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Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics: Get familiar

If you have been following the news, you are aware of Google’s Universal Analytics’ impending demise. You need a contemporary and enhanced data measurement solution since clients no longer browse through items on the web in an expected path but rather through several touchpoints. That is the purpose of Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics.

It’s time to switch to GA4 and begin getting accustomed to it before the basic Universal Analytics properties cease processing new hits in July 2023. Check out how to store historical data from Universal Analytics if you are already one step ahead for a seamless transfer. But if you are still unfamiliar with the idea, continue reading to find out more about Google Analytics 4 vs. Universal Analytics.

The distinction between GA4 vs. Universal Analytics

It will take some time to become acclimated to GA4’s numerous distinctive characteristics that set it apart from its predecessor. Let’s examine the differences between them so that you can decide whether to migrate to GA4 before everyone else does. We have reduced them to 5 essential topics for this post.

1. Paradigm for tracking

GA4 tracks event-based data, whereas Universal Analytics utilises a tracking paradigm based on sessions and pageviews. In the form of sessions or hits, Universal Analytics records and analyses various user interactions with your website over time. Universal Analytics primarily monitors page views across all of your properties. Although a session in Universal Analytics can also contain a number of extra events, doing so needs knowledge of event tracking and Google Tag Manager. GA4 is designed to record events as opposed to data on what users are doing on your website and app. Regardless of your technological skills, this new data measurement paradigm provides a thorough picture of your customer involvement both online and offline.

2. Structure of data setup

You must make distinct properties for your website and app in Universal Analytics. Additionally, it is advised that each property has three different viewpoints. You keep all of the unfiltered data in the first view, which is unfiltered. The second option is a test screen where you can explore and apply filters. The last option is a master view, which compiles all the objectives, filters, and other adjustments you have tried out in the test view. A website or app will be regarded as a data stream in GA4 and be subject to a single property. A data stream is a data flow that starts at a consumer interaction point and goes all the way to GA4. There are a maximum of 50 data streams per GA4 property.

3. Modeling of user entities

Every time you visit a website, you will probably be prompted to confirm your agreement to the cookie settings. The website that interacts with Universal Analytics puts the cookies into your web browser when you agree to the conditions, enabling them to track and record your online activity during a particular session. You can now stitch the data together in a single unified cross-device user experience thanks to GA4’s new user entity modelling, which offers both cookies and Google signals. Data from logged-in Google users make up Google signals. They can contribute to filling up the data gaps left by the absence of cookies.

4. Different metrics

A brand-new measure called engagement rate is introduced in GA4. The percentage of engaged sessions is known as the engagement rate. The number of sessions that lasted longer than 10 seconds, had a conversion, or had at least two page or screen views are referred to as engaged sessions. The percentage of single-page sessions without interaction with the page is the bounce rate measure in Universal Analytics, on the other hand. The length of a bouncing session is zero seconds. When assessing the actions of people who can have read a single page and exited without taking any further action, engagement rate is more helpful than bounce rate. Keep in mind that engagement rate is not the polar opposite of bounce rate.

5. Cross-device tracking

Because you can group several data streams—a website or an app—into a property in GA4, you can now generate reports that show cross-domain traffic and aggregate statistics while still allowing you to break down data by the stream.


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