GA4 vs Universal Analytics
What Is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 is the latest released version of Google Analytics. This is a completely new generation of web analytics that will enable marketers to monitor vital customer usage characteristics rather than merely measure traffic.
What is the Difference Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics?
The most noticeable distinction between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics is that GA4 allows you to report on activity on both websites and applications. There are several other distinctions, including:
Google Analytics 4 Has a New Dashboard
The entirely redesigned dashboard is the first thing you’ll notice. It is more streamlined, and many of the reports you are used to seeing in universal analytics have been removed or relocated. The home, reports, explore, advertising, configure, and library buttons are located on the navigation bar.
In comparison, the Universal Analytics dashboard provides a more traditional reporting interface with a focus on sessions, page views, and conversion tracking. It offered a wider range of pre-built reports and customization options compared to the new Google Analytics 4 dashboard.
Enhanced Cross-Device Tracking
Cross-device tracking has always been a challenge in web analytics. Universal Analytics relied on cookies and User ID tracking for this purpose, but it had limitations. GA4 introduces a more sophisticated approach to cross-device tracking with the help of Google Signals. By leveraging machine learning and probabilistic modelling, GA4 can provide insights into user interactions across devices, allowing marketers to better understand the customer journey.
In universal analytics Implementing tracking codes and configuring tags was a complex task, especially for non-technical users. In Universal Analytics, event tracking is achieved through customizing and implementing specific tracking codes for different interactions. GA4 simplifies the implementation process with its updated tagging system. It uses the global site tag (gtag.js), which allows for streamlined code implementation and easier management of tracking across multiple platforms. Additionally, GA4 provides enhanced support for mobile apps, making it easier to track user interactions within apps.
Expanded Event Tracking
GA4 places a stronger emphasis on event tracking compared to Universal Analytics. While Universal Analytics had limited event tracking capabilities, GA4 allows for more extensive event tracking with up to 500 distinct events per property. This enables marketers to track a wide range of user interactions, such as clicks, form submissions, video views, and more, providing deeper insights into user engagement and conversion metrics.
Universal Analytics requires manual analysis and interpretation of data to uncover insights. Universal Analytics also lacks built-in predictive analytics capabilities. The GA4 incorporates the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide automated insights and predictive analytics. The Explore feature in GA4 allows users to ask natural language questions about their data and receive AI-generated insights. This functionality empowers marketers to uncover hidden patterns, discover audience segments, and make data-driven decisions more efficiently.
Google Analytics 4 represents a significant evolution in web analytics, offering a more comprehensive and powerful platform compared to Universal Analytics. With its event-based data model, improved cross-device tracking, simplified implementation, expanded event tracking capabilities, and AI-powered insights, GA4 provides marketers with a wealth of opportunities to gain deeper insights into user behaviour, optimize marketing campaigns, and drive business growth. As the industry continues to shift towards GA4, understanding these key differences becomes crucial for businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve and unlock the full potential of their data. In the rapidly evolving world of digital marketing, staying up-to-date with the latest strategies and tools is crucial for success.
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