmail blog)

Gmail and Docs offer wide language support, however in some cases using the keyboard is less than ideal. Whether you’re a student trying to include a foreign phrase in your paper or an international consultant hoping to begin your message with a friendly local greeting, now you’ll be able to use your own handwriting to input words directly into Gmail and Google Docs with your mouse or trackpad. To try it out, enable input tools in Gmail or Docs and select the handwriting input (represented by a pencil icon) of the language you want to use.
You can write single or even multiple characters at once in the panel to see them show up in your message or document. Currently, handwriting input is available in Google Docs for over 20 languages and in Gmail for over 50 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and Russian.
Handwriting input makes the internet easier to use by people worldwide and is also part of a larger effort to break the barrier between languages, check it out in Google Mobile Search, Google Translate (Web, Android and iOS), and the Chrome browser.

Calling All Music Fans: YouTube Music Award Voting Opens Today

What do waking up, paper planes, hives, goblins, and five people on one guitar have in common? On November 3, Avicii, M.I.A., Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the Creator, and Walk Off the Earth will all perform live at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards, joining a top musical lineup at Pier 36 in New York City. Actor and musician Jason Schwartzman is joined by comedian and musician Reggie Watts to host this live event. Music video visionary Spike Jonze is creative director, with executive producers VICE Media and Sunset Lane Entertainment.

And now it’s your turn. YouTube Award Nominations across six categories have just been announced at Starting today, you can go there or search “YTMA” on YouTube to vote on the nominees by sharing the official YouTube Music Awards nomination videos across Google+, Twitter and Facebook. These video and artist nominations are based on YOUR views, likes, comments and subscriptions over the last 12 months from September 2012, and your votes from today will determine the winners.

The six nomination categories and nominees for this year’s YouTube Music Awards are:

Video of the Year: Honoring the world’s most loved music videos, these nominees represent the videos with the most fan engagement on YouTube over the last year.

  • Demi Lovato - Heart Attack
  • Epic Rap Battles of History - Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney
  • Girls' Generation - I Got A Boy
  • Justin Bieber (feat. Nicki Minaj) - Beauty And A Beat
  • Lady Gaga - Applause
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Mary Lambert) - Same Love
  • Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop
  • One Direction - Best Song Ever
  • PSY - Gentleman
  • Selena Gomez - Come & Get It

Artist of the Year: Honoring the acts YouTube fans have made stars, nominees represent the most watched, shared, liked, and subscribed-to artists on YouTube.

  • Eminem
  • Epic Rap Battles of History
  • Justin Bieber
  • Katy Perry
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Nicki Minaj
  • One Direction
  • PSY
  • Rihanna
  • Taylor Swift

Response of the Year: Honoring the best fan remix, parody or response video, these nominees represent the top “unofficial” fan videos on YouTube based on your views, shares and other activity.

  • Boyce Avenue (feat. Fifth Harmony) - Mirrors
  • Jayesslee - Gangnam Style
  • Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix - Radioactive
  • ThePianoGuys - Titanium / Pavane
  • Walk Off the Earth (feat. KRNFX) - I Knew You Were Trouble

YouTube Phenomenon: Recognizing the YouTube trends the world could not escape from, nominees are based on the phenomena that generated the most fan videos.

  • Diamonds
  • Gangnam Style

  • Harlem Shake
  • I Knew You Were Trouble
  • Thrift Shop

YouTube Breakthrough: Honoring the music world’s breakout new acts, nominees represent the artists who experienced the biggest growth in views and subscribers.

  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Naughty Boy
  • Passenger
  • Rudimental

Innovation of the Year: Starting with videos selected by an international panel of musicians, YouTubers and creative luminaries, we then selected the creative video innovations that resonated most with fans on YouTube, based on views, likes, shares and comments.

  • Anamanaguchi - ENDLESS FANTASY
  • Atoms For Peace - Ingenue
  • Bat For Lashes - Lilies
  • DeStorm - See Me Standing
  • Toro Y Moi "Say That"

In the run up to the YouTube Music Awards, five music events will be streamed from around the world on YouTube, culminating in the live awards celebration at Pier 36 in New York City. The shows from Seoul, Tokyo, Moscow, London and Rio will kick off at 5 a.m. ET on November 3, and fans can tune in at

So what are you waiting for? Head over to to watch the nomination videos and cast your votes. Stay tuned for more information on the big show and we’ll see you on Sunday, November 3!

The YouTube Music Awards Team recently watched “Announcing the first-ever YouTube Music Awards.”

New free expression tools from Google Ideas

As long as people have expressed ideas, others have tried to silence them. Today one out of every three people lives in a society that is severely censored. Online barriers can include everything from filters that block content to targeted attacks designed to take down websites. For many people, these obstacles are more than an inconvenience—they represent full-scale repression.

This week, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Gen Next Foundation, Google Ideas—our “think/do tank”—is hosting a summit in New York entitled “Conflict in a Connected World.”

The summit brings together “hacktivists,” security experts, entrepreneurs, dissidents and others to explore the changing nature of conflict and how online tools and can both harm and protect. We’re also assessing what might be done to better protect people confronting online censorship. With our partners, we will launch several new products and initiatives designed to help:
  • Project Shield is an initiative that enables people to use Google’s technology to better protect websites that might otherwise have been taken offline by “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attacks. We’re currently inviting webmasters serving independent news, human rights, and elections-related content to apply to join our next round of trusted testers.
  • The Digital Attack Map is a live data visualization, built through a collaboration between Arbor Networks and Google Ideas, that maps DDoS attacks designed to take down websites—and their content—around the globe. This tool shows real-time anonymous traffic data related to these attacks on free speech, and also lets people explore historic trends and see related news reports of outages happening on a given day.
  • uProxy is a new browser extension under development that lets friends provide each other with a trusted pathway to the web, helping protect an Internet connection from filtering, surveillance or misdirection. The University of Washington and Brave New Software developed the tool, which was seeded by Google Ideas. To learn more about the challenges uProxy aims to address, watch our video.
Information technologies have transformed conflict in our connected world, and access to the free flow of information is increasingly critical. This week’s summit—as well as Shield, the Digital Attack Map and uProxy—are all steps we’re taking to help those fighting for free expression around the globe.

