Google Analytics is a widely used website analytics tool. Millions of companies and website owners throughout the world have benefited from it. Google Analytics has undergone many updates over time, assisting marketers in creating fresh approaches to reading and analysing data.
And now, with Google Analytics 4, Google is introducing a brand-new version of the tool that differs significantly from the traditional, Universal Analytics. Standard Universal Analytics features will stop processing new hits from July 1, 2023. So, if you still use Universal Analytics, we advise you to get ready to switch to Google Analytics 4.
The new Google Analytics 4 has a number of significant additions that set it apart from the previous version. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) new features, including new behavioural modelling reports, custom channel grouping, and homepage experience, has no doubt made it a better choice than UA. In this blog, let’s uncover what GA4 is and the difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics in complete depth. So let’s get started!
What Is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 introduced by Google in October 2020 is the most recent version of Google Analytics. This is a brand-new generation of web analytics that will enable marketers to efficiently analyse crucial customer usage indicators and not just track traffic.
It tracks the whole customer path across several platforms and uses AI and machine learning to deliver more in-depth insights into how customers engage with your website and app.
GA4 emphasises customer privacy as well. This runs counter to some of the most recent privacy rules, including GDPR and CCPA. With cross-channel data measurement, AI-driven predictive analytics and privacy-first tracking, GA4 is an advanced tool that offers unparalleled insights.
GA4 vs UA
GA4 was totally rebuilt from the ground up; it is not simply a rebrand of the previous platform. The following are simply a few of the significant differences between GA4 and UA.
Removal of Monthly Hit Limits
Another key difference between GA4 and Universal Analytics is the removal of monthly hit limits. The free version of UA had a monthly limit of 10 million hits. Most businesses are finding it difficult to collect all the data they require while staying within this limit.
Instead, GA4 places a restriction on the different events that can be captured (500). There is, at the time of writing, no restriction as to the number of hits that can be collected. This has led to a number of businesses already choosing a GA4-first approach to their analytics.
One of the most awaited features of GA4 is the capability to track app and website data in the same property.
GA4 utilises the same measurement approach as Google Analytics Firebase (used for mobile apps), where all engagements are recorded as events. This latest unified data schema between a mobile app and a website states that it will be more simple to combine data across them.
Additionally, it uses machine learning to automatically highlight useful information to marketers.
Fewer Standard Reports, Easier Ad Hoc Analysis
Using Explorations in GA4, there will be fewer standard reports, and it will be simpler to develop custom ad hoc reports. The exploration UI is similar to Data Studio. It’s simple to make customised reports for specific roles or users. Additionally, templates can be used to get started.
Templates are grouped by use cases, industry, and techniques and contain everything from free form to funnel and path exploration, eCommerce report and acquisition and conversion form. While a version of some of these reports was included in standard UA reports, the templates in GA4 offer a starting point that you can personalise according to your requirements.
Exports to BigQuery are free with Google Analytics 4
BigQuery exports are made available to all properties with GA4 (for UA, this was limited to Analytics 360 properties).
This implies that you can submit BigQuery unprocessed events, which can then be queried with SQL.
The feature itself does not cost anything as long as usage stays within BigQuery’s sandbox parameters.
It’s important to note that the sandbox environment does not handle streaming data.
Goals Become Conversions
In UA, Conversions are either measured as goals or eCommerce transactions. GA4 streamlines this by labelling any events that you define as contributing to your business objectives as conversions. GA4 creates a single view of the user journey and adds more reporting flexibility.
What’s new in GA4?
There are important differences between GA4 and UA and we have mentioned most of the differences above. Now here is the snapshot of what is new in GA4.
- Without editing the on-site code, GA4 will let marketers edit, correct, and fine-tune the way events are tracked in their analytics.
- Data Import can now contain a variety of data from non-website sources, such as apps, all within one property.
- One of the largest advances in analytics seems to be the “Life Cycle Report,” which emphasises the user’s journey. Additionally, “templated reports for eCommerce funnels” offer marketers a way to show and visualise data; this feature was previously only available to Analytics 360 accounts.
- Its primary focus is to give marketers a “more thorough understanding of the customer journey across devices”. Additionally, it appears that it is more concerned with tracking the entire customer journey rather than just individual metrics across devices, pages, and market segments.
- It’s built to be “future-proof” and function in a world without cookies or identifying information.
- It’s designed with machine learning as the primary form of data measurement, using “modelling” that can extrapolate from current data and make assumptions about user behaviour/site traffic. The new AI-powered “insights” function is designed to automatically highlight useful information for marketers.
What Steps Should Your Company Take To Prepare For GA4?
After July 2023, one of the most common instances of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) will come to an end, and it will no longer be accessible, so it’s highly recommended that you take a shift as early as possible to keep up with the new trend.
After July 1, 2023, you can access your historical data for at least six months. So here we are giving you some advice “Import your historical data before July 2023”. So you can use it in future.
There is still a lot of effort to be taken to get GA4 capabilities to what we are used to getting with the existing Analytics platform, and this is the direction Google is moving; thus, it is crucial to start and take the first step by setting up a new GA4 property in your account.
Start becoming familiar with the platform once you’ve created the new GA4 property. Get in touch with your SEO agency, web developers and any others that handle your digital marketing and make sure that they are working on a strategy to make a shift from UA to GA4.
If you receive any sort of custom reports from your digital agency, you should expect them to look a lot different in 2023. It’s important to work together to make sure that when July 2023 comes, there is minimal effect on your marketing initiatives.
So here is a detailed guide on universal GA4 vs UA.
Everything you need to understand about Google’s change from (UA) Universal Analytics to (GA4) Google Analytics 4. Without a doubt, the new analytics property will deliver superior insights while enhancing privacy and is far better suited to today’s marketing requirements.
So if GA4 provides better tracking, why wait? It’s best to begin your migration as soon as you can if you’re still in the UA so that you may not only get ready for the transition but also start reaping the rewards right away.
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