With Google’s Univeral Analytics going away starting July 1st, 2023, lots of folks have been asking what is the big difference between the old Google Universal Analytics and the new Google Analytics 4. So… We asked AI to tell us and I think it did a pretty good job. So without further ado, here’s what we learned from AI:
The main difference between Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Universal Analytics lies in their underlying data models and tracking mechanisms.
Here are the key distinctions between the two Analytics:
- Universal Analytics: It uses a session-based model, where data is organized into hits, sessions, and users. Hits represent individual interactions (pageviews, events, transactions), sessions group hits together within a specific timeframe, and users are identified by unique IDs.
- GA4: It employs an event-based model, focusing on individual events and their parameters. Events are central to GA4 and can represent various user interactions, such as pageviews, clicks, video plays, and in-app actions. GA4 also introduces the concept of user properties, allowing for additional user attributes.
- GA4: It utilizes a new global site tag (gtag.js) that offers simplified implementation across multiple platforms, including web, mobile apps, and other devices. The gtag.js library combines multiple Google products, including Google Analytics, into a single tracking code.
- GA4: It aims to provide more comprehensive data collection by incorporating both client-side and server-side tracking. Server-side tracking allows sending events from the server, enabling measurement of actions that occur outside the user’s device.
Reporting and Analysis:
- Universal Analytics: It offers a wide range of reports and features tailored to the session-based data model. The reporting interface includes standard reports like Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion reports, along with customizable dashboards.
- GA4: It introduces a more unified and cross-device view of user behavior, allowing for enhanced analysis and measurement. The reporting interface focuses on the exploration of events, providing a flexible and customizable analysis experience. AI-powered insights and predictive metrics are also emphasized in GA4.
It’s important to note that GA4 is the future of Google Analytics and represents a more advanced and flexible platform compared to Universal Analytics. However, since GA4 is relatively new, some features and capabilities of Universal Analytics are not yet available in GA4. It’s recommended to consult the official Google Analytics documentation for the most up-to-date information on both versions. If you haven’t already updated to GA4, you need to do it now to continue receiving data in Analytics about your website. If you need help, DigitalHipster can help. We specialize in digital marketing, SEO and web design.