Difference Between Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics
When you first think of creating a website for your business, you need a template to start with. After complete designing and development, you create a unique and attractive website that you spend your time and effort creating. But in order to have a successfully running website, you need to stay aligned with many other things. Website metrics are one of the major facets you need to keep track of. And Google Analytics needs no introduction in this reference.
Almost everyone working in the digital marketing industry is very much aware of Google Analytics and its benefits for their business. Google Analytics provides you with fully calculated and analyzed data to measure and track your website traffic and campaign performances and understand user behavior. Those familiar with Google Analytics and its interface have no choice but to migrate to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
In the year 2020, Google replaced the old Universal Analytics with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as an all-new source for analyzing your site.
To match the evolving Google’s measurement standards, you must start using GA4 and get familiar with the nitty-gritty of this new launch. However, all standard Universal Analytics properties will come to an end by 1 July 2022. So, it makes complete sense to learn about GA4 and the major differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics (GA4 Vs UA). By the time you finish reading this guide, you will learn how significant it is to migrate to GA4. So, let us get started!
What is Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
In October 2020, Google launched Analytics 4 (GA4), which is a magnificent redesign of the existing analytics platform. How your website is analyzed is changed, and now you will receive more in-depth analytics to understand website traffic and user engagement. Using this data, you can create your marketing strategies. The previous version of Google Analytics, i.e., Universal Analytics (UA), was based on a different strategy to calculate website sessions and visits. Whereas this new launch, Google Analytics 4, is built to measure a website and events taking place.
When you know what users are doing on your website, which pages they are spending more time on, the bounce rate, the changes you need to make on your website, and what events are taking place, you can come up with more productive ideas to optimize your website accordingly. And you can quickly get all this useful information with Google Analytics 4.
What is Universal Analytics (UA)?
Universal Analytics (UA) is the existing version of Google Analytics. It provides you with web-based analytics to analyze your website. To analyze websites, it uses analytics.js tracking code. On the other hand, it uses the software development kit (SDK) to track mobile devices. Google understands how significant it is to keep the user data safe; that’s why it has given enough time to export historical reports.
Difference Between Google Analytics (GA4) and UA
There are some really big differences between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics that you need to be aware of. These differences will help you figure out how effectively you can use GA4 for your business. So, let us check out the major key differences between GA4 vs UA.
1. Event-Based Measurement Model
The primary difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics is their measurement model. Universal Analytics uses sessions and pageviews as a measurement model. It comprises the total number of visits to a particular website, including the new and repetitive visits. Google Analytics 4 operates across platforms and does not depend on cookies. GA4 uses the event-based data model that delivers user-centric information for analysis.
It measures every user interaction with the website content simply by enabling an option from the GA4 interface. Being an event-based model makes GA4 more flexible, and every parameter adds more value to the final outcome.
2. Revamped User Interface
The user interface for any tool plays an important role. If users are able to use the tool without any interruption or difficulty, that tool is considered a user-friendly tool. The same is the case with Universal Analytics. It has a simple-to-use interface that even a beginner can use without a hitch. GA4 has a revamped user interface. And this redesigning is certainly not making everyone happy. Some users are complaining about this interface and commenting badly about it.
The process of making it simpler has led to some other roads and resulted in a more confusing and not-so-friendly interface.
3. Elimination of Monthly Hit Rate
The removal of the monthly hit rate is another big difference you will see while comparing the GA4 vs UA. If you have used the free version of Universal Analytics, you already know it had a limit of 10 m hits per month, which is no longer available with Google Analytics 4. On the other hand, GA4 has a limit on the number of additional events that can be captured; it is 500.
Considering both GA4 and UA, reporting offers quite a lot. Many marketers were skeptical about it while migrating from Universal Analytics to GA4. You can enjoy many customization options to present your reports in the UA. Whereas, if you compare GA4 with UA, you will find that GA4 has only a top-level report option to use. You can use a custom reporting template according to your choice. With Google Analytics 4, you can try exporting your report as well.
