The Difference Between Universal Analytics and GA4

  • GA4 will represent a move from session based to event-based tracking, allowing for significantly more flexibility in reporting and better information on your customers’ journey. With the move towards event-based tracking, you will see a lot of common metrics disappearing from reporting - for example - bounce rate will be replaced with an engagement rate. This also means that you will not be able to compare GA4 data to Universal Analytics data in the future.
  • 2023 will be the year that cookies finally go away - for good! GA4 provides full support for Google’s privacy sandbox and consent mode, allowing for the tracking of aggregated user data without the need for cookie consent. Built-in machine learning algorithms will identify trends, generate insights and fill in gaps if cookies have not been placed.
  • GA4 is using a data-driven attribution model which is unique to each account and each conversion event. Attribution uses machine learning algorithms to evaluate both converting and non-converting paths. The resulting data-driven model learns how different touchpoints impact conversion outcomes. It then decides which channels are most likely to drive conversions and attributes credit to these channels based on their likelihood.
  • Funnel reporting has been notoriously weak and inaccurate in the current version of Analytics. With this change, GA4 will have great built-in funnel reporting that you can use to your advantage.
  • In UA, there were two User Metrics: Total Users and New Users. In GA4, there are three User Metrics: Total Users, Active Users & New Users. Total Users in UA were measured as the Total Number of Users, however in GA4, it’s measured as the total number of unique users who logged an event. New Users in UA were measured as the number of users who engaged with your site for the first time. In GA4, it’s measured as the same. Active Users is a new User Metric introduce in GA4. This is the primary user metric and is the number of distinct users who have an engaged session.
  • It’s important to note that depending on how frequently users return to your site, the Total Users metric in UA and the Active Users metric in GA4 may be more or less similar.
  • Google has made GA4 as Privacy-centric as possible. This means that in GA4, IP addresses are no longer collected and stored. While it protects user data, it does not allow us to filter out Hotel Wi-Fi or Office IPs, which means that this traffic will now be included in GA4.

  For more information on the differences between Universal Analytics & Google Analytics 4, please visit the Google Analytics Help Center.