let’s understand the difference between Universal Google Analytics Vs GA4, according to the reports, it was found that Google universal analytics (GA3) will be discontinued from 1st July 2023. Only google analytics 4 will be available thereafter. Today is the right time to start migrating your GA3 data into GA4. Thus, we help you understand GA4 better so that you don’t fall behind your competitors. The difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics lies in the different data models they use. While GA3’s data model is based on sessions and page views, GA4’s data model depends on events and parameters.
10 Key Differences between Universal Analytics vs Google Analytics 4
One of the first things, you will observe in GA4 is that the platform interface is different from that of Universal analytics. It is much simplified than GA3 in a subtle number of ways. In short, both platforms let you track the same quantities, but the mode of measurement is different.
1. Reporting Interface
The first difference you will notice between Google Analytics G4 Vs Universal Analytics is the new reporting interface. The measurement model of GA4 is entirely different from that of Universal Analytics. Thus, most of the reports in GA4 are replaced with new ones. For example, you can see new reports in GA4 such as Engagement, Monetization, Retention, etc. in GA4, all the reports are grouped into 5 categories like real-time, audience, acquisition, behavior, and conversions.
2. Measurement Models
Universal Analytics (GA3) uses a measurement model that entirely depends on session and pageviews whereas the GA4 measurement model is based on events and parameters. Each tracked activity in GA4 is considered an event, all suck kinds of events provide more detailed information.
3. Tracking IDs
In GA4, we use measurement IDs to set up any type of tracking activity. Whereas in GA3, we use tracking ID for tracking.
4. Tracking Abilities
Universal Analytics (UA) offers loads of data related to eCommerce. You can use the data to track and analyze transactions, revenue, or the products you have sold. In UA, you get insights on data like the number of sales, conversion rate, revenue over time, and trends in transactions over time.
In GA4, eCommerce reports offer much less information and data than that universal analytics. Due to the difference in conversion model between universal google analytics Vs GA4, you need google tag manager (GTM) additionally if you want to track more complex conversions like click-to-call or purchases. Thus, if your business completely depends on detailed eCommerce reports, you shouldn’t entirely depend on GA4.
5. Engagement and Bounce Rates
GA4 is a customer-centric platform. It measures customers’ actions using individual devices. The metrics calculate how the customer interacts with your business. In GA4, the bounce rate is calculated as the percentage of sessions that aren’t engaged. It is the inverse of the engagement rate that is obtained by dividing the number of engagement sessions by the total number of sessions in a specific time period. In the UA, bounce rate was measured as the percentage of web users that didn’t view more than a single page on your website.
6. Event Tracking Setup
The events in GA4 are tracked differently than in universal analytics. In the case of GA3, all the tracked events follow the category-action-label-value schema.
Whereas GA4 provides a more flexible even tracking setup.
In GA4, there is no event category, action, or label. But, the tool captures data into four categories of events, namely, automatically collected events, enhancement measurement events, recommended events, and custom events. The first two categories don’t require any coding changes on the page or app. These events are automatically captured if the webpage contains gtag.js implemented on the page or through Google Tag Manager.
7. User Data Retention and Privacy
The user and event data retention feature enables you to set up the time for which Google Analytics retains user-specific information for an inactive website user before automatically deleting them. This usage data may include cookies, user identifiers, advertising identifiers, etc. In GA3, you have six options namely 14 months, 26 months, 38 months, 50 months, or do not automatically expire.
In the case of GA4, you can set the duration to either two months or 14 months. No other options are present with GA4. When it comes to data privacy protection, IP addresses are not collected in GA4. Whereas in UA, you can see the IP addresses until you manually anonymize them.
8. Customer Journey Analytics
In the universal analytics session-based model, user flows and funnels are based on the events done within a single session. When there are several steps in a conversion funnel that require separate visits, it shows less accurate results. GA4 offers measurement from multiple touchpoints instead of measurement fragmented by device or by platform. The customer-focused insights offer a full picture of the buyer funnel specifically when there are several steps in a conversion funnel that require multiple individual visits.
9. Increased functionalities
When you compare universal analytics to google analytics 4, GA4 offers increased functionalities than universal analytics. In UA, if anyone wants access to predictive analytics, they would have to create them themselves or pay for another tool. But GA4 has introduced predictive analytics for LTV, churn probability, likely churners, likely top spenders, likely purchases, purchase probability, etc.
10. Advanced Analysis
Another notable difference in universal google analytics vs GA4 is the level of performing advanced analysis. Universal Analytics lets you create custom reports and use secondary dimensions to uncover insights. GA4 offers advanced analytics through exploration reports. You can obtain prebuilt templates for different analyses. The exploration reports offer multiple options to add different segments, dimensions, and metrics to your custom reports. However, using exploration reports can be tricky for Google analytics beginners. These reports can be understood by users with advanced Google Analytics Knowledge.
How to change Google Analytics 4 to Universal
It is not possible to downgrade from google analytics 4 to universal analytics. However, you can set up universal analytics or create both versions of Google Analytics GA4 and Universal Analytics property. Follow the below steps to create either or both properties:
- Go to Admin Panel and click on the Create Property Button.
- Scroll down until you find a link “Show Advanced Options” and click on it.
- You will then find a toggle button to create universal analytics property. Enable this toggle button.
- Choose your choice of creating either GA4 or UA properties or both of them.
Google Analytics is soon going to move from a session-based data model to an event-based model. Universal Analytics will be discontinued its services from 1st July 2023 Only GA4 will be available thereafter. You should observe that GA4 requires technical knowledge to operate unlike the universal google analytics or GA3. Hope this article helped you learn about the difference between universal google analytics vs GA4. Thanks for reading!