GA4 vs Universal Analytics: Difference between Two of Them

GA4 vs Universal Analytics: Difference between Two of Them

If you know the latest news, you must know the sunset of Google Universal Analytics. Now, users can’t browse through products on the internet in an expected way but instead of multiple touchpoints. Users require a modern, improved data measurement solution, and Google Analytics 4 comes. Google Analytics 4 is the latest updates and version of Google Analytics, where you will receive new reports, metrics, easy tracking, and many more. If you are new to the whole concept of GA4, read this blog and discover the leading difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics. 

 What is GA4?

 Presently, businesses depend on Google Analytics for measuring website performance and Google Analytics for Firebase app engagement. However, both the portals, i.e., Google Analytics 4 perform its job well and provide businesses with useful insight. Google Analytics 4 is designed to unite both website and app analytics. In a nutshell, GA4 is the new generation of Google Analytics where you can navigate and comprehend the complex, multi–platform journey that your customers will take. 

 In GA4, the customer data is secured and greatly improved because it is no longer saved in IP addresses. This new element benefits businesses in the international market, where the need for data protection and controlled sharing is improved. 

Significant Differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics

 GA4 has various features different from its predecessor, and it takes time for people to get used to it. So, look at the leading differences between the two of them:


1. Data Setup Organization

In Universal Analytics, businesses must create specific website and app components. Also, each property is advised to include 3 distinct views. 

  • Its first view is unfiltered, where you will save all the raw data.
  • In the second test view, you must add filters and conduct experiments.
  • In the last master view, we collect all the goals, filters, and customization evaluated in the test view. 

In GA4, the web or application is considered a ‘data stream’ and is included in one property. Data stream means a data funnel starts from the customer’s touchpoint to GA4, and each element has a maximum of 50 data streams. 


2. Different Metrics

Universal Analytics has a bounce rate metric. It is the percentage of single-page sessions with any communication with the page. A bounce rate has a time of 0 seconds. 

In GA4, the bounce rate metric is hidden, and you must customize the screen and pages and add ‘bounce rate’ as a metric. GA4 has a new metric called ‘engaged sessions per user.’ It will be shown how many people will interact with the content, like users staying on the page for more than 10 seconds, triggering 1 or more events, and users viewing 2 or more of them. In addition, GA4 has other new metrics in the engagement report, i.e., Pages and Screens. It shows pages and screens getting high traffic on the website. 

Engagement rate is more relevant than bounce rate when assessing the actions of those who have seen a page but went away without taking action. 


3. Users Entity Modelling

If you visit a website, you ask for your consent to the settings for cookies. Once you have signed the consent form of the website, it integrates the Universal Analytics platform. Universal Analytics sends the cookies to your web browser and can track and monitor your activities online during a particular session.

Unfortunately, today, websites aren’t always the sole platforms that consumers can connect with companies. Many people interact through apps and can access information on multiple platforms that don’t have cookies. Using only cookies makes combining user behavior information from different touchpoint hard to create a complete image of their actions.

GA4’s user entity modeling, which includes cookies as well as Google signals. You can now join the data to create a unifying cross-device user experience. Google signals are the data of users who are logged into Google. They may help fill the data gap that a lack of cookies leaves behind.GA4 provides more advanced user modeling capabilities. It allows you to create custom user properties, track user engagement across multiple devices, and leverage machine learning for predictive metrics like churn probability.


4. Tracking Paradigm

A leading difference between these two tools is their tracking data. A universal analytics use tracking paradigm depends on sessions and pageviews, but GA4 evaluates event-based data. 

Universal Analytics will gather and evaluate different user interactions with the website within a given time frame as sessions. Mainly, universal analytics will track only pageviews across all properties and include multiple additional events. In event tracking, it needed technical skills and Google Tag Manager to make it happen. 

On the other hand, GA4 is built to gather what’s occurred on the website and app as events instead. This new data model measurement will provide a complete overview of user engagement on and off the web instead of technical potential. 

5. Perform Advanced Analytics in GA4

Another leading difference between both analytics portals is the use of advanced-level analysis that you can perform in Google Analytics 4. 

In Universal Analytics, you can build customized reports for historical data and use secondary dimensions to reveal insights. In GA4, it takes a step ahead with its Exploration reports. 

In GA4, you will receive pre-built templates for various analyses you would like to perform or set up a customized report. Also, you can use ‘Funnel’ exploration templates to evaluate customers’ journeys before buying. However, the exploration reports provide multiple choices to add dimensions, metrics, and segments to your custom reports.

6. Event-Based Tracking

One of the biggest differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics is how they evaluate and model data. In Universal Analytics, user communication, tracked through page views, is effective but needs more data collection gaps since it didn’t encounter other interactions, including videos, clicks, and others. 

In GA4, each interaction is divided as an event, which you can use to evaluate and measure flexibly using reporting tools. However, these events are tracked independently of sessions and turned on or off at will. 

Go Ahead With Google Analytics 4 Today

GA4 is the next-generation version of Google Analytics, offering a more user-centric, event-based tracking approach, improved cross-platform tracking, enhanced machine learning capabilities, and better privacy compliance. Universal Analytics has become outdated, and seamless migration to new GA4 is vital for websites with the historical data you need to make meaningful marketing decisions. Working with Growthvive will ensure a smooth transition to GA4 and make the most of the data relevant to marketing decisions for future business success.