The main differences between GA4 & UA

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Google Analytics has been the go-to tool for website owners to track and analyse website traffic, user behaviour, and other key metrics for over a decade.

However, with the switch from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) on the 1st of July 2023, many website owners are wondering about the differences between the two, and which one is better.

In this blog post, we’re going t explore the main difference between GA4 and UA…

The most significant difference between GA4 & UA

Universal Analytics uses a single tracking code to collect data on website traffic and user behaviour.

This data is organized into dimensions (such as pageviews, sessions, and bounce rate) and metrics (such as the number of unique visitors, page views per session, and average session duration).

These dimensions and metrics are used to generate reports on user behaviour and website performance.

In contrast, GA4 uses an event-driven model to collect data on user behaviour.

An event is any action a user takes on your website, such as clicking a button or submitting a form.

These events are organized into categories, actions, and labels, providing a more granular view of user behaviour. GA4 also includes machine learning models that can analyse user behaviour patterns to generate insights into the customer journey.

Other differences between GA4 & UA

GA4 allows for greater data privacy

A significant difference between GA4 and UA is in the way they handle data privacy. GA4 is designed to be a more privacy-focused set of tools, with an emphasis on giving users more control over their data.

For example, GA4 allows users to opt out of tracking and delete their data. UA, on the other hand, does not offer these privacy features, which may be a concern for some users.

GA4 has its ability to track users across multiple devices and platforms.

GA4 allows you to track user behaviour across your website, mobile app, and other connected devices, giving you a more comprehensive view of user behaviour. This feature is especially useful for businesses that have a strong mobile presence or that use multiple platforms to engage with customers.

GA4 has machine-learning capabilities.

GA4 includes an AI-powered insights feature that uses machine learning to identify trends and patterns in your data. This feature can help you quickly identify areas where you can improve your website or app to provide a better user experience.

What GA4 currently lacks

One of the main disadvantages of GA4 is the lack of support for some features that are readily available within Universal Analytics.

For example, GA4 does not support custom dimensions and metrics, which allow you to track specific user actions or events on your website. This means you may need to modify your tracking strategy if you rely on custom dimensions and metrics to analyse user behaviour.

Another disadvantage of GA4 is the lack of support for some third-party integrations.

For example, some marketing automation tools and tag management systems may not be fully compatible with GA4. This means you may need to modify your marketing stack if you rely on these tools to automate your marketing campaigns.

These aren’t, however, causes for concern as Google are constantly adding features, support and integrations to Google Analytics 4.

Overall, GA4 looks to be a massive, and really powerful, step up form UA and we’re very excited to see what the future (post-July 1st) has in store for us, when it comes to GA4.

How to upgrade to Google Analytics 4

Making the switch to GA4 may not be a straightforward process, but you can start by reading Google’s resource for guidance. However, for a smoother transition, we highly recommend seeking assistance from an expert.

Found is a London-based multi-award-winning digital growthSEO, PPC, Social and Digital PR agency that harnesses the efficiencies of data and technology and future-thinking to help clients grow their businesses online.

If you have any questions or concerns about moving to GA4, the Found team is ready to help. Feel free to contact our team today.