Google has just announced that it is retiring Universal Analytics (UA), the version of Google Analytics that most of us are familiar with, and switching to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Even after a few months, there is still a lot of misunderstanding regarding the crucial distinctions between GA4 and the earlier Universal Analytics.
Before you continue reading, you might want to check out our in-depth guide to Google Analytics 4 here if you’re unsure of what it is, the capabilities it adds to the analytical toolkit, or how to get started using the platform. We’ll look more closely at the key distinctions between them in the following sections of this article.
Google Analytics 4: What is it?
We still use Google Analytics to track website performance and Firebase Analytics to track app engagement. It might be challenging to get a clear idea of how the data compare, even though both systems execute their jobs effectively and offer organizations insightful data.
GA4 is made to combine web analytics with app analytics. Or, to put it another way, GA4 is the newest version of Google Analytics, allowing you to traverse and better comprehend the intricate, multi-platform experiences that your visitors take.
GA4 significantly improves the website security and privacy of client data by removing the tool’s IP address storage feature. In the current global environment, where the demand for increased data protection and restricted sharing is rising, this feature is advantageous for enterprises.
Universal Analytics: What is it?
Google’s web analytics platform is now using Universal Analytics. It was released at the end of 2012 to replace Google Analytics v3 (GAV3), which has been used since 2007. This version’s several substantial updates give it an advantage over its predecessor in terms of power and use.
Mobile devices, tablets, PCs running full browsers like Internet Explorer or Chrome, as well as other devices that access your website, are all tracked by Universal Analytics, which does not simply track computers using conventional browsers.
Additionally, it makes it much simpler to monitor eCommerce operations to see how frequently customers add items to the cart but do not complete a purchase. This information may help you raise conversion rates and income from sales.
Key differences between Google Analytics 4 Vs Universal Analytics
1. Data Measurement: Session-Based vs. Event-Based
UA counts sessions and page visits when calculating hits. Sessions describe the level of website interaction that users have at a given moment. These sessions include website visits, events, and eCommerce purchases, among other hit kinds.
GA4, on the other hand, measures hit depending on events and criteria. Any hit can be recorded as an event. So, for instance, if your website receives a pageview, GA4 will recognize it as an event.
2. Created Segment Types
Your Google Analytics property’s particular data might provide crucial insights through segments.
The only segment types available in UA were User and Session. You may segment data in GA4 by User, Session, and Event. The new GA version’s “Explorations” feature lets you view your segments.
The setup of GA4 and universal analytics is the third key distinction between them. Cross-domain tracking is difficult with Universal Analytics’ property and view setup.
Conversely, GA4’s cross-domain tracking is far more user-friendly. Instead of on-page monitoring carried out by tagging and admin adjustments, a cross-domain search may be set up on the admin panel.
4. User Entity Modeling
You’ll probably be prompted to agree to a website’s cookie settings each time you visit it. Following your consent, a website that uses Universal Analytics will place cookies on your computer so that they can keep track of what you do while you’re on the internet.
New user entity modeling in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) enables cross-device user journey stitching data from cookies and Google signals. Data from logged-in Google users make up Google signals. They might replace the data void left by the absence of cookies.
5. Enhanced Measurement Tracking
Furthermore, you may immediately set up advanced measurement tracking with GA4. But now, advanced measurement monitoring is available for all GA4 assets.
To utilize the functionality, choose the desired property from the Admin menu. Click Data Streams under the Property column, then choose the Web option. Slide the switch to the On position for all choices in the Enhanced measuring section by scrolling down.
Is GA4 a preferable choice to Universal Analytics?
Google Analytics has changed since it was first introduced to account for new trends, rules, and technology. It has accounted for changes in consumer behavior and modifications to support data collection for marketers. So, is GA4 better than Universal Analytics? GA4 might be superior to GA3 because of the added features.
New measurement models are included with it, which aid marketers in closely monitoring user visits and website interactions. It facilitates their ability to recognize the functional and viable portions of the websites. Additionally, with user authorization, advertisers may get additional user data.
Similarly, GA4 improved accessibility for tracking user activity across several websites. Additionally, there were limitations on customized reporting, which made it more difficult for marketers to produce reports for particular KPIs.
Google Analytics 4 as well as Universal Analytics were discussed in the article. It summarized the positives and negatives of each. Using Google Analytics 4 vs Universal Analytics depends on your company’s goals and needs.