5. GA4 Brings More Flexibility
The flexibility to create fully customized reports for whatever data you need is there to simplify your task. Thus, you are not bound to use the off-the-shelf report designs for everything you create. You have the privilege to show your creativity and relevance to your theme. The GA4 dashboard will be more easily manageable this way. Furthermore, you will not have to make an extra effort to bring clarity to your dashboard and the reports you are crafting. Of course, it will increase your website or app’s value in terms of data management.
GA4 Vs Universal Analytics Comparison Table
GA4 vs UA: Which is Better?
Which is better between GA4 and UA comes down to your understanding. However, eleven if you don’t like or don’t find Google Analytics 4 easier to use, you have no choice but to switch to GA4. Many marketers already like this new and improved version of Google Analytics; of course, there are haters too. But when Google is all set to enforce this change on you, the easiest way to deal with it is to get used to it as soon as possible.
Whenever Google rolls out an update or brings something new to the table, it ensures the updates are useful. Similarly, with Google Analytics 4, you will experience more friendliness in the process you use them. And that’s because of the measurement model it uses. GA4 is built on the model that to collect enough analytical data, page views alone can not help. All-in-all, you will find Google Analytics 4 useful in creating new strategies to attract more users to your website.
What is Missing in Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 has come up with some brilliant features to enjoy. Byt, we can not forget the fact that there are two sides to the coin. There are a few significant shortcomings that you will experience with GA4. Undoubtedly, Google Analytics is trying to make this platform the strongest and more informative. But there are still some areas for improvement, and you should know about this.
- Missing Reports: Reports that you must have liked in Universal Analytics are now missing in Google Analytics 4.
- No Recurring Standard Email Reports: If you wish to set up recurring email reports, you will be highly disappointed with GA4 in that context. There is no way to initiate recurring email reports. It’s sad but true.
- Limited IP Filtering: GA4 offers you limited IP filtering options. Thus, you need to be careful about how IP addresses you wish to block.
- Missing Metrics: Google Analytics 4 has a completely different data model as compared to Universal Analytics. The GA4 measurement model is based on events. Classic UA was based on sessions and pageviews.
How UA and GA4 Affect Your Website SEO?
Google Analytics has always been a major part of SEO. The results you find with analytics can help you strengthen the SEO of your website. The strategies and other marketing campaigns you have created for your website can be altered based on the outcomes. It is crucial to keep all the factors aligned so that the SEO for a website works the intended way. Even seasoned SEO professionals must do a lot of hard work to bring the website to the top. And if you are a beginner or do not know what actions to take to boost your website’s SEO, consider using the expertise of Outreach Monks.
There is a lot to dig beneath the surface to find valuable insights to measure and optimize a website. And to do that effectively and efficiently, you need an expert hand. And that’s exactly where this top-notch SEO agency can help you. Google Analytics may seem complex and overwhelming to a novice user, so taking professional help to use the information and other tools the right way is essential.
Google Analytics GA4 Vs Universal Analytics: Wrapping It Up
Whenever a new update or version of a tool comes out, it makes the tool more complex or simpler, depending on how quickly you tune with it. It may seem like a layer of complexity to some people, and others may find it more engaging. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Google Analytics 4 has some essential features to streamline your analytics. And they certainly are different from Universal Analytics. How Google used to analyze your data has now changed, and the infusion of new features brings more accurate and impressive results.
You still have time to get familiar with the new interface of Google Analytics 4 and learn how to use it for your benefit. Many interesting features will make your GA4 journey really engaging. So, switching to Google Analytics 4 can give you some out-of-the-box results. Staying up-to-date with Google updates is a good way to keep your website ready for all changes that Google offers. And GA4 is one of those big changes or additions you need to learn. If you have any further queries related to differences between GA4 vs UA, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.