On June 1, 2023, the sun finally set on the much-acclaimed Universal Analytics (UA). This means that Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which has been operational since 2020, is now the default data analytics tool offered by the tech giant.
With UA no longer tracking your visitors and Google no longer rolling out tools for the service, marketers and web developers are migrating in droves to the new system. Even so, there’s still plenty of confusion about the difference between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics.
An Overview of Google Analytics 4
The transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4 represents a paradigm shift in the way analytics tools track and interpret user behavior. As the evolved successor, GA4 introduces a more nuanced and comprehensive approach to analytics. Unlike its predecessor, GA4 focuses on user-centric data, delving into individual interactions through sophisticated event tracking. This upgraded version not only refines traditional metrics but also incorporates machine learning and AI, enabling predictive insights into user actions.
By contrast, Universal Analytics has always emphasized session-based tracking and goal achievements. While this model was reliable and effective in its time, GA4 emerges as a progressive leap forward, encapsulating the entire user experience rather than isolated sessions.
What Is the Difference Between Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics?
As mentioned above, one of the most significant differences between GA4 and Universal Analytics lies in the models they use to collect and measure data. Whereas UA tracks user interactions based on sessions and pageviews, GA4 does so based on events and parameters.
Another notable difference between UA and GA4 has to do with app tracking. The upgraded GA4 allows for the tracking of both website and app data within the same property or platform. Although UA also allowed users to track web and app data, they had to create separate properties for both. Thanks to this new unified data schema, users of GA4 can now get a more comprehensive view of how their customers navigate their websites.
GA4 also comes with data retention and privacy upgrades. For instance, it makes it possible to collect data on the system without requiring IP addresses or third-party cookies. Instead, the system uses first-party cookies along with machine learning to ensure compliance with privacy laws.
Improve Your Marketing ROI
If you’re wondering how to use this new data analytics tool to improve your site’s SEO performance, SEO Guru Atlanta is here for you. Our agency offers professional SEO optimization in Atlanta to help local businesses achieve higher site rankings. Give us a call today to find out more about our services.