Differences Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics

Google Analytics


The demise of Google’s Universal Analytics has been widely reported. It would be best to have a cutting-edge data measurement solution because clients no longer follow a predetermined path. At the same time, they shop online but instead use a variety of channels. That’s why there’s GA4: Google Analytics 4.You should switch to GA4 and become familiar with it before July 2023, when all basic Universal Analytics properties will stop accepting new hits. Check out the instructions for backing up your Universal Analytics data before the switch.But if you still need to familiarize yourself with the notion, keep reading to find out what GA4 is and how it differs from Universal Analytics.

What is GA4?

We continue using Google Analytics and Google Analytics for Firebase to monitor our websites and apps’ performance. There needs to be a clearer picture of how the data compares even though both systems do their jobs effectively and give organizations valuable insights.GA4 is meant to consolidate analytics for mobile apps and websites. GA4, the latest version of Google Analytics, allows you to track and analyze your customer’s behavior across multiple devices and channels.Google Analytics 4 dramatically improves the privacy and security of its users’ data by not storing IP addresses. In today’s global landscape, when more data protection and controlled sharing are needed, this functionality is an advantage for enterprises.

Comparing GA4 and Universal Analytics

It will take some time to acclimate to GA4’s numerous new features and how they differ from those of its predecessor. So, before you join the herd and migrate to GA4, let’s examine the changes. In this post, we will focus on the top five.

The two tools’ approaches to data tracking are fundamentally different. GA4 measures event-based data, whereas Universal Analytics employs a tracking paradigm based on sessions and pageviews.Sessions or ‘hits’ are the units of measurement used by Universal Analytics to track how visitors engage with your website over time. Universal Analytics mainly records site-wide page visits. Adding several events to a session in Universal Analytics is possible but requires event tracking and Google Tag Manager knowledge—instead, GA4 records ‘events’ related to your website and app. No matter your technical expertise level, you can get a comprehensive picture of your users’ online and offline activity with our new data-measuring approach.

Event kinds in GA4 are as follows:

  • When you install the GA4 code base, simple activities will automatically initiate the collection of events. Page views, new users, and new sessions are all events that fall into this category.
  • You can also automatically collect enhanced measurement events to monitor how well your content is received. Data on things like page scrolling, external links clicked on, site searches conducted, videos watched, and files downloaded may all be viewed using improved measurement events. It is possible to disable some measures for this event type manually.
  • You may get more out of your reporting efforts by including recommended events in your collection strategy.
  • Names and parameters for custom events are created specifically for your company. To avoid making a duplicate custom event, it is recommended that you first study the list of automatically collected, enhanced measurements and suggested possibilities.

The Structure of Data

Your website and mobile application will need their own Universal Analytics properties. In addition, it is suggested that there be at least three different vistas on each property. In the initial, unfiltered perspective, you keep every piece of raw data. The other is a “test view,” where you may play around with filters and other options. And finally, there’s a master view that compiles all the test view’s goals, filters, and other changes.With GA4, a website or app can be grouped as a single property because they are both considered “data streams.” Data streams are data pipelines that carry information from the point of client interaction to GA4. Up to fifty data streams are allowed for each GA4 attribute.

UEM: User Object Modeling

It would be best if you were asked to agree to the cookies settings the first time you visit any website. After you agree to the terms, the Universal Analytics-enabled website will place tracking cookies in your browser so they may track your activity during that session.

Unfortunately, websites are no longer the exclusive means customers communicate with companies. People are increasingly searching for information and interacting within apps on many platforms where cookies are unavailable. If you solely employ cookies to track user activity, you won’t get a complete picture of their journey across your site.

You can now create a unified cross-device user journey by utilizing GA4’s new user entity modeling, which provides cookies and Google signals. Signals from Google come from information supplied by logged-in users. They can supplement the data lost due to the absence of cookies.

Various Measures

The ‘engagement rate’ is a new measure in GA4. The “engagement rate” measures how many sessions a user spends actively participating in content. A session is considered “engaged” if it lasts more than 10 seconds, results in a conversion event, or has at least two page or screen views.

On the other hand, the’ bounce rate is a metric exclusive to Universal Analytics that measures the percentage of sessions that only view one page before leaving. When a session is bounced, it ends immediately.

Although ‘bounce rate’ is commonly used, ‘engagement rate’ is a more accurate measurement of the actions taken by visitors who may have only looked at one page before leaving. Remember that ‘the bounce rate’ is not the inverse of ‘engagement rate.

Cross-platform monitoring

In GA4, you may combine multiple sources of information (such as a website and an app) into a single property, allowing you to generate reports that include aggregate and cross-domain traffic metrics while providing detailed information about individual sources.

In conclusion, the above are the differences between GA4 and universal analytics.

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