GA4 vs Universal Analytics: The Differences You Need to Know

Google Analytics is changing. If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a new version of GA called ‘GA4’ that offers some great benefits over the old Universal Analytics platform, however it is a very different beast compared to UA which could present some challenges to current users.

If you’re still using Universal Analytics, it’s time to migrate to GA4 as soon as possible – Despite it being around for a number of years and only hinting at the switch, Google is finally making it mandatory from 1st July 2023 and deprecating universal analytics for good.

In this post, we’ll look at the differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics, and why you need to make the switch.

The main difference between the old Universal Analytics and GA4 is the way data is collected – Universal Analytics uses the traditional “pageview” model, where each page load sends information about that page to Google Analytics. GA then processes this data and displays it in various reports.

GA4, on the other hand, uses an event-based model. This means that instead of tracking pageviews, GA tracks interactions (or events) that happen on your website. These events could be anything from a user clicking on a button to adding an item to their cart. By tracking these events, GA can provide more detailed insights into how users are interacting with your website.

There are several benefits of using the event-based model:

– You can track interactions that don’t necessarily result in a page load, such as a user adding an item to their cart.

– GA can provide more detailed insights into how users are interacting with your website.

– Events can be used to trigger other actions, such as sending a notification or displaying a message.

Despite the positive, the event-based model also has some disadvantages:

– It can be more difficult to set up than the traditional pageview model – at first glance, it seems that GA4 offers less insights than UA, which is putting people off

– The data collected by GA is not as “clean” as the data from UA, which could make it more difficult to interpret

Despite these disadvantages, the benefits of using GA far outweigh the drawbacks and we recommend that all users switch to GA as soon as possible, or at least install alongside UA (yes, they can be used in conjunction with each other). The earlier GA4 is collecting data, the more year on year data you’ll be able to use post 1st July deadline.

Also, the data collected by GA4 will be more accurate and provide more insights into how users are interacting with your website, which will ultimately lead to better business decisions in the future.

We hope this has helped you understand the differences between GA4 and UA and why you should switch. If you have any questions or need help migrating, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.

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