Learn how to evaluate the user experience on your site

With only a few seconds to capture a user’s attention, we all know it’s important to have a great user experience on your site. One of our goals is to help you create a user experience that will keep users coming back to your site.

In the past, we shared our guiding principles for user experience and asked some of our most successful publishers to share their thoughts. However, many of you told us you’d like to see more examples of how to actually apply the principles to your site. We’ve heard your feedback and, on November 1st, we’ll show you how in a Learn with Google Hangout on Air that takes you behind the scenes of a user experience consultation.

During the Hangout on Air, we’ll evaluate a pre-selected AdSense publisher’s website and teach you how to take a step back, apply a critical eye, and evaluate whether or not the user experience on your own site complements your site goals. We’ll identify specific changes the publisher can make to improve the user experience, walk through our recommendations, and answer a few of your user experience questions, which you can submit when you RSVP to watch the live stream.

RSVP to let us know if you’ll be watching the Hangout on Air and we’ll see you on November 1st!

Click here to RSVP

Posted by Laurie Shiau - Inside AdSense Team 
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Google Media Tools: a new intersection for newsgathering

The New York Times used Google+ Hangouts to interview U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about Syria’s chemical weapons. The Weather Channel used Google Earth to illustrate the damage of Superstorm Sandy through dramatic before and after satellite images and live YouTube video. And Svenska Dagbladet used the Google Maps API and crowdsourced information from readers to plot disparities in neighborhood mortgage rates, generating a meaningful debate in Sweden.

These are just a handful of ways journalists around the world are already using the Internet and Google tools to report the news, visualize data and improve their storytelling capabilities. To continue helping journalists report the news in new and compelling ways, we’ve launched Google Media Tools, a centralized hub aimed at empowering journalists of all skill levels with more ways to connect with their audiences and communities.
The site—which we unveiled last week at Online News Association ‘13 (ONA), a premier digital journalism conference—features a variety of ways to do everything from research to developing to publishing. There are many tips and tricks to make technology do some of the heavy lifting in the daily lives of journalists. The site also showcases the power of the Internet overall in reaching new audiences and giving journalists more ways to make an impact.
We’ll add more resources including case studies, tutorials and expanded content in the coming months, and will soon launch the site in other languages as well.

Improvements to location targeting for international searches

The world is getting smaller. Today, people use search to shop for products and services from around the corner or across the world. This means that every business can now be a global business.

To help you connect with your customers - wherever they’re located - we’re improving the way location targeting works in AdWords. Starting the week of November 11, 2013, advertisers using either the default or ‘location of interest’ setting will be able to show ads to potential customers by taking into account both the location that people are searching for, as well as the location they are searching from -- even when they are international searches. For example, let’s say you own a hotel, and you are currently targeting Paris with the keyword “Paris hotels.” Previously, only people searching on or from France could see your ad. Starting the week of November 11, your ads will be eligible to show to people searching for “Paris hotels” from anywhere in the world -- for example, someone who lives in New York City who is booking a vacation in Paris.

These improvements help you share your message with more customers who have expressed interest in your business and deliver a better set of results to people who are searching with locations in their intent.

Most advertisers will find that this change improves the reach of their ads with no action needed. In fact, this is currently how targeting works within countries. This update just ensures that searches across countries work in the same way. Your ads will continue to show to your target audience based on the location targeting options that you have set. In some cases you may see a change in impression volume since your ads can now show to people who are searching for your business from places where your ads weren’t previously showing.

These changes offer broader coverage for your ads while keeping your existing location options intact. If you prefer to narrow your location settings, you can still do so using advanced location options by selecting the “People in my targeted location” radio button.  You can also exclude geographic locations to prevent your ads from showing in selected regions.
People are searching in ways that transcend geographical boundaries, and we want to ensure that AdWords reflects this global reality. These location targeting updates make it easier for potential customers to find your business, and easier for you to connect with them – wherever they may be looking.

Posted by Nicholas Boos, Product Manager, AdWords

Leaving a lasting legacy with help from Google

Last year Andrew Willis used Search and Maps to turn his love for skateboarding into something that could bring a community together: his skatepark, Frontside Gardens. Here is his story. -Ed.

Andrew (“Andy” to his friends) has been a passionate skateboarder for as long as he can remember. To make his dream of building a skatepark for his community come true, in 2012 Andy entered a competition to lease a piece of land in Hackney Wick, in East London. He won—then realized he had no budget to build his dream.
Using Search and Maps, Andrew found a wealth of reclaimed materials in the area. From screws to planks of wood to sheets of ply, he sourced his skatepark materials from local suppliers and businesses. An engineering graduate, he also used YouTube to learn how to use new materials, like marble. The result: an empty building site turned into a thriving community skatepark—Frontside Gardens.

For Hackney Wick families and kids, Frontside Gardens is more than a skatepark. Built by hand from scratch, it’s a place to enjoy a sunny day, learn new skills and make the most of what they've got together. For Andrew, it’s a place to pass down the things he's learned over the years and in doing so, creating a legacy all his own.