Difference between Universal Analytics and GA4

Difference between Universal Analytics and GA4


We must say, Google is always working towards better systems out there. Did you hear about the release of GA4? Well, it is another exciting Analytics that Google launched lately. However, the previous Universal Analytics also did a great job though! But little do we know, Google thinks ahead of the game.

The world is moving towards advancement rapidly. Where technology is becoming better, everything else related to it is also taking a sharp edge. However, if you consult the digital marketing agency for your business strategies today, you must understand Google Analytics and its latest updates.

Here, we are looking into the differences between universal analytics and GA4. Let’s read which system is overshadowing which one. Let us begin!

Universal Analytics: What is it?

The new Universal Analytics platform establishes a standard for the collection and organization of user data. With Universal Analytics, websites can use new tracking codes and features that allow for more accurate measurement of user behavior. There are two types of Google Analytics available to users: GA and UA. The only official version currently supported is Universal Analytics. It is encouraged that all users migrate their properties to Universal Analytics.

Google Analytics 4: What is it?

Backend Firebase Analytics replaces Google Analytics in Google Analytics 4. While it reduces the amount of time you spend collecting and aggregating data, it better represents user behavior.

Google has spent a great deal of time and money on GA4. The beta experience used to be called “App + Web,” but now it’s the default when creating new properties, and it’ll soon replace Universal Analytics.

Compared with Google Analytics, what’s the difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics?

Measurement models: different approaches

They both use different measurement models, which is the primary difference between Universal Analytics and GA4. Universal Analytics uses a session and page view-based measurement model.

The number of interactions a website receives from users throughout a session (hits). There may be multiple pageviews, events, and eCommerce transactions conducted during a session.

Unlike Google Analytics 4, Google Analytics 4 uses a measurement model based on parameters and events. An interactive event is anything that occurs on the page. Thus, all Universal Analytics hit types now correspond to events in GA4.

As a result, Universal Analytics (and all previous versions of GA) define a hit type as an event, an action, and a label. With GA4, these categories, activities, and brands do not exist. Event parameters can accompany every hit (but they are not required).

In GA4, several parameters are available, including page_location (URL of the page), page_referer (URL of the previous page), and page_title (page title).

The four categories of GA4 events are as follows:

  1. Automatic recording of events – When you install GA4, the base code automatically captures these events. The first-page view, the first session start, and a first visit are some examples
  2. Along with the base code, you also collect the enhanced measurement events. However, you can choose to turn them on or off, depending on your website. They include scrolls, outbound clicks, site searches, and video engagement.
  3. In different industries, Google recommends that you set up events. Google’s recommended events seem to be just broad recommendations except for eCommerce events, and the naming conventions don’t seem to matter
  4. You can create your custom events and parameters based on the requirements of your website. The current limit is 500 distinctly named events (and this could change in the future)

Removing monthly hit limits

Among the other notable differences between Universal Analytics and GA4, monthly hit limits are removed. There was a limit of 10 million hits per month in the accessible version of Universal Analytics. This is no longer the case.

Many of our clients found it difficult to collect all the information they needed even after staying within these limits.

At any given time, only 500 events are recorded using GA4 software. The number of hits that collect is not limited as of this writing. Clients have already begun opting for a GA4-first approach to their analytics because of this.

Big Query Connectivity for Free

GA4’s free BigQuery connection is our last point of differentiation. GA360 customers had exclusive access to this feature (one of the significant differences between GA’s free and paid versions).

BigQuery lets people quickly query large and complex data sets, even if they aren’t familiar with it. You will be aware of the effects sampling can have when creating complex segments in GA.

You can analyze Big Query data without affecting GA samples by taking data out of GA.

Benefits of Google Analytics

The web analytics tool provides in-depth insight into your business’s online performance, and here we will discuss the benefits it can have on your business!  

It tracks online traffic

GA is a perfect tool to analyze your online traffic. You must know the sources of your online visitors. Moreover, pinpointing various sources and understanding about it enables to come up with more robust strategies. Be it organic, social, or referral, you have a great chance to gloom your business with it!

Unlocks the power of understanding users

It is imperative to understand how users and visitors to your website behave. You must know to optimize the website accordingly. You can either use excellent SEO services or devise another intelligent strategy to go ahead!

Offline to online marketing tracking

GA enables companies to track their offline to online campaigns proactively. However, you can also build a custom campaign that links with Google campaigns using analytics.

Improves online advertising

The most effective way is to analyses the performance of your ads and their impact on the users. It helps you devise a better ad campaign to attract maximum audiences to your business.

Final Thoughts

There are significant differences between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Furthermore, it is imperative that you fully understand these before switching to Universal Analytics (besides, we recommend creating a new property to run alongside Universal Analytics).

Any further questions about GA4 and Universal Analytics can get assistance from our team. They will be more than happy to assist you. All the best!

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